Possible North Korea Musudan launch puts Seoul, Tokyo on alert

SEOUL, June 21 (UPI) — North Korea could be preparing another provocation – this time involving the Musudan, its mid-range ballistic missile.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed the statement from a government source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Yonhap reported Tuesday.

“Our military is closely tracking related signs with the possibility of the North’s additional missile launch being a consideration,” the joint chiefs said.

The unidentified government source had said earlier Seoul is “closely watching after detecting signs that the North is moving toward the launch of what appears to be a Musudan missile.”

The Musudan is the rocket that North Korea attempted to launch in April and May. The tests have led to four costly failures – costing Pyongyang $80 million, according to one South Korean estimate.

The source said North Korea is deploying a road-mobile launcher on its east coast, which faces Japan.

The news has Tokyo on alert. The Japanese military is moving its naval launchers and anti-ballistic missile Patriot systems into position, Kyodo News reported.

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces were also ordered Tuesday to “intercept any flying objects that would hit or stray into Japanese territory or airspace,” according to television network NHK.

The United Nations Security Council issued a statement June 1 condemning previous North Korean ballistic missile tests.

Resources are being “diverted” away from humanitarian needs, the Security Council had stated.

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