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N. Korea likely to launch long-range missile 'abruptly': Defense Ministry

All News 11:33 January 28, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is likely to conduct a long-range missile test in an "abrupt" manner, the Defense Ministry said Thursday. But the country has yet to declare a no-sail zone, a sign that no test launch will come in the very near future, it said.

"North Korea is likely to do it abruptly when they launch important provocative acts in the future," ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said in a regular briefing.

Earlier in the day, Japan's Kyodo News agency reported that the North could conduct a long-range missile launch in as early as a week at the Dongchang-ri launch site in the country's northwest, citing satellite imagery analyses.

Kim neither confirmed nor denied the report, only saying that "Our military is keeping close tabs on the signs of North Korea's long-range missile launch."

The spokesman, however, said the North has yet to declare a no-sail zone, a notification necessary before the country conducts a long-range missile launch that affects other parts of the world.

"A no-sail zone is required internationally because North Korea's past long-range missiles or rockets flew to the east coast of the Philippines. But I have not heard so far on that," Kim noted.

If North Korea conducts a long-range missile launch, it would constitute a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and South Korea will jointly respond to it with the United States, he said.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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