North Korea warned over 'provocative' test


For a Free Scotland
TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- The United States and Japan urged North Korea not to proceed with reported plans to test-fire a long-range missile that could reach the U.S. mainland, saying Saturday that a launch would be dangerous and provocative.

But North Korean officials later denied such preparations, the Kyodo News agency reported, citing a South Korean official it did not identify.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso met Saturday night amid mounting speculation the North could soon test a Taepodong-2 missile capable of reaching the United States with a light payload.

After the meeting, Schieffer reiterated Washington's stance that the test would be a dangerous act that would hurt North Korean interests. The North has been under a self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile tests since 1999.

"We hope that the North Koreans will not take this provocative action. We hope that they will return to the six-party talks," Schieffer said, referring to international talks aiming to get North Korea to give up its nuclear program.

Those talks -- involving the United States, the two Koreas, China, Japan and Russia -- have been stalled by a North Korean boycott.

A launch "will only isolate the North Koreans further from the rest of the international community," he said.

Schieffer said Washington was working with allies on how to respond if North Korea goes ahead with the launch, but he refused to be specific, saying only that "all options are on the table."

Japan and the U.S. may seek an immediate reaction from the U.N. Security Council if North Korea fires a long-range missile, Kyodo reported on Sunday.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said a North Korean missile launch would violate a moratorium on long-range missile tests declared in 1999 by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

"This would be yet another instance of North Korea violating the international commitments it has made," she said.

Aso told reporters that the situation was "serious" and that North Korea had been warned not to fire the missile. "How we will respond depends on what North Korea does," he said.

Japan has grown increasingly tense as news reports emerge that Pyongyang could soon launch the missile. North Korea fired a missile over northern Japan into the Pacific Ocean in 1998, and the move spurred Tokyo to work with Washington on a missile defense system.

A U.S. government official told The Associated Press on Friday that a test of the Taepodong-2 may be imminent. The Washington official agreed to speak but only on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported Saturday that North Korea also moved about 10 fuel tanks to the launch site in preparation for the test.

It said intelligence authorities from Seoul and Washington had made the assessment, based on satellite images, that the North had loaded booster rockets onto a launch pad and moved the fuel tanks close by. The paper quoted an unidentified high-level South Korean government official.

Japan's conservative daily Sankei reported that the North Korean government has ordered its people to raise the national flag at 2 p.m. Sunday (5 a.m. GMT) and to watch a state message on television in the late afternoon.

Sankei, citing government officials it did not name, said the Japanese government had dispatched two Aegis destroyers to the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. Hidetsugu Iwamasa, a Japanese naval official, said he could not comment on the report, citing security concerns.

North Korea plans to disguise the missile test as an attempt to put a satellite into orbit, Kyodo reported Saturday. Pyongyang has been calculating an orbit for a fake satellite and plans to announce its trajectory after firing the missile, Kyodo reported from Beijing, citing military intelligence officials it did not identify.

North Korea said in 1998 that its launch then was an effort to put a satellite in space, but Washington and Tokyo say that is just a cover for a military program.

I'm torn about this. Do you think this is the U.S and Japan being paranoid regarding their surroundings, or is North Korea at fault? Any ideas on how to rectify the situation?


Well, thier nukes are the only reason the US isn't destablizing the nation furthur or invading it. Thus, it is only logical for them to keep developing nukes and missiles. End of story, until the US has a competent anti-missile system (although, I personally think it is *possible* it really is successful, but the real program is kept under wraps), then N. Korea starts getting more desperate, but their having artillery and Surface to Surface missiles holding a good chunk of S. Korea ready to be demolished at a moment's notice is probably enough.

Time, and trying to get them to voluntarily cooperate, is the only good option.

We have every reason to be paranoid... they're developing weapons that can hurt us. But then... we have equally powerful (actually, probably much MORE powerful weapons) at our desposal, and it's hypocritical of us to say that we can have them but they can't.


I don't see why we should be paranoid at all... So long as we don't invade them or whatnot, they won't launch because we'd nuke them out of existance.



Nefarious Kaizoku Capt'n
It seems like to me if Japan and U.S don't have a country that is breaking from under their Iron Fist...they freak out. If NK wanted to launch a Satellite in to space then let them do it, they wouldn't have put it as a cover up is Japan and US didn't restrict people from doing what they want to do as long as it's not dangerous. Plus if NK does it or plans to do it then there's probably gonna be a fight to add to the already chaotic disasters >>;