Seoul monitoring North Korea for possible future missile tests

By Elizabeth Shim
Seoul said on Wednesday it is watching for additional North Korea provocations. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
Seoul said on Wednesday it is watching for additional North Korea provocations. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- South Korea is on alert after a Fox News report on Tuesday quoted anonymous U.S. officials saying North Korea is preparing to test another ballistic missile within 24 to 72 hours.

Seoul's unification ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee told reporters on Wednesday officials are closely watching for any North Korea movements, local news service News 1 reported.


Fox News' sources did not provide satellite imagery details, but Seoul says there is enough of a possibility North Korea could engage in another missile provocation.

North Korea's midrange Musudan missile has a range of 1,900 to 2,500 miles and is capable of striking the U.S. territory of Guam, according to News 1.

Nam Kwang-kyu, a professor at Korea University's Asiatic Research Institute, said there is a possibility North Korea could launch a missile to send a message to the United States during the presidential elections.

"North Korea always thinks its adversary is the United States," Nam said.

But Pyongyang may also think twice about provoking South Korea in light of a recent scandal surrounding President Park Geun-hye, according Hong Hyun-ik, an analyst at the Sejong Institute, a South Korean think tank.


"If Kim Jong Un is a strategist, in the midst of a complex domestic situation he would not launch a missile in order to help the South Korean government," Hong said.

Park's approval ratings usually rise in the face of North Korea threats.

Some South Korean politicians have called for nuclear armament in response to Pyongyang, a debate that has now reached Washington.

According to bipartisan South Korean politicians visiting the United States, U.S. intelligence officials at National Intelligence and the CIA said the decision to develop nuclear weapons is "up to Korea," a position at odds with Washington's policy of "extended deterrence."

Won Yoo-chul of the ruling Saenuri Party and Lee In-young of the Minjoo Party of Korea said the U.S. officials did not recommend the idea, but the final decision would be Seoul's, according to South Korean newspaper Segye Ilbo.

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