Tokyo, April 13 (IANS) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday said North Korea may already have the ability to fire ballistic missiles equipped with sarin nerve agent.
His warning came amid looming concern about another missile or nuclear test by the communist country, reported Nikkei Asian Review.
Abe, while addressing the Japanese Parliament's diplomacy and defence committee, said North Korea's nuclear and missile technologies are making progress and labelled the situation "a new stage of threat".
"The denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula is our biggest goal and must be achieved at any cost. The security situation around our country is getting increasingly severe," said the Prime Minister.
"We have just talked about Syria. There is a possibility that North Korea already has a capability to put sarin on warheads to strike the ground," he said.
Abe did not provide any evidence why he felt North Korea had the capability to equip missiles with chemical weapons, said the report.
Meanwhile, a Washington-based think tank 38 North, that monitors North Korea, said satellite images taken on Wednesday showed continued activity around the Punggye-ri nuclear test site on the east coast, Efe news reported.
Experts have warned of continued activity in Punggye-ri for weeks and fear North Korea may soon carry out its sixth nuclear test, especially as important events are approaching with the country celebrating the fifth anniversary of leader Kim Jong-un's transition to power.
In addition, the country will commemorate the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il-sung, on Saturday and the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army on April 25.
These celebrations coincide with increased tension in the peninsula after the US responded to the latest North Korean missile launch by sending a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier towards the peninsula, said the report.