TOKYO (TR) – Japan’s Defense Ministry says the order has been given to shoot down any North Korean missile headed towards Japan as the communist nation appears to be preparing for a fourth nuclear test, Agence France-Presse reported.
The order to deploy Aegis destroyers with their interceptor capabilities to the Sea of Japan by Tokyo came amid speculation North Korea may test a missile this week and reports that South Korean intelligence agencies have detected increased activity around the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, AFP said.
“There are such signs” of nuclear test activity at Punggye-ri, the news agency cited Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-Jae as telling lawmakers. The JoongAng Ilbo daily reported unnamed South Korean government official as saying “We are trying to figure out whether it is a genuine preparation for a nuclear test or just a ploy to heap more pressure on us and the U.S.,” according to AFP.
The test launch of the medium-range missiles the North recently deployed to the Sea of Japan could come as early as April 15, the birthday of North Korea’s founding father Kim Il-Sung. The U.S. on Saturday postponed a planned inter-continental ballistic missile test over concerns it could be “misconstrued” and exacerbate the already heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
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