North Korean activities suggest it might be readying to conduct a short-range missile test from a launch facility along its east coast, Reuters reported today (see GSN, May 15).
Pyongyang advised ships to avoid entering waters roughly 25 miles from the Musudan-ri installation. Mobile aunch-pad vehicles have also been spotted near the base, a South Korean source told the Yonhap News Agency.
"Looking from the activities of the North's military, it's not a long-range ballistic missile but a short-range one that they're trying to fire," the official reportedly said.
The North is believed to have tested long-range missile technology on April 5, and has since threatened to conduct further missile trials. The regime's short-range missiles have an estimated range of 62 to 75 miles and are often tested during military exercises.
Pyongyang has been known to conduct missile tests to improve its negotiating position with foreign powers. Some suspect North Korea is trying to provoke U.S. President Barack Obama into making concessions in talks on the Stalinist state's nuclear program (see related GSN story, today; Yoko Kubota, Reuters, May 22).