10/09/2008, 00.00
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Pyongyang ready to launch up to ten missiles

South Korean media report North Korea’s intentions. South Korean armed forces go on alert as North Korea bans shipping near Chodo until 15 October. Experts exclude Pyongyang can deploy missiles with nuclear warheads.
Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – North Korea has deployed more than 10 missiles on its west coast for what appears to be a series of test-launches, South Korean media reported. South Korean armed forces have been placed on alert.

The North has banned all shipping in the Chodo area in the Yellow Sea until 15 October in preparation for the launch.

North Korea is thought to have fired at least one short-range missile two days ago.

Intelligence sources report that Pyongyang is preparing to launch five to seven missiles.

The Chosun Ilbo newspaper said that tests will involve the KN-01, which has a range of 110-120 km (70-75 miles), and the Styx whose range is 46-50 km (28-31 miles).

All this extraordinary activity is taking place a few days after US negotiators tried to jumpstart talks with North Korea over a plan whereby the Communist nation would abandon its nuclear programme in exchange of economic assistance.

In the past North Korea has often used missile launches in moments of tensions to show the world its resolve and willingness to take a hard line.

In 2006 Pyongyang launched some missiles, including long range, as well as tested a nuclear device.

For now experts remain convinced that Pyongyang cannot test nuclear warheads on missiles.

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