North Korea ‘Preparing To Launch Missile’

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Pyongyang:North Korea is preparing to launch a long-range missile as early as next week, according to a Japanese news agency.

Kyodo cited an unnamed Japanese government official, who said there were signs of possible preparations for a missile launched based on analysis of satellite imagery of the North’s Tongchang-ri missile test site.

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The source said a missile launch could happen in a week, Kyodo reported. It gave no further details about the satellite images.

Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test on 6 January, a move that is expected to result in fresh United Nations sanctions.

North Korea claimed to have exploded a hydrogen bomb in the test, although the United States and other governments and experts have expressed scepticism it has made such a technological advance.

North Korea’s last test of a long-range rocket was in late 2012, when Pyongyang successfully put an object into orbit in what experts believed to be part of its effort to build an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The North is also thought to be working to miniaturise a nuclear warhead to mount on a missile, but many experts think it is still some way away from perfecting the technology.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi agreed on the need for a significant new UN Security Council resolution against Pyongyang, but there were few signs of concrete process.

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