Wire: North Korea Responds to Obama Warning on Rocket Launch
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, April 2, 2009 -- Newswires reported late today that U.S. and South Korea Thursday warned North Korea not to proceed with a planned satellite launch, as Pyongyang threatened a “fiery bolt of retaliatory lightning” if Japan tried to shoot down the rocket.
North Korea says it will launch a satellite between April 4 and 8. The U.S., South Korea and Japan say the launch -- even if the missile carries a satellite -- would breach a United Nations resolution passed after North Korea tested a long-range Taepodong-2 rocket without advance warning in 2006, according to a report by financial news outlet FT.com.
FT.com also reported the following news:
Barack Obama, U.S. president, and Lee Myung-bak, South Korea’s president, agreed after their G20 meeting in London on the need for a “unified” international response if Pyongyang carried out the launch. South Korea said Mr Lee wanted a “stern response.”This is a developing story.
While North Korea says the missile – which satellite imagery shows on the launch pad at Musudan-ri will carry a communications satellite, the US and its Asian allies see the launch as a pretext to test the Taepodong-2. When North Korea first tested the intercontinental ballistic missile, which has the ability to reach the continental US, in 2006 it failed shortly after launch.
The U.S. has sent navy ships to the region that could be used in any attempt to shoot down the missile. In an interview with the Financial Times, Robert Gates, U.S. defence secretary, said he was “pretty confident that this is a space shot, a satellite shot” .
“If it is a space shot – and we will know that pretty early on after launch – then there would be no need [to shoot it down],” said Mr Gates. “Our concern is principally if it does go astray, or is some kind of a failure, that looks like it is potentially a danger to Japan or to Hawaii, that we would contemplate doing something.”
Tokyo has deployed anti-missile forces created after the 1998 Taepodong “shock” when Pyongyang fired an earlier version of its missile over Japan in what it claimed was an effort to put a satellite into orbit.
(Report from a commercial news media source.)
Source: N Korea warned over missile launch
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