North Korea keeps Seoul, US on edge

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Seoul: North Korea kept the world on edge on Thursday over an expected missile launch while turning its own energies to celebrating its past and present leaders amid soaring tensions on the Korean peninsula.
The United States warned North Korea that it was skating a “dangerous line” as South Korea remained on heightened alert for any missile test, that could start a whole new cycle of tensions in a region already on a hair-trigger.
The North’s state media however focused its attention on Thursday’s first anniversary of new leader Kim Jong-Un becoming head of the ruling Worker’s Party and next Monday’s birthday celebrations for late founder Kim Il-Sung.
Meanwhile, the North has been repeatedly moving multiple missiles around in an apparent bid to confuse outside intelligence gatherers ahead of an expected launch, Yonhap reported.
According to intelligence analysis cited by the South Korean news agency, two mid-range Musudan missiles have been repeatedly moved in and out of a warehouse facility on its east coast. At the same time, at least five mobile launch vehicles have also been spotted swapping places and positions. “There are signs the North could fire off Musudan missiles any time soon,” an intelligence source told Yonhap.
“But the North has been repeatedly moving its missiles in and out of a shed, which needs close monitoring.”
Another source suggested Pyongyang was hoping to “fatigue” South Korean and US intelligence gatherers who have been on a heightened state of surveillance alert since Wednesday. In order to counter a North attack US has placed a radar to monitor a launch.
A powerful US military sea-based radar is now in place to detect any possible missile launches by North Korea, according to a senior US defense official.
“The SBX is in position,” the defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP late Wednesday.
The official would not offer more details but confirmed the SBX, a floating X-band radar that resembles a giant golf ball, had reached a location at sea where it could track missiles fired by the North.
The United States has already bolstered its missile defenses in the region to help protect allies South Korea and Japan as well as US bases in Guam.
Two US Arleigh-class destroyers have been sent to the western Pacific with anti-missile weaponry while ground-based  interceptor batteries had been deployed to Guam which is  on high alert.
S. Korea urges talks on Kaesong
South Korea on Thursday called for negotiations with North Korea on the future of the Kaesong joint industrial zone, which Pyongyang has threatened to shut down permanently after suspending operations. “Normalisation of the Kaesong industrial complex must be solved through dialogue,” the South’s unification minister Ryoo Kihl-Jae said.
“I urge North Korea to come to the dialogue table.” Pyongyang announced the withdrawal of its 53,000 workers and the suspension of operations at Kaesong at the beginning of the week, as military tensions on the Korean peninsula soared.
South Korea’s new President Park Geun-Hye described the suspension of operations as “very disappointing” but the North on Thursday said her administration was personally responsible.  

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