Unfazed by international anger at its second nuclear bomb test, a defiant North Korea was said Saturday to be preparing to launch a long-range missile.
The United States stressed it would not accept the North as a nuclear-armed state and warned that more atomic tests could spark an arms race in East Asia.
“A train carrying a long-range missile has been spotted at the weapons research centre near Pyongyang,” South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted an intelligence source as saying.
(ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)
The source said it may be a modified version of a Taepodong-2, which the North tested in 2006 and in April and which is theoretically capable of reaching Alaska.
“It usually takes about two months to set up a launch pad, but the process could be done in as little as two weeks, which means the North could launch a long-range missile as early as mid-June,” the source said.
Yonhap quoted a presidential official as saying the North may schedule a launch to coincide with a June 16 summit between South Korean President Lee Mying-Bak and US President Barack Obama in Washington.