An anonymous Japanese government official has warned that North Korea may be preparing to launch a long-range missile this week.
Japanese news agency Kyodo have reported that satellite imagery shows that Pyongyang are preparing to launch the long-range missile from a test site called Tongchang-ri.
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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.