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Barack Obama headed to Seoul Friday on the second leg of a tour of Asia, as new satellite images suggested North Korea was defiantly readying to stage a nuclear test. Pyongyang's apparent push could further complicate his visit to a country raw with emotion, where around 300 people are dead or missing after a ferry carrying hundreds of school children capsized last week. The US president is expected to offer personal condolences to his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-Hye over the tragedy, but the nation's unpredictable neighbour is set to dominate the agenda. Satellite photos taken just two days ago showed additional activity at the Punggye-ri test site that is "probably related to preparations for a detonation," the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said.