Some missile movements have been detected in the North fanning fears that the rogue state could fire off a missile sometime soon while satellite imagery by a U.S. research institute shows construction at a closed plutonium reactor.
For the details on these latest developments out of North Korea and more, our Ji Myung-kil joins us from the newscenter.
Myung-kil let's start with the construction at the shuttered plutonium reactor.
The U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies reported on its website, "38 North" that it has analyzed recent satellite imagery and detected new construction activities at the 5-Megawatt nuclear reactor at Yongbyon for a six-week period from February to the end of March.
In satellite imagery taken February 7th, no construction activity is seen near the reactor site but in the imagery from March 27th, construction has begun along the roadway and toward the back of the reactor building.
The speculation is that the North is following up on the threats it made earlier this week to reactivate nuclear facilities that were disabled back in 2007.
They'll need to restore a secondary cooling system to do that, and it's believed the North is trying to speed up the process by connecting the old cooling system to an experimental light water reactor that's located next to the old reactor instead of building a new cooling tower altogether.y
If they're successful, some experts think the plant could be up and running in a matter of weeks, not months.
When operational, the 5-Megawatt reactor is capable of producing six kilograms of plutonium per year.
Some movements were also detected on the military front as well, in the North.
A disclosure of a missile?
South Korea's defense minister Kim Kwan-jin confirmed Thursday that North Korea has moved a missile with considerable range to the eastern coast of the peninsula.
Kim says the reason for the movement is unknown, but that it could be for testing or drills.
Seoul-based Yonhap News, citing government sources in Seoul said, the rocket on the move is a Musudan-type mid-range missile that could reach as far as 3-thousand kilometers, meaning it could strike South Korea or Japan.y
The defense chief added that although all-out war is unlikely, the possibility of local provocations does exist and said the South Korean military remains on heightened military alert.