South Korea spy agency sees possibility of new North Korean missile test: Yonhap

North Korea's nuclear testing site in the northwestern town of Punggye-ri could have been damaged by its sixth and largest nuclear test in September.
North Korea's nuclear testing site in the northwestern town of Punggye-ri could have been damaged by its sixth and largest nuclear test in September. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (REUTERS, AFP) - North Korea may possibly carry out a new missile test, as brisk activity has been spotted at its research facilities, South Korea's spy agency said on Thursday (Nov 2), the South's Yonhap News Agency reported.

The North's nuclear testing site in the northwestern town of Punggye-ri could have been damaged by its sixth and largest nuclear test in September, Yonhap added, citing the spy agency.

“There is a possibility that North Korea will launch a missile as active movements of vehicles have been detected at a missile research facility in Pyongyang,” the National Intelligence Service told a closed-door parliamentary audit, Yonhap reported. 

In July Pyongyang launched two ICBMs apparently capable of reaching the US mainland – described by leader Kim Jong Un as a gift to “American bastards” - and followed up with two missiles that passed over Japan and its sixth nuclear test, sending tensions rocketing. 

Trump and Kim have engaged in a heated war of words in recent months, trading threats and personal insults and heightening global alarm. 

The US president will arrive in Seoul on Tuesday as part of his Asia tour which also includes Japan, China, Vietnam and the Philippines, with all eyes on his message to Kim and the North. 

Amid a flurry of diplomatic visitors to the region, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that Pyongyang’s weapons ambitions have become a “global threat”, with the US mainland and Europe coming within reach of its missiles. 

“I think we all understand that a war will be catastrophic and extremely dangerous not only for people living in this region but for global peace and security,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Seoul.  But the 29-nation defence alliance was “always ready to respond and to counter any attack from any direction”, he added.

“That’s the way Nato has handled ballistic threats for decades.” It was important not to dramatise the tensions and create a “more challenging situation”, he said.