North Korea prepares to launch ballistic missiles: Report

April 14, 2016 9:28 am

This undated photo released by ’s official Agency (KCNA) on April 12, 2016 shows a live-shell firing drill by artillery sub-units under large combined units of the North Korean Army. (Photo by AFP)

North is reportedly preparing to launch mid-range ballistic missiles on the birthday anniversary of the country’s late founding president, a South Korean news agency says.
Pyongyang deployed one or two Musudan ballistic missiles around the eastern port city of Wonsan about three weeks ago, the Yonhap news agency reported Thursday, citing an anonymous Seoul official.
“There is an ample possibility that the North would launch them around Kim II Sung’s birthday on Friday,” Yonhap quoted the official as saying.
The North celebrates Kim’s birthday anniversaries on April 15 each year, with massive military parades featuring its most impressive-looking weapons or with missile launches.
’s Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said the military has been on high alert for any missile launch by the North since its leader, Kim Jong-un, vowed to conduct more tests.
Kim said in March his country would soon test a nuclear warhead and ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
South Korean Defense Ministry noted that the Musudan missile, reportedly set for launch with a design range of about 4,000 km (2,485 miles), is not known to have been flight-tested.
It further added that the North may choose to test-fire the Musudan in the near future as it tries to build an intercontinental ballistic missile designed to put the mainland US within range.
North Korea, which is under UN sanctions over its nuclear tests and missiles launches, accuses the US of plotting with regional allies to topple its government, and says it will not relinquish its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea.
North Korea declared itself a nuclear power in 2005 and carried out four nuclear weapons tests in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016. It also launched a long-range rocket February this year, which Pyongyang said was aimed at placing an earth observation satellite into orbit. However, the US and South Korea denounced the move as a cover for an intercontinental ballistic missile test.
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