North Korea to move intercontinental missile
North Korea is preparing to move an intercontinental ballistic missile from a factory near Pyongyang to a launch site on the east coast, a South Korean newspaper quoted a source in Washington, according to Reuters.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, speaking at a forum in Singapore, warned on Saturday that provocations by the communist state would not go unanswered.
"We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in the region or on us," Gates told a meeting of Asian Defense ministers in Singapore. "We will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state."
Increasingly belligerent North Korea has warned of war on the Korean peninsula, saying it was no longer bound by an armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War and threatened further provocations in response to U.N. Security Council censure.
The factory north of Pyongyang is the same place where the North manufactured the long-range rocket it fired on April 5 before moving it to the east-coast Musudan-ri missile range for assembly and launch, the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper said.
Regional powers are waiting to see what the North might do next after it conducted a nuclear test on Monday. South Korea is on alert on the assessment Pyongyang may make provocative moves using conventional weapons at their heavily armed border.
North Korea has warned of an intercontinental ballistic missile test in anger over U.N. Security Council punishment for what Pyongyang said was a satellite launch on April 5.
"Preparations to move an ICBM from the Saneum Weapons Research Center near Pyongyang by train have been captured by U.S. spy satellites," Dong-a Ilbo quoted a source in Washington knowledgeable about the issue as saying.
The research lab is the North's main center of research and manufacture of long-range missiles, the newspaper said.
South Korea's Defense ministry could not immediately comment on the report.