North Korea preparing long-range missile launch

Seoul, Feb 4 (IANS) North Korea is preparing to launch a long-range missile, the South Korean defence ministry announced on Thursday, warning of an imminent missile test by Pyongyang in the coming weeks.

North Korea has recently informed international maritime, aviation and telecommunication agencies that it will launch a rocket to put a satellite into orbit, taking a preparatory step for what the outside world believes will be a defiant test of a ballistic missile, The Korea Herald reported.

“In line with North Korea’s warning of a missile launch sometime between February 8-25, it is preparing for the launch at Dongchang-ri,” ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said in a regular briefing.

Moon, however, did not provide any details of the intelligence, saying he cannot confirm or deny a Japanese report that a mobile launcher loaded with a ballistic missile was seen moving along North Korea’s east coast.

The spokesman said South Korea will intercept any North Korean missile and debris if it falls in South Korea’s land, sea or air territory.

“The military is ramping up its air defence readiness so it can intercept a missile or any debris that lands in our territory or waters,” Moon added.

South Korea and the US have also deployed military assets to detect and track a North Korean missile if it is fired, he also added.

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