SEOUL, April 14 (UPI) — North Korea could launch a mid-range or a long-range missile on Friday, the birthday of the state’s founder, Kim Il Sung, a South Korean military source said.
U.S. and South Korea intelligence officials are closely monitoring the situation after activities were detected near the North Korean city of Wonsan in Gangwon Province, South Korean newspaper Segye Ilbo reported.
Officials have said the rockets could be mid-range Musudan ballistic missiles, or the long-range KN-08, an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Aegis-class destroyers have been deployed in the waters near South Korea coasts and are ready to track the trajectory of the projectiles after launch, the military source said.
South Korea has not given an exact number of missiles that have been placed in Wonsan, but estimates about three to four missiles are being prepared for launch.
The missiles are most likely to be launched from road mobile launchers and according to Seoul’s military source the North has not notified the International Maritime Organization, the U.N. agency and regulatory body.
Analysts have said North Korea retains 50 Musudan mid-range missiles, but none of the weapons have been fired. The Musudan can travel between 1,800 and 2,500 miles if successfully launched and could be capable of hitting the U.S. military base in Guam.
North Korea activities have placed Japan on alert.
Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said Tokyo is closely monitoring the situation, Jiji Press reported.
Nakatani said he couldn’t rule out the possibility of more provocations in response to international pressure against the North and the joint military exercises in South Korea.