South Korean military officials are readying for another possible missile launch by Pyongyang as they prepare for a joint military drill with the US
on the disputed peninsula this week.
Multiple South Korean media reports citing unidentified military officials on Saturday and Sunday said North Korean missile vehicles “kept appearing and disappearing” from the map and “transporter erector launchers” had been spotted carrying ballistic missiles from near Pyongyang and North Pyongan province.
A joint military drill between the US
and South Korea
will be held from Monday through Friday, Yonhap
reported Sunday, citing an unidentified military source who said Pyongyang was ready to fire missiles “any time.”
“Anything could happen especially before China’s party convention on October 18 and during the time between post-drills and Trump’s visits in the region,” said Shin Beomchul, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul. “There is also the possibility for North Korea
to test shorter-ranged ballistic missiles, which in the past did not lead to UN sanctions.” Historically, the North had tended not to provoke directly during the military drills.
North Korea’s state-run media agency KCNA
on Saturday criticised the joint military exercise, calling it a “reckless act of war maniacs.” Earlier, the White House said US
President Donald Trump
will travel to Asia from November 3-14, during which he will visit South Korea
and possibly the demilitarised zone that separates the two Koreas.
As part of this week’s drill, the US
has deployed the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to South Korea.
nuclear-powered submarine Michigan is also likely to take part.
conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, and has launched more than a dozen missiles this year as Kim Jong Un’s regime seeks the capability to hit the continental US
with an atomic weapon. The United Nations has imposed stringent sanctions on North Korea
for its weapons tests.
Meanwhile Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
said Sunday that President Donald Trump
had instructed him to continue diplomatic efforts to calm rising tensions with North Korea, saying "those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first