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Possible North Korea missile launch being monitored, Tokyo says

By Elizabeth Shim
Possible North Korea missile launch being monitored, Tokyo says
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday Tokyo is monitoring North Korea military movements. File Photo by Kimimasa Mayama/EPA

Nov. 28 (UPI) -- North Korea may have begun preparing for a possible missile provocation, the Japanese government said Tuesday.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters Tokyo is analyzing signals the North may be getting ready to fire a projectile, more than two months after engaging in its last provocation, Kyodo News reported.

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"North Korea's missile launches are a high priority, and we are analyzing the situation carefully," Suga said. "We will do all we can to monitor and observe the situation."

Robert Manning, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said the United States will continue to monitor the latest developments.

Kyodo also reported it was possible Japan had picked up on a simple radio signal from North Korean military training grounds that may have no relation to a potential missile launch.

South Korea might be taking the warning seriously, Yonhap reported Tuesday.

Roh Jae-chun, spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the government is "closely monitoring the situation," but also said it would "not be appropriate for the [South Korea] joint chiefs to confirm Japanese press reports."

South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Roh Kyu-deok said in a separate statement South Korea with its allies United States and Japan are working in close cooperation.

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Seoul is prepared to deal with additional provocations, Roh said.

North Korea has gone for 75 days without engaging in provocations, but some analysts have said North Korea could return to raising tensions, following a U.S. decision to redesignate North Korea as a state sponsor of terror.

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