Date
19 January 2017
A rocket fires up in a North Korean launch site. Satellite images show Pyongyang could be preparing for the launch of a long-range missile in a week. Photo: AP
A rocket fires up in a North Korean launch site. Satellite images show Pyongyang could be preparing for the launch of a long-range missile in a week. Photo: AP

North Korea long-range missile launch maybe only a week away

North Korea may be about to launch a long-range missile in a week after satellite images showed possible signs of preparations.

The images show activity in the country’s Tongchang-ri missile test site on the west coast, Reuters reports, citing Japan’s Kyodo news agency.

An unnamed Japanese official cited signs of possible preparations for a missile launch, saying it could happen in a week.

This comes amid discussions among UN Security Council members for fresh sanctions against Pyongyang after it announced it completed its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6.

The North is already under sanctions for its nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea last conducted a long-range rocket launch in late 2012, successfully putting an object into orbit in what is believed by experts to be part of its effort to build an intercontinental ballistic missile. 

The North is also seen to be working to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to mount on a missile but many experts say it is still some time away from perfecting the technology.

The Japanese government source said a missile launch could occur in about a week at the earliest.

No other details about the satellite imagery analyses were given.

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

North Korea said on Jan. 6 that it exploded a hydrogen bomb, although the US and other governments and experts were skeptical about the claim.

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