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North Korea ready to launch ICBM, Japan-based group says

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea ready to launch ICBM, Japan-based group says
A view of North Korea from south of the demilitarized zone. North Korea could be preparing the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, according to a pro-Pyongyang newspaper in Japan. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The North Korea ballistic launch on Sunday may have been a warm-up exercise for a more sophisticated test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

According to a pro-Pyongyang newspaper published by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, the test-firing of a North Korea ICBM is "not far away," South Korean news service News 1 reported Wednesday.

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"As the situation in different places demonstrates, North Korea's test of an ICBM is not far away, but the new administration of the United States is in a state of helplessness while wasting time," an article in the Choson Sinbo read.

"The successful launch of the Pukguksong-2 shows North Korea's declaration of having reached the final preparation stage of ICBM launch is not empty words," the article added.

The Japan-based newspaper stated the test reflects North Korea's policy of "strengthening its self-defense capability" as long as the "nuclear threats and intimidation of the United States and its followers continue."

"If the Trump administration does not get rid of wrong policy and does not resolve the strategy of confrontation, orders of North Korea's supreme leader will be followed and steps will be taken to strengthen deterrence," the article read.

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North Korea fired a ballistic missile around 7:55 a.m. on Sunday, according to Seoul's joint chiefs of staff.

The missile is believed to be an upgraded SLBM.

The General Association of Korean Residents in Japan functions as North Korea's de facto embassy in Japan and represents the interests of pro-Pyongyang ethnic Koreans living in the country.

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