Japan Reports North Korea Readying Long-Range Missile Launch 'Next Week'

© AFP 2022 / KIM JAE-HWANA mock North Korean missile is pictured during a rally denouncing North Korea's nuclear test and its recent missile launches, at the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul
A mock North Korean missile is pictured during a rally denouncing North Korea's nuclear test and its recent missile launches, at the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul - Sputnik International
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According to an anonymous Japanese government official, North Korea may be preparing to launch a long-range missile in the coming days.

Citing an unnamed government official, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reports that satellite imagery appears to show Pyongyang preparing to launch a long-range missile from a test site known as Tongchang-ri.

People watch a news report on North Korea's first hydrogen bomb test at a railroad station in Seoul on January 6, 2016. - Sputnik International
UNSC Must Adopt New Resolution Over N Korean Nuclear Test

The official estimates that the launch could come as soon as one week from now.

If true, this would be North Korea’s first long-range missile launch since 2012, when it successfully placed an object into Earth orbit.

Pyongyang already faces sanctions over its missile programs, and a new test could intensify penalties implemented by the United Nations Security Council.

North Korea is also under intense scrutiny following a nuclear test conducted earlier this month. While the North Korean government claimed it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, experts doubt those claims, believing the blast to have been a less powerful atomic device.

Regardless, the UN is considering applying additional sanctions in relation to that incident. On Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

"We agreed on the importance of a strong UN Security Council resolution, and we agreed to accelerate our work at the UN immediately in order to try to reach an understanding of what should be in it and how we achieve our goal," Kerry told reporters.

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