|06-20-2006, 03:56 PM||#1 (permalink)|
AKA: Chief Muppet
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Great Britain
N Korea ready to test missile, say US and Japan
By Richard Spencer in Beijing
America and Japan reported yesterday that North Korea was in the final stages of preparations for a long-range missile test - and warned that they would retaliate if it were carried out.
Satellite pictures have shown a missile being put into position at a launch pad in the north east of the country. Sources in South Korea said it had been loaded with fuel.
The North's reclusive dictatorship is thought to have been developing a long-range version of its Taepodong missile. An earlier version was fired over Japan and into the Pacific in 1998. It is feared that the Taepodong II is intended to be able to reach Alaska or the west coast of America, although it is not clear how successful the development has been.
Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said last night that any missile launch would be a "very serious matter" and a "provocative act". Thomas Schieffer, the American ambassador to Japan, said "sanctions would have to be considered but I would not want to describe what actions we might take," raising the prospect of a referral to the UN Security Council.
Japanese officials said at the weekend that, if the test missile landed in Japan, it would be considered as an attack. The prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, said yesterday: "We are making efforts to urge North Korea to act rationally. If it does not listen to us and fires a missile, we will have to consult with the US and take stern measures."
The crisis has ended any talk of a resumption of negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme - possibly its aim.
|japan, korea, missile, ready, test|
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