‘N Korea preparing missile launches’

LAUNCHES- S Korea carries out live fire drills in response to th nuclear test.South Korea says it has seen indications that the North is preparing more missile launches, possibly an intercontinental ballistic missile.

It said it was strengthening its controversial US-made Thaad missile defence system after the North’s test of a nuclear bomb at the weekend.

The South has carried out live-fire exercises in response to the test.

The US has warned that any threat to itself or its allies will be met with a “massive military response”.

The North says it tested a hydrogen bomb that can fit on to a long-range missile.

Pyongyang has repeatedly defied UN sanctions and international pressure by developing nuclear weapons and testing missiles, and the provocations have only intensified.


In the past two months it has conducted intercontinental ballistic missile tests, sending one over mainland Japan into the Pacific Ocean. It has also threatened to fire missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam.


The United Nations Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting later on Monday to discuss its response. It last imposed sanctions in August, targeting North Korean exports.

Chang Kyung-soo, a South Korean defence ministry official, told parliament: “We have continued to see signs of possibly more ballistic missile launches. We also forecast North Korea could fire an intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM].”

The ICBM could be fired into the North Pacific, officials said.

No timeframe was given but this Saturday, the anniversary of the foundation of the North’s regime, or October 10, the establishment of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, are possible dates.

North Korea is an intelligence failure for the West.

All predictions as to the speed of that country’s progress towards developing a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile capability have proven to be short of the mark.

In both missile technology and nuclear weapons tests, North Korea has astounded defence and intelligence analysts with the pace of its advance towards full ICBM nuclear capability.

Largely sealed off from the outside world, it is possibly the most difficult country to spy on. Most of its citizens do not have access to the worldwide web, limiting the scope for cyber-penetration.

On the military side it has developed a network of mobile missile launchers and underground testing sites that are all but invisible to US satellites. -BBC



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