North Korea Prepares for Possible Missile Launch

By Reuters
November 15,2015
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Missiles are taken on trucks past a stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during the parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang October 10, 2015. REUTERS/James Pearson

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea has declared a no-sail zone off its east coast in a sign it could be preparing a missile launch, Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday.

The warning covers all movement of ships from Nov. 11 to Dec. 7 for an area off the North's central coast, the agency said, quoting an unnamed government source.

"We are observing closely whether North Korea will launch a Scud missile or a new model of ballistic missile because the area under the warning is quite vast," a government source was quoted as saying by Yonhap.

The Scud is a short-range missile initially developed by the Soviet Union.

South Korea's defence ministry declined to confirm whether a no-sail warning had been issued.

The prohibited area is near the eastern port city of Wonsan where leader Kim Jong Un's family compounds are located, according to media reports.

The North has previously declared a no-sail zone without launching a missile. The country is under U.N. sanctions for its previous ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests.

(Reporting by Hooyeon Kim; Editing by Stephen Coates)