After over two long months of being silent in their missile testing efforts, North Korea may be gearing up for another one.
A source from the Japanese government said on Tuesday that Japan has detected new radio signals that suggest North Korea may be preparing for a fresh new round of missile testing, Reuters reported. The source noted, however, that the signals do not definitively say when the launching will take place.
"This is not enough to determine (if a launch is likely soon)," explained the source. Last Monday, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported that the government was on alert after detecting the signals. Moreover, the report suggested that the signals may have a connection to the North Korean military's winter training efforts.
Moreover, the Yonhap news agency of South Korea also reported that intelligence officials from South Korea, Japan, and the United States had also detected signs of an imminent missile launch from North Korea. South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, on the other hand, said that though there was "noteworthy" movement from North Korea in the two-month long silence, there is nothing concrete that points to another missile testing in the horizon.
"North Korea hasn't been engaging in new nuclear or missile tests but recently we've seen them persistently testing engines and carrying out fuel tests," said Cho.
Earlier this month, the Daily Star reported that North Korea has not fired a single missile since early September. The country's apparent inactivity sparked rumors and speculations that dictator Kim Jong-un was gravely ill. The report said that there had been claims that Kim was suffering from a myriad of illnesses that include heart disease, diabetes, gout, and hypertension.
In addition, The Guardian also noted that South Korean intelligence reports said that Kim has gained around 40 kilograms after rising to power in 2013. He has also been drinking and eating a lot, which was the North Korean leader's way of dealing with stress and fear of assassination, the report added.