Seoul, South Korea
Pictures of satellite images of North Korea published this week by GlobalSecurity.org, a US defence information group, suggests that the country may now have completed work on a new launch site for long-range missiles. But Adm Robert Willard, head of the US Pacific Command, said there were no signs of an imminent launch. Last year Pyongyang was accused of sinking a South Korean warship and shelling a South Korean island.
In recent years, satellites have captured images showing the slow development of a second, larger launchpad at a base near North Korea’s border with China. Pyongyang conducted long-range missile tests as recently as 2009, the same year that it detonated a nuclear device underground.
Last month the US defence secretary voiced fears that Pyongyang could develop missiles which threatened the US within five years. The more immediate concern, said Adm Willard, was what he called military provocations – referring to two incidents last year in which a South Korean warship was torpedoed, killing 46 on board, and a South Korean island was shelled, claiming the lives of four people including two civilians.
North Korea had denied sinking the ship and said the shelling was provoked by South Korean military exercises.
Source: BBC News