REPORT: North Korea is 'preparing to launch a long-range missile'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Picture: Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)

Japan’s Kyodo news agency claims satellite imagery may show Pyongyang preparing to launch a long-range missile.

The report comes from an anonymous government official source who claims the missile could be launched from North Korea’s “Tongchang-ri” test site within a week.

According to 38north.org, the station has recently completed an extensive three-year upgrade, including expanded propellant bunkers, “probably designed to support future activities related to the testing and launching of larger rockets”.

Picture: Airbus Defense & Space and 38 North

The station was used in 2012 the last time North Korea successfully launched an object – most likely a satellite – into orbit.

On January 6, Pyongyang detonated a hydrogen bomb which sparked a 5.1 magnitude tremor.

Where the test took place. Screenshot: USGS

It then released a statement saying the test was “neither to ‘threaten’ anyone nor to ‘provoke’ someone for a certain purpose”.

Ten days later, it issued another statement demanding the US halt its “joint military exercises” with South Korea, or nuclear testing would resume.

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