North Korea is preparing to launch a short- or medium-range missile, which could come immediately after it carries out its plan to test a long-range rocket early next month, a Japanese newspaper reported Sunday.
North Korea says it will shoot a communications satellite into orbit between April 4 and 8 as part of a peaceful bid to develop its space program. Regional powers, however, suspect the North is only trying to use the launch to test its advanced missile technology, warning the action would trigger international sanctions.
US officials said last week that North Korea has mounted a rocket onto its northeast coastal Musudan-ni launchpad, putting the country well on track for a launch. US, South Korean and Japanese officials have warned they will take the North to the UN Security Council if the country goes ahead with its plan.
Tokyo's Sankei newspaper, citing several unnamed Japanese government sources, reported Sunday that the North was preparing for the test-launch of another missile from Wonsan, about 155 miles (250 kilometers) south of the Musudan-ni lauchpad. The report said US, South Korean and Japanese intelligence analyses said the missile could be a short- or medium-range missile.