Seoul remains vigilant over growing signs of North Korea missile launch

South Korean military is closely watching movement in North Korea to check for any provocative act.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hosts banquet for ICBM developersReuters

South Korean authorities said its military forces remain vigilant over a possible missile launch from North Korea. The alert has come amid growing concerns that reclusive nation could be preparing for yet another missile test anytime in the near future.

American officials suspect the North could conduct a test as vehicles carrying ballistic missiles were spotted on Friday, 21 July. The vehicles were seen arriving at Kusong, a US Defense Department official told the CNN.

Responding to the latest development, South Korea, which is a close ally of the US, said it is also keeping an eye on any missile activity in the neighbouring nation. However, Seoul officials have said they would not disclose specifics related the alleged missile movement.

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"Our military is closely monitoring (North Korea's move) through the integrated operation of South Korea-US combined surveillance assets against the possibility of North Korea's various provocations," Army Colonel Roh Jae-cheon, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), told reporters.

There is speculation that the North could launch a ballistic missile on Thursday, 27 July as it is the 64<sup>th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement. The country is known to carry out provocative acts on major occasions.

Incidentally, the South gave 27 July as a deadline for its talks offer to expire – the inter-Korean dialogue invitation for which Pyongyang is yet to respond.

"Our military is exploring various methods to cope more efficiently with North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile threats" insisted South Korean defence ministry spokesman, Moon Sang-gyun.

North Korea has fired several missiles at various strike range in the past few months, with the latest one launched on the US Independence Day. Following the test-firing of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the reclusive North Korean regime promised to conduct more such launches.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un celebrating the successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed locationSTR/AFP/Getty Images

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