North Korea is preparing another ballistic missile launch, says Japan

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North Korea could be preparing another ballistic missile launch, according to officials in Japan.

The Japanese news agency Kyodo reported on Monday that the government there has detected radio signals which indicates a missile test is imminent.

However, a source told the Reuters news agency that such signals are not entirely unusual and satellite images do not show fresh activity.

“This is not enough to determine (if a launch is likely soon),” the source said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (Picture: Getty)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (Picture: Getty)

In September, North Korea fired a rocket that passed over Japan’s northern Hokkaido island.

The Japanese government is reported to be on alert following the signals and suggested the launch could happen within a few days.

It was also reported that the signals may also relate to winter training by the military in North Korea.

Its leader, Kim Jong-un, continues to pursue nuclear weapons and missile programmes in defiance of sanctions placed on the country by the United Nations.

North Korea has boasted of producing a missile capable of hitting a target in the US.

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South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported the US, South Korea and Japan are on a higher alert for a North Korean missile launch.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said there have been movements from the North since its last missile launch in mid-September.

“North Korea hasn’t been engaging in new nuclear or missile tests but recently we’ve seen them persistently testing engines and carrying out fuel tests,” he said.

Kim Jong-un has defied the West with his nuclear programme (Picture: Getty)
Kim Jong-un has defied the West with his nuclear programme (Picture: Getty)

“But we need some more time to see whether these are directly related to missile and nuclear tests.”

In the US, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning said: “This is a diplomatically led effort at this point, supported by military options.

“The Republic of Korea and US alliance remains strong and capable of countering any North Korean provocations or attacks.”

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