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Korean Missiles - 2003-03-10


For the second time in as many weeks, North Korea has conducted a controversial test of a cruise missile. Robert Raffaele has more on the latest provocation by the North in the international dispute over its nuclear program.

Officials in Seoul and Tokyo say North Korea test-fired a short-range land-to-ship missile in the Sea of Japan Monday. The incident was expected, after the North warned ships Friday to stay out of the Sea of Japan.

Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told Parliament he did not consider the missile a threat, because its range was too short to reach Japan.

NATURAL SOUND: PRIME MINISTER JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI TALKING IN JAPANESE

He said Japan would, in his words, attentively monitor, the situation. But he added that any tests of longer-range missiles would require a strong response.

Some South Korean officials see the missile tests as an attempt by Pyongyang to push the U.S. into direct talks about North Korea’s plans to re-start its nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang has called on the U.S. to sign a non-aggression pact, stating that its military will not attack North Korea. The U.S. has rejected those terms, insisting that regional powers be involved in any talks.

The Pentagon recently ordered long-range bombers to the western Pacific island of Guam, after North Korean fighter jets intercepted a U.S. reconnaissance plane in international airspace March 2nd.

North Korea has called the incident an act of self-defense.

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