Flurry of activity hints at N Korea missile test

Seoul: Signs of unusual activity have been detected in North Korea, the South’s unification minister said Tuesday, following reports that Pyongyang may be preparing for a ballistic missile test. The North has stoked international alarm over its banned nuclear missile programme, but it has not staged a missile test since September 15, raising hopes that ramped-up sanctions are having an impact.
But South Korea’s Yonhap news agency cited a government source as saying that a missile-tracing radar was switched on at an unspecified base on Monday, and there had been a flurry of telecom traffic.
Unification minister Cho Myoung-Gyon confirmed there had been “noteworthy activity in the North recently”, but said the Seoul government had to “wait and see whether it leads to an actual missile test or provocation”.
Aside from the recent movements, Pyongyang has also been conducting various engine tests and fuel tests even during the testing lull, Cho told foreign correspondents.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency also quoted sources as saying the Tokyo government was on alert after detecting radio signals suggesting North Korea might be preparing for a missile launch.
“North Korea might launch a missile within the next few days,” one of the sources was quoted as saying.
However, the Japanese sources also said that as satellite images have not shown any missile or moveable launch pad, the signals might only be related to winter training for the North Korean military. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un visited a new catfish farm northeast of Pyongyang, its state media said Tuesday, in the latest of a series of economic outings that have coincided with a lull in weapons testing. — AFP