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North Korea freight train en route to launch pad

The United States, South Korea and Japan have all confirmed the train is headed for the launch pad.

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea freight train en route to launch pad
The 'Unha-3' lifts off on Dec. 12, 2012 from North Korea's Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan province. A freight train has begun moving in the direction of the launch pad, according to Japan press. File photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A freight train has begun moving in the direction of North Korea's Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan province.

The train, headed for North Korea's rocket launch pad was first spotted on Thursday, an unidentified source told Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. Yonhap reported the contents of the freight train were unknown, but it was unlikely given the timing of transportation and the assembly required, a missile launch could take place prior to Oct. 10, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party.

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The United States, South Korea and Japan have all confirmed the train is headed for the launch pad, South Korean outlet News 1 reported, and was likely to have departed from a special weapons facility in Sanum-dong, a district in Pyongyang.

The confirmed train movement is the latest sign of activity since early September, when North Korea said that it plans to launch satellites. Since the announcement, the station where the rocket would be placed has shown little to no sign of activity.

Given the low levels of movement, Pyongyang does not have time to prepare a launch by mid-October, according to analysts Jack Liu and Joseph S. Bermudez on Sept. 15.

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The Asahi reported that while freight train movement was confirmed, the activity could be a decoy to mislead the United States, South Korea and Japan.

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