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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

N. Korea preparing to launch long-range missile - Yonhap

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, May 30 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea is preparing to launch a long-range missile in the middle of June despite international condemnation and threats of further sanctions, Yonhap cited on Saturday an intelligence source as saying.

The source told the news agency that an object, which resembled an intercontinental ballistic missile, had been observed at an "artillery research center" near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

Yonhap quoted the official as saying "We believe that the object is certainly an ICBM," adding that North Korea is thought to be moving the missile to its Musudan-ri launch site on the east coast.

The reclusive communist state threatened it would respond if the UN Security Council issued a new resolution and sanctions following an underground nuclear test and the launch of at least six short-range missiles earlier this week.

"If the UN Security Council continues provocations, we will inevitably respond with further self-defense measures," the North Korean foreign ministry on Friday said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

The South Korea official told Yonhap, "It usually takes about two months to set up a launch pad, but the process could be done in as little as two weeks, which means the North could launch a long-range missile as early as mid-June,"

Pyongyang is already under a number of UN sanctions over its first nuclear test, carried out in 2006.

Possible new sanctions may include a ban on importing and exporting all arms and not just heavy weapons, additional asset freezes and travel bans for North Korean officials, and placing more firms on a UN blacklist, according to UN sources.


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