South Korea seeks bigger warheads, North Korean ICBM reportedly on the move

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea said on Tuesday an agreement with the United States to scrap a weight limit on its warheads would help it respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat after it conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test two days ago.

South Korean officials believe more weapons tests by the reclusive state are possible, despite international outrage over Sunday’s nuclear test and calls for more sanctions against it.

South Korea’s Asia Business Daily, citing an unidentified source, reported that North Korea had been observed moving a rocket that appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) towards its west coast.

The rocket started moving on Monday and was spotted moving only at night to avoid surveillance, the newspaper said.

South Korea’s defense ministry, which warned on Monday that North Korea was ready to launch an ICBM at any time, said it was not able to confirm the report.

Analysts and South Korean policymakers believe North Korea may test another weapon on or around Sept. 9, when it celebrates its founding day.

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North Korea releases photo that appears to show new missile plan
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North Korea releases photo that appears to show new missile plan
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un gives field guidance during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un gives field guidance during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un looks on during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un looks on during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un gives field guidance during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un looks on during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un looks on during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
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North Korea’s fifth nuclear test fell on that date last year, reflecting its tendency to conduct weapons tests on significant dates.

North Korea says it needs to develop its weapons to defend itself against what it sees as U.S. aggression.

South Korea, after weeks of rising tension, is talking to the United States about deploying aircraft carriers and strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula, and has been ramping up its own defenses.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, agreed on Monday to scrap a warhead weight limit on South Korea’s missiles, South Korea’s presidential office said, enabling it to strike North Korea with greater force in the event of war.

The White House said Trump gave “in-principle approval” to the move.

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Anti-terror drills in South Korea
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Anti-terror drills in South Korea
A soldier stands guard during an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Soldiers participate in an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Police officers wearing gas masks participate in an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A passenger takes a photograph of police officers wearing gas masks during an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A soldier stands guard during an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Police officers wearing gas masks take part in an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. North Korea warned the U.S. on Tuesday it will face 'merciless revenge' for ignoring Pyongyangs warnings over annual military drills with South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A South Korean policeman takes part in an anti-terror drill as part of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise in Seoul, South Korea August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Members of Special Weapon and Tactics (SWAT) take part in an anti-terror drill as a part of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise in Seoul, South Korea, August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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