Monday, June 8, 2009

Wire: North Korea Warns of More Missiles as Tensions Mount

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2009 -- Newswire services this morning reported that North Korea has warned fishermen and boat captains to stay away from the country's east coast, Japan's coast guard said Monday, in another sign the communist regime is planning to fire more missiles after its recent nuclear test.

Pyongyang also threatened Monday to retaliate with a "super hard-line" response if sanctions were imposed, the Associated Press noted.

North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said Pyongyang "has made clear many times that we will consider any sanction a declaration of war and will take due corresponding self-defense measures." The commentary carried by the official Korean Central News Agency did not elaborate.

AP reported the following details:
On Monday, Japan's coast guard said it picked up a North Korean radio signal banning ships from waters off Wonsan from June 10-30. South Korean media have reported since last week that the North is planning to fire several medium-range missiles from the eastern coastal city of Anbyon near Wonsan.

Seoul's mass-circulation JoongAng Ilbo newspaper said Monday that there have been brisk movements of up to six vehicles mounted with mobile missile launchers at Anbyon over the past week.

But the Yonhap news agency cited an unidentified military official Monday as saying that the latest no-sail zone appears to be a move aimed at firing short-range, ground-to-ship missiles, and not necessarily medium-range missile preparations.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff declined to confirm the report.
Furthering already strained relations, Pyongyang on Monday handed down 12-year prison sentences to two U.S. journalists, convicting them of hostility toward the country and illegally crossing the border. The reporters were arrested March 17 near the North's border with China while researching a story.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday Washington is considering adding North Korea back to a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

This is a developing story.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: North Korea bans ships from coastal waters

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