South Korea raises alert level
South Korea has raised its alert level to “vital threat” amid indications the North is preparing for a missile test. At least one ballistic missile with an estimated 3,000km (2,000-mile) range is fuelled and ready for launch, US and South Korean sources say. The threats follow tough new UN sanctions imposed on North Korea last month following its third nuclear test.
In anticipation, the South Korea-US Combined Forces have raised their alert level to Watchcon 2, to increase surveillance monitoring, Yonhap quoted a senior military official as saying. North Korea unveiled the Musudan missile during a military parade in 2010 but has yet to test it.
There are reports, however, that it may have been sold to Iran and tested there. The launch could happen “anytime from now”, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se told parliament.
A test launch would be a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1718, passed in 2006, which states the North “must not conduct any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile”. North Korea has tested intermediate range missiles before and during periods of crisis and tension, says the BBC’s John Sudworth in Seoul.
So while another test launch would certainly be seen as provocative, it is unlikely to have any major, short-term military significance unless it goes wrong, our correspondent adds. He says one key date for a launch could be Monday – the birthday of the North Korean state’s late founder, Kim Il-sung.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at Kenya Broadcasting Corporation