North Korea has moved several missiles out of a rocket facility in North Korea’s capital on Friday, stoking fears Kim Jong-un is ramping up military action yet again.
US and South Korean intelligence officials detected the missiles being taken away from North Korea’s Missile Research and Development Facility.
The report from South Korea’s Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) did not specify a destination or time the missiles had been moved.
A Reuters report stated that the rockets could be the Hwasong-12, an intermediate range missile, or the intercontinental Hwasong-14, which is Korea’s longest range ballistic missile.
Suspicion falls on the latter as the Sanum-Dong facility is focused on producing intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The latest test flight of the Hwasong-14 was carried out on 28 July 2017, which was detected by US intelligence. The missile landed 998km (620 miles) away in the Sea of Japan.
Officials from South Korea have raised fears that Pyongyang could be gearing up for a show of military power to celebrate the founding of the Communist Party in North Korea around 13 October.
Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera also voiced his fears. “I understand it is an important anniversary for North Korea. We would like to maintain a sense of urgency.”
Chung Eui-yong, South Korea’s security adviser, added to the growing chorus of concern, stating that he believes Pyongyang will step up their military activity between 10 – 18 October, but gave no further information.
Russia is ready to work with Pyongyang in order to find a peaceful solution to the continuing North Korean missile crisis. Choe Son-hui, director general of the North American department of North Korea’s foreign ministry, met with Igor Morgulov, Russian’s deputy foreign minister.
“The Russian side confirmed its readiness to combine efforts in the interests of finding ways to solve the problems in the region by peaceful, political and diplomatic means,” Mr Son-hui said.
On Saturday, Rex Tillerson, US secretary of state is in China to hold talks on preventing an escalation in the ongoing missile crisis in the Korean peninsula.
Political adviser and to China’s government Einar Tangen said: “From the Chinese perspective, they see two speeding trains on the same track going full tilt at one another.
He told Al Jazeera: “North Korea has enshrined its nuclear programme in its constitution, there’s no way they are going to give up what they see as the only point of leverage.”
The ballistic missile tests have continued despite the UN Security Council approving new sanctions against North Korea. Donald Trump also signed an executive order authorising additional sanctions against financial institutions and companies that conducted business with Pyongyang.
North Korea hit back with promises to take the “highest-level” action against the United States.
According to an NBC report, a North Korean official said that “the US should be fully aware that the more frantic it gets in the unprecedented anti-DPRK frenzy, the earlier it will meet its own miserable extinction.”