North Korea could be preparing another missile launch in the coming days, intelligence analysts believe, after they observed the regime moving a mobile launcher.
A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said intelligence agencies had observed North Korea moving the launcher within the past 48 hours, potentially indicating another looming test.
It would be yet another provocation in a region where tensions have soared in recent months, with missile and nuclear tests by the North and harsh rhetoric from US President Donald Trump.
The official did not comment on the location or the type of missile, but emphasised that while a launch was possible, Pyongyang could simply be moving the launcher.
It follows reports last week that the Kim Jong-un regime was moving a projectile that appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile toward its west coast.
South Korea’s Asia Business Daily said the rocket started moving a day after North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, and was spotted moving at night to avoid surveillance.
North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test on 3 September, prompting the UN Security Council to step up sanctions with a ban on the reclusive regime’s textile exports and a cap on fuel supplies.
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Damage to mountainous terrain at the North’s nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, seen in satellite imagery taken after the test, was more extensive than anything seen after the five previous trials, said 38 North, a Washington-based project which monitors the country.
There was also activity at another location in the Mount Mantap site, in the north-east, involving large vehicles and mining equipment that suggested “onsite work could now be changing focus to further prepare those other portals for future underground nuclear testing”, 38 North said.