North Korea is preparing a long-range missile launch at its Dongchang-ri site, Yonhap News Agency reports.
Early on Wednesday, reports surfaced that North Korea had been moving around its mobile missile launcher, which was carrying a ballistic missile, according to Japanese network NHK. The mobile missile launcher station was known to be protected underground and had not been moved as of late, the report said.
The North Korean government has been pressured by the international community to cancel a planned missile launch.
But Pyongyang has told United Nations bodies that it would go ahead with the launch of an “earth observation satellite.”
Japan has pledged to destroy North Korean rockets if any enter its territorial boundaries.
“Today the defence minister issued an order” to destroy any missile if “confirmed that it will fall on Japanese territory,” the Japanese defense ministry said Tuesday in a statement.
On Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described the potential launch as a “clear violation” against the UN Security Council resolutions.
North Korea was expected to conduct the missile launch between February 8 and 25, according to an announcement from Pyongyang cited by AFP.
South Korea has threatened a “severe price” should North Korea go ahead with the long-range missile launch.
“We warn that if North Korea proceeds with a long-range rocket launch, the international society will ensure that the North pays searing consequences… as it would constitute a grave threat to the Korean peninsula, the region, and the world,” South Korean official Cho Tae-yong said Wednesday.
Even the Chinese foreign ministry, which is allied with North Korea, said it had “deep concern” over the planned launch.
U.S. satellites have spotted heavy activity at one of North Korea’s launch stations in recent days.
U.S. officials told CNN that they had the technology available to launch a satellite into space.
Last month, North Korean officials announced that Kim Jong Un’s regime had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.