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No signs detected of N. Korea's long-range missile launch: Seoul ministry

All Headlines 11:36 May 19, 2015

SEOUL, May 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea sees no signs of North Korea preparing to fire a long-range rocket, the Ministry of National Defense said Tuesday, despite reports that the North plans to test-launch a rocket carrying a satellite.

Citing "sources in a number of governments," Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered its National Aerospace Development Administration earlier this year to prepare to test-launch a rocket carrying a satellite in October to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the nation.

The U.S., Japan and South Korea suspect the project will "effectively be a test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile" that the North is allegedly developing, according to the report.

"South Korean and U.S. authorities are closely monitoring the North Korean movements," Defense Ministry vice spokesman Nah Seung-yong told a regular briefing. "But we've yet to confirm any specific signs or movements of its actual firing of missiles."

Earlier this month, the North's Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim Jong-un inspected a newly-built satellite control and command center, stressing the country's will to continue developing space technology despite international sanctions.

In December 2012, Pyongyang put a satellite into orbit on an Unha-3 long-range rocket in a surprise move that demonstrated that it has moved closer to developing a nuclear missile that can reach the U.S. mainland.

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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