News

Japan, US Issue Fresh Warning to North Korea about Missile Launch

Japanese and American diplomats are jointly warning North Korea not to launch a ballistic missile, amid growing speculation Pyongyang may be about to test fire one. South Korean news reports quote visiting North Korean officials as denying a test is planned. 

Japan's foreign minister and the U.S. ambassador in Tokyo held a 30-minute meeting late Saturday to discuss what actions their governments would likely take, if North Korea test fires a ballistic missile.

Japanese and South Korea media report that liquid fuel tanks have been observed at a North Korean site and booster rockets are on the launch pad.

For more than a week, Japanese and U.S. government officials have expressed increasing concern that the communist state is readying a launch of a Taepodong-2 long-range ballistic missile. Published reports in Tokyo and Seoul say a launch could come as early as Sunday.

U.S. Ambassador Thomas Schieffer, following his Saturday night meeting with Japan's foreign minister, told reporters there are indeed indications Pyongyang is preparing to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile.

"We hope that the North Koreans will not take this provocative action," he said.  "It will only isolate the North Koreans further from the rest of the internationalcommunity."

The ambassador added that, if North Korea does launch the missile, all options are on the table a reference to the possibility of sanctions being imposed on Pyongyang.

North Korea has previously said it would consider any sanctions imposed by Japan tantamount to a declaration of war.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said both Washington and Tokyo are urgently trying to convey to Pyongyang that it must back away from a launch. 

Aso says Tokyo is relaying its concerns through Chinese diplomats, while the United States is using the "New York channel," a reference to communication with North Korea's diplomats at the United Nations. Neither Japan nor the United States has diplomatic relations with North Korea.

If North Korea launches a missile, that would end a seven-year moratorium on long-range testing that North Korea imposed on itself.

Analysts say North Korea, in an effort to dispel international condemnation, may claim that the launch of the three-stage rocket is to deploy a satellite. It made a similar statement after its 1998 missile test, but U.S. intelligence agencies and other space watchers say no such satellite made it into orbit.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs