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(LEAD) N. Korea may launch ballistic missile after one or two weeks: official

All Headlines 22:15 June 01, 2009

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SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea appears to be preparing to test-launch a long-range ballistic missile, an intelligence official in Seoul said Monday, noting the launch could take place in one or two weeks.

"We believe the North could launch the missile at any time after one or two weeks," the official said, asking not to be identified.

The assessment comes as the communist nation is believed to have moved a missile to its new launch site in Dongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province, which has a built-in launch pad, the official added.

The missile is in the process of being assembled at a facility at the Donchang-ri site, another source said on condition of anonymity.

According to him, "The North is believed to have manufactured a set of three long-range rockets. One of them was launched on April 5, the other is in Dongchang-ri, and the other is being kept in a Pyongyang arms research center."

The report comes after officials here earlier said an intercontinental ballistic missile was spotted last week on a cargo train for shipment.

The North's alleged move comes amid efforts by the U.N. Security Council to place economic and diplomatic sanctions on Pyongyang for its latest nuclear test that took place last Monday.

North Korea is prohibited from any nuclear or long-range missile tests, as well as trade of heavy arms, under a 2006 U.N. security resolution adopted after its first detonation of a nuclear device that year.

Pyongyang said last week it will reject any U.N. resolutions and take "stronger self-defensive countermeasures" if the world body tries to take punitive action.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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