PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - A South Korean Defense Ministry official says North Korea has completed preparations for a missile test that could come any day.
The warning Wednesday came as Pyongyang prepared to mark the April 15 birthday of its founder Kim Il Sung, historically a time when it seeks to draw the world's attention with dramatic displays of military power.
In Pyongyang, however, the focus was more on beautifying the city ahead of the nation's biggest holiday. Soldiers hammered away on construction projects and gardeners got down on their knees to plant flowers and trees.
The official in Seoul said the North's military is capable of conducting multiple missile launches involving Scud and medium-range Rodong missiles, as well as a missile transported to the east coast recently.
He spoke on condition of anonymity.
An unidentified spokesman for Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry said the North will exercise its right for "pre-emptive nuclear strikes on the headquarters of the aggressors" because Washington is pushing to start a nuclear war against the North.
Such inflammatory rhetoric is common from North Korea. But it has been coming regularly in recent days. North Korea is angry over the possible sanctions and over upcoming U.S.-South Korean military drills.
South Korea's presidential security adviser Chun Yung-woo says Tuesday's nuclear test has been confirmed and that it cannot be tolerated. He provided no details on how Seoul confirmed the test.
A nuclear test could take North Korea closer to its goal of building a nuclear warhead that can be mounted on a long-range missile.