TOKYO – North Korea could be preparing for new launches of mid-range missiles following last week’s tests, with activity detected at its bases, a report has said citing Japanese government sources.
US and Japanese satellite photos show that mid-range Rodong missiles had been set up on launch pads at a base in southeastern North Korea, but were later removed, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported.
Fuel tanks could be seen near the launch pads, the report said.
The report said the satellite photos were taken after last week’s tests of seven missiles, but did not give a specific date.
“We think North Korea can launch missiles whenever it wishes,” the top-selling daily quoted a government source as saying.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso on Sunday suggested Tokyo would have the right to launch a pre-emptive strike to protect its citizens from a missile launch by Pyongyang.
He said there were “visible signs” of activity at a North Korean missile base from which North Korea launched a Rodong missile last week.
Japan submitted a draft binding resolution in the United Nations Security Council that would impose sanctions on North Korea over the missile tests.
But on Monday, the Security Council put off a vote on the resolution to allow more time for Chinese diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis.