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S. Korea sees no sign of imminent rocket launch by N. Korea

The Unification Ministry said Friday there has been no indication of an imminent rocket launch by North Korea amid a report that some movement was detected near the North's launch site.

Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper said that South Korea, the United States and Japan have identified the movement of a freight train toward a rocket launching site in Dongchang-ri on the North's west coast.

The train appeared to have moved from a factory in Pyongyang, but what was loaded on the train has not been confirmed, it reported.

Jeong Joon-hee, ministry spokesman, said that South Korea and the U.S. are closely monitoring the North's possible rocket launch around the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party, which falls on Oct. 10.

"The two allies are closely watching the situation, but there has been no sign of the North's provocations so far," Jeong said at a regular press briefing.

Jeong also called on North Korea not to make provocations, saying that the North's rocket launch would be a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions banning North Korea's missile and nuclear tests.

"Any launch of projectiles by North Korea using ballistic missile technology violates relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions," he said. "We urge North Korea to join efforts to promote peace for Northeast Asia and the world."

Also refuting the news report, Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok indicated that the train activity may be part of usual train movements taking place in North Korea.

"There's currently no symptoms of an imminent long-range rocket launch," Kim said, adding that the train has seemingly nothing to do with launch preparations.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong told the U.N. General Assembly that North Korea has "a steadfast resolve" to safeguard its dignity by responding "strongly" to any move against the North's "peaceful satellite launch."

"Our development of outer space for peaceful purposes is a legitimate right of a sovereign state," Ri said during his speech on Thursday. "Our nuclear test is a self-defense measure to cope with the hostile policy and nuclear threats of the U.S." (Yonhap)