N. Korea Missile Launchers: North Korea has passed two missile launchers on its east coast, where, apparently, have begun preparations for a missile test that tensions still simmering on the peninsula.
The North had said before recent reports emerged missiles close on Sunday it was willing to discuss disarmament, but rejected a U.S. nuclear status for talks.
Expectations had been high that Pyongyang could conduct a test to coincide with the celebrations of the birth of North Korea’s late founding leader Kim I-Sung on April 15, but that did not materialize.
Northern Army moved two pitchers think Scud missiles to the northeastern province of South Hamgyong last week, according to Yonhap news agency, citing a senior Seoul.
“We have found that the North has moved two additional TELs (transporter erector launchers) to the east coast … after April 16,” the official was quoted as saying.
The official said Seoul and the U.S. were closely monitoring the site.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence of North Korea was not immediately available to confirm the report.
The North was previously reported to have moved seven missile launchers to its coast facing the East Sea or Sea of Japan, in apparent preparation for a test that an escalation of tensions.
Nuclear Test: Angered by the fresh UN sanctions triggered by its third nuclear test in February and sets South Korea and United States military exercises, the North has been issuing threats for weeks missile and nuclear war.
But despite the passing of Kim I-Sung anniversary, said a spokesman for the Defense Ministry in Seoul on Thursday that the possibility of a test involving SCUD shorter range, mid-range Rodong missiles Musudan or long term remained.
April 25 could be another possible date for the launch of missiles, the report said, citing military officials in Seoul. The date is the anniversary of the founding of the North Korean military.
The Musudan, considered more likely to be tested, has an estimated range of 2500 km to 4000 km. That’s enough to get to South Korea, Japan and potentially the U.S. military bases in the Pacific island of Guam.
U.S. President Barack Obama has expressed doubts about the capabilities of the North and said last week that he did not believe that Pyongyang could still build a missile with a nuclear warhead.
Disarmament Talks: North Korea has offered the United States and South Korea a list of conditions for Thursday disarmament talks, including the lifting of UN sanctions.
“U.S. should not think of the denuclearization of the peninsula before the world is nuclear-free“, North State Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary.
“There can be dialogue between the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and the U.S. for disarmament, but does not talk about denuclearization”.
However, the U.S. said he was expecting “clear signs” that North Korea would halt its nuclear activities.