Japan warns N.Korea amid signs missile test imminent

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan warned North Korea on Sunday of "a harsh response" from Tokyo and Washington if it fired a long-range missile, as media reports suggested that the secretive state could be hours away from a test launch.

    Foreign Minister Taro Aso said in a television interview that Japan would seek an immediate meeting of the U.N. Security Council if Pyongyang went ahead with an intercontinental ballistic missile test.

    He voiced concern about the possibility of a missile dropping on Japan, but toned down a remark made in an earlier interview that Japan would automatically regard this as an attack.

    "We will not right away view it as a military act," he said.

    A Japanese government official was quoted by the Japanese daily Sankei Shimbuna as saying that North Korea had told its people to raise the national flag at 2:00 pm (0500 GMT) on Sunday and to then monitor television for a "message to the people."

    CBS News reported that South Korea's ambassador to the United States, Lee Tae-sik, had told Korean correspondents in Washington that North Korea may have fueled the missile already.

    "Satellite photos confirmed scores of fuel tanks near the missile launch pad. We are not sure whether they had already completed fuelling or located (the tanks) there to fuel it," Lee was quoted as saying.

    Aso stopped short of saying what Japan and the United States would do in the event of a launch.

    But he said: "The responses will be rather harsh."

    South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted diplomatic sources in Seoul as saying a missile test could come on Sunday or Monday.


    The reports of test preparations have come as six-country talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programs are stalemated and international attention has shifted to concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

    Some U.S. analysts believe North Korea, feeling ignored and angered at a U.S. crackdown that has frozen hard currency income from alleged illegal activities like counterfeiting, will carry out the test.

    Many experts have said North Korea has missiles that can hit all of South Korea and probably all of Japan.

    It has been modernizing its arsenal and trying to improve problems with accuracy, but it lacks an operational missile that can hit the continental United States, the California-based Center for Nonproliferation Studies said in a recent report.

    A launch would almost certainly involve a Taepodong-2 missile with an estimated range of 3,500 to 4,300 km (2,175 to 2,670 miles), U.S. officials have said.

    North Korea shocked the world in 1998 when it fired a Taepodong-1 missile, part of which flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean.

    Pyongyang, which maintains the 1998 launch involved a rocket designed to send a satellite into orbit, promised in 1999 to adhere to a moratorium on ballistic missile launches.

    Japanese news agency Kyodo said on Saturday North Korea may try to deflect international criticism by saying it had put a satellite into orbit after carrying out a missile test.

    (Additional reporting by Kim So-young in SEOUL and George Nishiyama in TOKYO)
  2. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    This will be "interesting".....

    Lots of 'sabre rattling' going on..... guess we'll know soon enough if its tommorrow or Monday....

    Wonder what the Asian Markets will do tomorrow.....
  3. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    That's getting close, isn't it?
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