Increased movement of personnel and vehicles has been detected in North Korea’s main missile launch site, indicating preparations for a long-range missile launch in the near future, Yonhap news agency reported on Friday. Yonhap quoted a senior South Korean official as saying that moves in North Korea’s Tongchanr-ri missile base have remarkably increased recently, noting that strategic provocations, including a long-range missile launch, seemed to have been prepared, Xinhua news reported.
South Korea’s military has estimated that Pyongyang could conduct another provocation on or around October 10 to mark the 71st anniversary of the foundation day of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). On September 20, the military said North Korea conducted a ground test of a new rocket engine that could be used for a long-range missile.
It believed that Pyongyang may have enhanced the jet capability of its high-powered rocket engine based on North Korea’s state media report. North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said top North Korean leader Kim Jong-un guided the test of “a new type high-powered engine of a carrier rocket for geo-stationary satellite” at the Sohae Space Centre in the country’s west coast.
The state media said it was a great success. The Sohae centre is dubbed in South Korea as Tongchanr-ri rocket base, where North Korea launched a long-range rocket in February and had conducted other rocket tests. Another South Korean government official was quoted as saying that it remained uncertain whether North Korea would test-launch a long-range missile boosted by the new rocket unveiled on September 20, but he said South Korea is closely watching the launch site’s moves with all possibilities being open.