Amid reports that North Korea is making preparations for a mid-range missile launch, South Korea has raised its alert to "vital threat." The rogue state's neighbour has also increased its surveillance monitoring status (alongside the U.S.) to Watchcon 2, and its police alert from "attention" to "caution."
The test launch is thought to be of a Musudan missile, also known as the Taepodong-X or Nodong B, and which has a range of around 2,000 miles. Japan is also on "high alert", with anti-missile defences deployed in Tokyo. Residents of Yokohama were in for a shock when town officials tweeted news of an incoming missile attack by mistake. The @yokohama_sagai account's 40,000 followers received a correction to "North Korea has launched a missile" 20 minutes later.
China has suspended tourist travel to North Korea. Commercial travel, however, is unaffected.
Seoul also this morning accused the North of being behind last month's cyber attack, which affected banks and TV stations in South Korea. Although it initially pointed the finger at Pyongyang, it retracted the allegations a few days later.
Any missile activity from Kim Jong Un's regime would be seen as being in breach of sanctions, which were imposed last month by the U.N. North Korean state news last month reported that the military had put its long-range missiles on standby,
[Image by Flickr user (stephan)]