North Korea may test ICBM this week, say South, US

Seoul, Mar 14 (EFE).- North Korea may be preparing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test as early as this week, a South Korean source said Monday.

The assessment is based on signs detected by South Korea and the United States, Yonhap news agency quoted an unnamed government official as saying.

A spokesperson for the South Korean defense ministry did not confirm the information to EFE. But insisted that the southern military intelligence “is closely monitoring the movements of the North Korean army.”

The signs of the possible new test emerged Friday after South Korea and the US accused Pyongyang of having tested a new ICBM system on Feb.27 and Mar.5 ahead of the suspected launch of Hwasong-17, considered to be the biggest.

The regime led by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has assured that the last two launches tested the technology to fire reconnaissance satellites.

Experts believe that the two launches could have served to test multiple re-entry vehicles (MIRV), capable of carrying several warheads.

On the same day when the US and South Korea accused the North of having tested parts of its biggest ICBM, Pyongyang said Kim Jong-un visited the Sohae space launch base and stressed modernization and expansion of the facility to fire a variety of rockets.

The US and South Korea believe the North is planning a full test of Hwasong-17 “disguising it as a space launch,” as it is believed to have done with various satellite launches over the past two decades, none of which has been operational.

The latest tests and Sohae’s renewal plan come after the regime said in January that, given the stagnation of dialog with Washington, it is considering whether to end the self-imposed moratorium on testing ICBMs and nuclear weapons. EFE


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