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09:13 AM, April 14, 2016
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North Korea Prepares Launch Of Mobile Ballistic Missiles: Report
North Korea's KN-08 Limited Range Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.

North Korea may be preparing to launch this week its first mobile ballistic missile, designed to put the mainland United States within range.

A mobile launcher was spotted carrying up to two Musudan missiles, Yonhap reported Thursday, citing multiple South Korean government sources, following the North's fourth nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch the next month, which led to fresh U.N. sanctions.

The US intelligence satellites were the first to have picked up such indications, and the potential launch of Musudan missile is feared to be capable of reaching Guam, as well as Shemya Island in the outer reaches of Alaska's Aleutian chain, CNN reported.

But the North could attempt to test the longer-range, road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile KN-08 or its advanced version, KN-14, which are believed to be capable of reaching the West Coast of the continental U.S., the report said.

A South Korean military official told Yonhap, "Seoul is aware that North Korea is prepared to launch a ballistic missile at anytime".

The official said South Korea is making all-out preparations against the possibility of an additional provocation.

The report came amid heightened concerns that Pyongyang could undertake yet another provocation, such as a nuclear test and a long-range missile launch, to mark the birthday of founding leader Kim Il-sung on Friday.

Last week, the North claimed that it successfully carried out a ground test of a powerful ICBM engine, with leader Kim saying that the test "provided a firm guarantee for mounting another form of nuclear attack upon the U.S. imperialists."

After analyzing images of the test, U.S. missile expert John Schilling said the test demonstrated Pyongyang is capable of building road-mobile, long-range missiles that can deliver nuclear warheads as far as Washington and New York. 

 

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