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North Korea could launch a ballistic missile Thursday to mark the anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War.
Politics

North Korea missile test imminent say Washington, Seoul

Launch may come Thursday to mark anniversary of Korean War 'victory'

SEOUL -- The U.S. and South Korea are watching Pyongyang closely amid signs that North Korea may launch another ballistic missile as early as Thursday local time.

A July 27 launch would coincide with the 64th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War, a date that North Korea celebrates as Victory Day. Pyongyang held a national meeting Wednesday for the occasion, the Korean Central News Agency reported.

Defense Minister Pak Yong Sik declared that if North Korea's "enemies" continue to consider a pre-emptive nuclear strike, Pyongyang will "mount the most telling pre-emptive nuclear attack on the heart of the American empire without any warning."

Seoul and Washington have combined their surveillance capabilities to "closely track and monitor" the situation, a spokesperson for South Korea's Unification Ministry said Wednesday.

A U.S. defense official said North Korean equipment for a missile launch arrived recently in the city of Kusong, American broadcaster CNN reported Monday.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency said Wednesday that the government's authorities think such a test likely will involve an intermediate-range missile or an intercontinental ballistic missile of the sort launched July 4.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in's administration has proposed holding bilateral military talks Thursday in the demilitarized zone on easing border tensions, as a first step toward North-South dialogue. Pyongyang has yet to respond to the offer. If the answer turns out to be a missile test that day, Seoul may be forced to rethink its approach.

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