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Posted by on Jul 5, 2006 in At TMV | 11 comments

North Korea Defies International Opinion And Launches Missiles (UPDATED)

North Korea has defiantly brushed aside international and U.S. warnings and has launched several missiles.

The question: were they the kind of missiles that they had said they would launch or less-threatening ones perhaps launched to send the world (and the U.S. in particular) a message? Or did North Korea fire BOTH long- and short-range missiles?

The latest info: North Korea did indeed test a long-range missile capable of reaching United States territory.

CNN:

North Korea launched a long-range Taepodong-2 missile early Wednesday in an apparently unsuccessful test that failed in flight, a senior State Department official said.

North Korea also tested at least two smaller missiles, U.S. sources told CNN.

Both missiles were launched from a site other than the one intelligence officials have watched for weeks ahead of the long-range missile test, a senior State Department official said.

The United States, Japan and other countries have warned North Korea against a long-range missile test, saying such a move would be considered a provocation.

Washington and North Korea’s Asian neighbors — South Korea, China, Russia and Japan — have been trying to persuade North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program since 2002, but those talks have stalled in recent months.

President Bush warned last week that the isolated Stalinist state would face even further isolation if it launched the Taepodong-2, which U.S. analysts fear is capable of reaching the western United States.

The AP says the Pentagon now says they were Scud missiles:

North Korea test-launched two missiles Wednesday that landed in the Sea of Japan, but a Pentagon official said they were Scud missiles and not the longer-range variety that has been the focus of international concern.

Japan’s Kyodo news agency said they were believed to be mid-range Rodong missiles.

The reclusive communist state launched the first missile at 3:32 a.m., or 2:32 p.m. Tuesday EDT, and it crashed into the Sea of Japan several minutes later, public broadcaster NHK reported. Kyodo carried a similar report and quoted a government official as saying a second missile had also been fired.

A Pentagon official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said there were launches of two Scud missiles.

“The launch appears not to be the launch that has been in the news. This appears to be a launch of a lesser variety of scud missiles,” the official said.

If these turn out to be Scuds, the test could be a case of North Korea in effect saying “You can’t tell us what to do” and launching SOME missiles — but not going as far as it had indicated.

UPDATE 1
: Via DPA:

North Korea launched a missile test Wednesday morning, but initial reports said it was not the long-range missile capable of hitting the US coast. Officials said it was a provocative act likely to spark strong reactions throughout the region and from the US.

Citing sources in the US State Department, US network CNN said the launch was the third missile test within a space of less than two hours – the first two being shorter-range missiles. CNN also reported some sort of mechanical failure in the long-range missile launch, but could give no exact details.

The first missile, launched at 3:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m. Thailand time) landed in the Sea of Japan, about 600 kilometres off the Japanese coast, according to Japanese television station NHK.

The US, South Korea and Japan all had been expecting North Korea had been fuelling a Taepodong-2 missile, with an estimated range of more than 6,000 kilometres and capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to parts of the United States.

UPDATE 2: CNN reports that North Korea did unsuccessfully try a long-range missile test:

North Korea launched a long-range Taepodong-2 missile early Wednesday in an apparently unsuccessful test that failed in flight, a senior State Department official said.

North Korea also tested at least two smaller missiles, U.S. sources told CNN.

Both missiles were launched from a site other than the one intelligence officials have watched for weeks ahead of the long-range missile test, a senior State Department official said.

SOME OTHER SITES REPORTING ON THIS STORY (read TRACKBACKS to this post for more opinions):Assorted Babble, Blogs of War, AubreyJ, Andrew Olmsted, Newscoma, The Jawa Report, Agnoliologist, Barbara Misaki, Kurashi News From Japan, Daily Fisk, Stop The ACLU









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