Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

The Jehoshua Novels


North Korea May Be Preparing Missile Launch -Sources

Teruaki Ueno | Tokyo | September 23

Reuters – The United States and Japan have detected signs that North Korea is preparing to launch a ballistic missile capable of reaching almost anywhere in Japan, Japanese government sources said on Thursday.

The preparations were detected after the reclusive communist state refused to take part in a fourth round of six-party talks on ending its nuclear ambitions and said it would never give up its nuclear deterrent.

Tokyo and Washington had detected the signs after analyzing data from reconnaissance satellites and radio traffic, the Japanese government sources said.

North Korean military vehicles, soldiers and possibly missile engineers were converging on several Rodong missile bases in the northeastern part of the isolated communist state, they said.

The signs were first detected on Tuesday, the sources said.

“At this stage we don’t think North Korea’s missile launch is imminent,” one source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “But we still don’t know whether North Korea is serious about missile launches.”

North Korea shocked the world when it fired a missile over Japan in 1998. The test of the Taepodong ballistic missile demonstrated that major population areas, including Tokyo, were within the estimated 600-mile range of the missile.

South Korean Vice Unification Minister Rhee Bong-jo said on Thursday he could not rule out the possibility of North Korea test-firing a missile.

“Activities related to North Korea’s missiles have been detected recently,” Rhee told reporters in Seoul.

“But our assessment is that they are likely part of an annual exercise by a North Korean missile unit,” he said. “We cannot rule out the possibility of a test firing, so South Korean and U.S. authorities are following the indications.”

8 comments to North Korea May Be Preparing Missile Launch -Sources

  • Anonymous

    Wed Sep 22nd, 2004 at 10:45:19 PM CDT (5.00 / 1) #78
    artappraiser (User Info) http://scoop.agonist.org/user/artappraiser/diary
    NK May Be Preparing Missile Launch-Jap. Sources

    North Korea May Be Preparing Missile Launch -Sources
    Reuters
    Wednesday, September 22, 2004; 11:34 PM

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A43561-2004Sep22?language=printer

    TOKYO (Reuters) – The United States and Japan have detected signs that North Korea is preparing to launch a ballistic missile with a range capable of hitting almost all of Japan, Japanese government sources said on Thursday.

    Tokyo and Washington had detected the signs after analyzing data from reconnaissance satellites and radio traffic, the government sources said.

    North Korean military vehicles, soldiers and possibly missile engineers were converging on several Rodong missile bases in the northeastern part of the isolated communist state, they said.

    The signs were first detected on Tuesday, the sources said.

    “At this stage we don’t think North Korea’s missile launch is imminent,” one source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “But we still don’t know whether North Korea is serious about missile launches.”

    North Korea shocked the world when it fired a missile over Japan in 1998. Pyongyang test-fired a Taepodong ballistic missile that passed over Japan, demonstrating that major population areas, including Tokyo, were within the estimated 600 mile range of the missile.

    China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States are trying to persuade the North to ditch its suspected nuclear programs in exchange for security guarantees and energy aid. Pyongyang said last weekend it would never give up its nuclear deterrent.

    A fourth round of talks had originally been scheduled for this month but North Korea has said it sees no point in more negotiations because of what it describes as Washington’s “hostile” policy.

    South Korea’s Vice Unification Minister Rhee Bong-jo said on Thursday he could not rule out the possibility of North Korea test-firing a missile.

    “Activities related to North Korea’s missiles have been detected recently,” Rhee told reporters in Seoul.

    “But our assessment is that they are likely part of an annual exercise by a North Korean missile unit,” he said. “We cannot rule out the possibility of a test firing, so South Korean and U.S. authorities are following the indications.”

    Japan’s defense ministry on Tuesday sent two destroyers — one equipped with an Aegis radar system — and an EP-3 electronic surveillance aircraft to the Sea of Japan to boost its early warning and surveillance abilities in the area, the Japanese government sources said.

    Many of the Rodong missies are stored underground, but there were no signs that liquid fuel had been injected into any of the missiles, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper quoted government sources as saying.

    Yomiuri quoted missile experts as saying it could take up to two weeks to prepare for a launch.

    North Korea is thought to have one or two nuclear bombs, and experts believe that as many as 200 Rodong missiles, which have a range of about 810 miles and are capable of hitting Japan, have been deployed.

    © 2004 Reuters

  • Anonymous

    Thu Sep 23rd, 2004 at 12:02:01 AM CDT (none / 0) #80
    candy (User Info)
    Yomiuri Shimbun article

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/index-e.htm
    Signs indicate

    Yomiuri Shimbun

    Indications that North Korea is preparing to launch a Rodong ballistic missile, which has the range to cover most of the Japanese archipelago, have been observed, government sources reported Wednesday.

    The Defense Agency, after confirming the signs by analyzing data from reconnaissance satellites and radio traffic, dispatched an Aegis-equipped Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer, another destroyer and an EP-3 electronic surveillance aircraft to the Sea of Japan to increase its early warning and surveillance abilities in the area, the sources said.

    A Rodong missile has a range of about 1,300 kilometers and can strike anywhere in Japan with the exception of Okinawa Prefecture and a few remote areas.

    The sources said Tokyo and Washington detected the signs Tuesday afternoon. North Korean military vehicles, soldiers and missile engineers have been converging on several Rodong missile bases mainly in the eastern part of the nation, they said.

    Missile experts say it would several days to two weeks to prepare for an actual launch.

    The Rodong launch bases are surrounded by underground silos containing Taepodong-II ballistic missiles, which have a longer range of 3,500 to 6,000 kilometers. Tokyo and Washington also see a possibility that a Taepodong missile may be launched.

    Rodong missiles, which are liquid-fueled, can be transported on vehicles fitted with launch pads. It is believed that nearly 200 Rodong missiles have been deployed.

    As many of the Rodong missiles were stored underground, they need to be fueled, signs of which have not been observed, and neither have their launch pads been activated, the sources said.

    The Defense Agency, upon receipt of the intelligence regarding a possible launch, on Tuesday night dispatched the Aegis-equipped destroyer Myoko from the MSDF’s Maizuru Base in Kyoto Prefecture, and the destroyer Yudachi from Sasebo Base to the Sea of Japan. It also dispatched an EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft from Kure Base in Hiroshima Prefecture to gather electronic data.

    The agency has been observing movements at the North Korean missile bases around the clock.

    It is the first time the government has observed signs of a possible launch of a North Korean ballistic missile since March 2003, when military vehicles converged on missile bases in the northeastern part of the country. At that time, no missiles were launched.

    North Korea test-launched in August 1988 a Taepodong missile that overflew Japan before plunging into the Pacific Ocean. The following year, the United States and North Korea held high-level talks in Berlin during which Pyongyang agreed to freeze missile experiments in return for Washington lifting economic sanctions against the reclusive country.

    The Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration, concluded in September 2002 between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, stipulated a freeze of missile launches from 2003.

    Therefore, the launch of a Rodong missile, even a test launch, would be a clear violation of the declaration.

  • Anonymous

    Wed Sep 22nd, 2004 at 02:43:22 PM CDT (none / 0) #77
    candy (User Info)
    Fears of nuclear test by North Korea rise

    http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/asia/story/0,4386,273958,00.html?
    SEPT 22, 2004
    Fears of nuclear test by North Korea rise

    Recent blast creates suspicion that Pyongyang may raise the stakes by holding a nuclear test before the US presidential election on Nov 2

    By Joo Sang Min

    SEOUL – A mysterious explosion in North Korea’s remote north-east has sparked fears that the region could be in for an ‘October surprise’ before the US presidential election in November.

    Although the North said the blast was part of demolition work for a hydroelectric project and even led a group of foreign diplomats to the site to prove its case, the incident has led to suspicions that Pyongyang could raise the stakes next month in a bid to gain more concessions from Washington.

    North Korea and the United States are the main protagonists in the long-running nuclear crisis.

    Three rounds of six-party talks have yielded no progress and a fourth round is not likely – at least before the Nov 2 ballot in the US.

    Fears of a nuclear weapons test by the North first arose after a South Korean opposition lawmaker, who attended the US Republican convention this month, said US officials had told him of a possible North Korean nuclear test next month.

    According to Mr Park Jin of the main opposition Grand National Party, the Pentagon might then consider military action against the secretive regime.

    Indeed, Pyongyang is well aware that such an extreme measure could bring the regime into a military showdown with the Pentagon, officials and analysts in South Korea told The Straits Times.

    ‘North Korea is well aware that such a provocation would only bring about a military showdown with the US, putting its regime on thin ice,’ said Mr Yoo Jay Kun of the ruling Uri Party.

    He is chairman of the National Assembly’s defence committee which deals with issues regarding the military and overlooks the Defence Ministry and its subordinate groups.

    Conducting a nuclear test ahead of the US polls would take away the only bargaining chip the reclusive nation still possesses in negotiating for more oil shipments, food aid and security guarantees from the US and the rest of the world.

    Mr Yoo said North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has appeared willing to give up missile and nuclear programmes in exchange for money.

    General Cho Myong Rok, the second-highest ranking military official in the North, once told then US president Bill Clinton in 2000 that North Korea would suspend missile technology sales in return for monetary compensation, Mr Yoo explained.

    Some analysts say the North may stage a provocative act before the US election to harm President George W. Bush’s re-election chances, believing that his Democratic challenger John Kerry would take a more lenient stance towards the North if elected.

    But such talk is rejected by Professor Ryoo Kihl Jae at the Graduate School of North Korean Studies in Kyungnam University.

    ‘Such a provocation will only stir more anti-Pyongyang sentiment among the US public and lead to calls for a pre-emptive strike, even though the possibility of a nuclear weapons test by Pyongyang cannot completely be ruled out yet,’ Prof Ryoo said.

    When Pyongyang sees no signs of a compromise from the Bush administration, Prof Ryoo said the North – short of a nuclear weapons test – could engage in acts such as a missile test or transporting of nuclear materials from one location to another to signal its ability to build nuclear bombs.

    The top US military official in South Korea said there has been no indication the North is planning to conduct a nuclear weapons test.

    As to whether the communist regime has the ability to do so, the US Forces’ Korea commander General Leon LaPorte told reporters last week: ‘Only North Korea could answer that question.’

  • Anonymous

    http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/nation/200409/kt2004092317004911950.htm

    Seoul Alert for Possible NK’s Missile Test

    By Yoo Dong-ho
    Staff Reporter

    South Korea has detected the movements of missile units in North Korea but believes they are part of routine exercises, the Defense Ministry said Thursday.

    “While South Korean intelligence officials, as well as their U.S. counterparts, have `partially’ discerned missile-related movements in the North, there seems to be annual military exercises going on,” ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Nam Dae-youn said at a news conference.

    Nam, however, added that intelligence authorities in South Korea and the U.S are jointly collaborating to closely monitor the communist nation’s moves “because the possibility it could develop into the test-firing of a missile cannot be ignored.”

    The ministry remained tight-lipped about when and where the signs of missile movements were noticed.

    The government’s assessment came in response to a Japanese news report that Tokyo’s security authorities were on alert after detecting indications that Pyongyang might test-fire a missile that could threaten Japan.

    Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Japanese and U.S. intelligence officials have determined from satellite images and other methods that military vehicles, soldiers and missile scientists were converging around multiple Rodong missile launch sites in the North.

    In response, Japan deployed an Aegis-guided destroyer and some intelligence planes, including EP-3, to the East Sea between Japan and the Korean peninsula, according to the paper.

    South Korea’s Defense Ministry, however, declined to confirm the deployment of the Japanese destroyer.

    In 1998, North Korea sent shockwaves through the region by test-firing a missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean, claiming that it was a satellite launch. The communist country has since been suspected of developing longer-range missiles.

    Rodong missiles have a range of up to 1,300 kilometers, a distance that covers most of Japan, except the southernmost island of Okinawa.

    Intelligence officials are also paying keen attention to the possibility of the North test-firing a longer-range Taepodong-2 missile, since a Taepodong launch site is near the Rodong missile sites, the report said.

    Taepodong-2 missiles are believed to be capable of striking targets within a range of 6,000 kilometers, which means they can also hit the far-western parts of the United States, such as Alaska and Hawaii.

    North Korea’s missile development has been regarded as a major threat to regional security, on top of its suspected nuclear weapons programs.

    Pyongyang declared a moratorium on missile tests in September 1999 and in May 2001 extended the moratorium until 2003.

    In a historic summit with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in September 2002, and again in May this year, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il promised to keep the moratorium intact.

    yoodh@koreatimes.co.kr

  • Anonymous

    US warns N. Korea against missile tests  

    24 September 2004 0232 hrs (SST)  
    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/108254/1/.html  

    NEW YORK : US Secretary of State Colin Powell warned North Korea against carrying out any new missile tests, saying Washington would not be intimidated into changing its policy towards the Stalinist state.

    “I think it would be very unfortunate if the North Koreans were to do something like this and break out of the moratorium that they have been following for a number of years,” Powell told reporters in New York.

    News of a possible test emerged from Seoul on Thursday where South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Nam Dae-Yeon said South Korean and US military authorities had recently noticed “missile-related activities” in North Korea.

    “We cannot rule out the possibility of the North test-firing missiles,” Nam said.

    While acknowledging the “strong concerns” that any test would register among North Korea’s neighbours, Powell stressed it would trigger no change in US policy.

    “It would not change our approach to dealing with the North Korea nuclear problem. We would stay very firmly embedded in the six party framework and we would not be intimidated with respect to policy,” Powell said.

    “I think it would be a very troubling matter though, for China and Russia and Japan and South Korea, who are in range of such missiles,” he added.

    Nam said South Korean and US authorities were “closely following” the situation, even as some other South Korean officials suggested that the activities in question might be nothing more than routine military drills.

    “Recently activities related with missiles have been detected and it’s highly likely that it could be a routine and annual exercise,” Vice Unification Minister Rhee Bong-Jo said.

    Yonhap news agency quoted an intelligence source as saying that military vehicles, soldiers and missile experts were converging around a launch site for the North’s Rodong missile which has a range of some 1,300 kilometres (812 miles).

    The source told Yonhap that the test was more likely to be a command post simulation than a real test-firing. North Korea carried out test-firing simulations two years ago.

    In Tokyo the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said US and Japanese authorities had determined from satellite images and radio traffic that North Korea was preparing to launch a Rodong missile.

    Pyongyang stunned the world in August 1998 by test-launching over Japan a Taepodong-1 missile with a range of up to 2,000 kilometers, claiming it was a satellite launch.

    Pyongyang declared a moratorium on missile tests in September 1999 and in May 2001 extended the decision until 2003.

    The cash-strapped country, however, has refused to stop missile exports, a major source of hard currency earnings.

    • AFP
    • US warns N. Korea against missile tests, urges return to nuclear talks  
    • Iran will not give up right to uranium enrichment: Khatami  
    • South Korea opposes debate on its nuclear tests at six-nation talks  
    • UN team in S.Korea as N.Korea vows not to abandon nuclear ambitions  
    • N.Korea vows not to dismantle nuclear weapons over ‘hostile’ US policy  

    Copyright © 2003 MCN International Pte Ltd

    << back to channelnewsasia.com

  • Anonymous

    http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/ap/ap_story.html/Intl/AP.V0801.AP-Japan-NKorea.html

    Japan Now Unsure if N. Korea to Launch
    By MARI YAMAGUCHI
    Associated Press Writer

    TOKYO (AP)–Japan said Thursday it had obtained intelligence indicating that North Korea may be preparing to test fire a short-range missile that could reach most of the main Japanese islands, in what would be the latest provocation from the communist country.

    But on Friday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said the North’s troop movements around missile sites is probably a military exercise rather than preparation for a launch.

    “There are many things needed to launch a missile, but so far we judge that the situation there now is not of that sort,” Hosoda told reporters.

    Hosoda also said Japan believes North Korea would honor a 2002 agreement–called the Pyongyang Declaration–imposing a moratorium on such tests.

    “Therefore, we think this was something more like an exercise,” Hosoda said of the gathering of troops.

    Government officials convened an emergency task-force team in the prime minister’s office after intelligence showed that North Korea appeared to be beefing up troops and equipment around missile launch bases, said Shigemi Terui, spokesman at the prime minister’s office.

    Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi downplayed the news upon his return from an overseas trip, however, saying he did not believe Pyongyang would conduct such a test.

    “I think the chances are low that they will launch a missile,” Koizumi said.

    South Korea said missile-related activities had been detected in the North by the American and South Korean militaries.

    “There is a high possibility that these were part of the annual, routine activities of North Korean missile units,” Rhee Bong-jo, the deputy unification minister, said in Seoul.

    But Nam Dae-Yeon, spokesman of South Korea’s Defense Ministry, said, “We cannot rule out a possibility of a missile launch, so South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities are working closely together to follow the movements.”

    Terui said the task force was gathering more information.

    When North Korea test fired a ballistic Taepodong-1 missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean in 1998, it highlighted its military ambitions and penchant for provocation. The North said it was an attempt to insert a satellite into orbit.

    The unpredictable communist nation also test fired short-range, land-to-ship missiles into the ocean on at least three occasions last year during an international standoff over its nuclear weapons program. The United States and South Korea criticized them as attempts to force Washington into direct negotiations with North Korea about its nuclear weapons program.

    Japan’s daily Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper Thursday reported that officials believed North Korea was preparing to launch either a short-range Nodong missile or a long-range Taepodong.

    Nodong missiles have a range of about 810 miles, while the Taepodong is believed to have a 1,540-mile range. Most of Japan’s four main islands fall within their range.

    The developments come amid troubling signs in recent weeks from the North, whose previous test launches were widely viewed as attempts to gain leverage in rocky nuclear negotiations.

    Angry rhetoric from North Korea’s official media has said Pyongyang could refuse to participate in six-nation talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons development. The next round of talks with the United States, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia were planned for later this month.

    In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan would not confirm the reports of missile-test preparations, but he urged participants in the nuclear talks to avoid provoking one another.

    “The six-party talks are … hitting difficulties now,” Kong said at a regular briefing. “We need to … avoid complicating the situation in the Korean peninsula, so we can prepare for the coming round of talks.”

    Washington wants North Korea to halt its nuclear activities immediately. North Korea says it will freeze its nuclear facilities as a first step toward their eventual dismantling only if the United States lifts economic sanctions and provides energy and economic aid.

  • Anonymous

     
    Pyongyang threatens to turn Japan into a `nuclear sea of fire’

    SEOUL: North Korea threatened on Thursday to turn Japan into a “nuclear sea of fire” if it comes under attack from the United States. “If the United States ignites a nuclear war, the US military bases in Japan would serve as a detonating fuse to turn Japan into a nuclear sea of fire,” the North’s ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in a Korean-language article monitored by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. It was one of the most searing North Korean threats directed against Japan, Yonhap said. The Stalinist North has accused Tokyo of supporting what it sees as a US campaign to isolate it. In an English-language article published by Pyongyang’s official KCNA news agency, Rodong accused the United States of converting Japan into “strategic vantage points” for a pre-emptive attack on North Korea. “It plans to use Japan as an advance base in hurling into the Korean peninsula a task force from its mainland and other areas in case of emergency,” the paper said. Japan and the US, along with the two Koreas, China and Russia have held three rounds of talks on curbing the North’s nuclear weapons drive in return for diplomatic concessions and possible economic aid. afp

     http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_24-9-2004_pg4_4

  • Anonymous

     Danger of North Korea missile launch fading

    Date : 11 October 2004 1314 hrs (SST)  
    URL : http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/111142/1/.html  

    TOKYO: The possibility of North Korea launching a ballistic missile has diminished as activities at missile bases in the Stalinist state were returning to normal, a Japanese press report says.

    As a result, the Japanese destroyer Kongo equipped with an Aegis missile tracking system has been ordered home from the Sea of Japan (East Sea) facing the Korean peninsula, the major daily Yomiuri said, quoting Japanese Defence Agency sources.

    North Korean military activities stepped up in early September, including vehicular movement in and around ballistic missile sites, alerting the United States and its Asian allies against a possible missile launch.

    “The series of the military activities seem to have just been exercises by North Korean forces,” Yomiuri quoted a government source as saying. “Though the activities have not ceased completely, 70 percent of the forces have returned to normal operations.”

    North Korea’s Rodong missile, with a range of some 1,300 kilometers (810 miles), can hit most areas in Japan.

    North Korea, at the centre of an international outcry against its nuclear arms ambitions, stunned the world in 1998 when it fired a Taepodong-1 missile over Japan, claiming it was a satellite launch.

    Japan sent the Aegis-equipped destroyer Myoko on September 21 to the Sea of Japan to monitor North Korean activity, along with patrols by an EP-3 surveillance plane. The Myoko was replaced by the Kongo early this month.

    The United States sent similar destroyers to the Sea of Japan.

    On Monday, the US Aegis-guided missile cruiser Lake Erie called at the Japanese port of Niigata to give crew members a rest and to replenish supplies, according to press reports.

    - AFP

Leave a Reply