Pattaya Daily News

06 July 2006 :: 16:07:32 pm 33137

North Korea Launches Missiles

North Korea defied the rest of the world yesterday by launching seven missiles over the course of the day. North Korea test-fired seven missiles over the Sea of Japan on Wednesday morning, including an intercontinental missile that apparently failed or was aborted 42 seconds after it was launched, White House and Pentagon officials said.
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  The small barrage of launchings, which took place over several hours, came in defiance of warnings from President Bush and the governments of China, South Korea and Japan. Of the launchings, which were condemned by the United States and Japan, intelligence officials focused most of their attention on the intercontinental missile, called the Taepodong 2, which American spy satellites have been watching on a remote launching pad for more than a month.

   The long range missile was designed to be capable of reaching Alaska, and possible the West Coast of North America. However, American officials who were tracking the missile watched it fall harmlessly into the Sea of Japan.

    The missiles have been the source of considerable diplomatic tension in recent weeks, because of North Korea‘s declarations that it already possesses nuclear weapons. American intelligence agencies have told President Bush they believe the North has produced enough fuel for six or more weapons, but it is unclear whether they have actually used it to make nuclear devices.

   None of the launchings were announced in advance. But the first came just minutes after the space shuttle Discovery lifted off in Florida — an event the North Koreans could monitor on television. Administration officials said they could only speculate as to whether the missile launching had been timed to coincide with the shuttle launching, or with Independence Day, but outside analysts had little doubt.

   Ambassadors from the 15 countries on the UN Security Council met Wednesday in an emergency meeting to discuss a response. Japan said it was considering calling for sanctions against North Korea in a UN resolution, while China‘s ambassador indicated that Beijing would favour a much weaker council statement.

   Reports out of America today have stated that it expects North Korea to attempt more missile launches. South Korea has confirmed that the North has three or four more missiles on launch pads. These are apparently short or medium-range missiles.

   U.S. President George W. Bush spoke by phone to Japan‘s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and they agreed to co-operate in pushing for a UN resolution to impose sanctions on North Korea.

   The Canadian government characterized the tests as a misguided effort at international “brinkmanship.”

   “These missile launches represent a major threat to peace and stability in Northeast Asia and seriously undermine global efforts at halting the development and spread of the means of delivery for weapons of mass destruction,” Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement Wednesday.

   “Such actions can only diminish North Korea‘s security, not enhance it.”

   He went on to say: “This is not the first time the North Korean government has used brinkmanship in an attempt to improve its leverage with the international community. Canada believes that such tactics are counterproductive and ultimately destined to fail.”

   North Korea has remained defiant, with one official arguing it had the right to such launches, raising fears that further firings could follow.

   This is obviously a very volatile global problem, and only time will tell how this situation will play out. But rest assured, if North Korea continues its defiant ways, the 15 countries on the UN Security Council will have to respond, either through diplomatic talks, or worse, through force. Lets all hope for the greater good of the planet, it doesn’t come to the latter.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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