News

N. Korea Prepares 'Space Launch' Amid Reports of Plans for Nuclear Test

A crowd of media gather around a North Korean official in front of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket, slated for liftoff between April 12-16, at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea, April 8, 2012.
A crowd of media gather around a North Korean official in front of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket, slated for liftoff between April 12-16, at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea, April 8, 2012.

North Korea has placed a three-stage rocket on the launch pad at a new, more sophisticated facility facing the Yellow Sea. It plans to launch what it calls an earth observation satellite as early as Thursday. There are also indications the reclusive and impoverished country is preparing for a third nuclear weapons test, as well.

Satellite imagery, taken last week, shows piles of dirt near a newly excavated tunnel entrance at North Korea's nuclear test site. A summary of a South Korean intelligence report accompanying the photos, obtained by VOA says the excavation at the Punggye-ri test site is in its final stages.

Analysts say Pyongyang wants to demonstrate to the world that it is capable of carrying out a nuclear test at any time.

Meanwhile, North Korea, at a separate site, has placed on the launch pad what it is calling the Unha-3 rocket. It appears virtually identical to the three-stage liquid-fueled ballistic missile it fired over Japan three years ago.

The United States, South Korea, the European Union and Japan are condemning the planned launch, saying it will clearly violate United Nations sanctions forbidding Pyongyang from utilizing ballistic missile technology.

Jang Myong Jin, the general manager of the launch site, says North Korea has a sovereign right to carry out a space launch.

Speaking to correspondents taken to the launch site, Jang says, in recent talks between his government and U.S. officials, North Korea made clear that its moratorium pledge applied to long range missiles, but not satellites.

Senior research fellow Baek Seung-joo, at the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis in Seoul, says Pyongyang's scientists have had a lot of time since their last attempt to put a satellite into space to greatly improve their ballistic missile capabilities.

Baek says North Korea, in the interim, has likely exchanged technology with Iran which has made three successful satellite launches. And, Baek says, the North Korean engineers seem to have a high level of confidence their third attempt will succeed.

Additional international sanctions were imposed on North Korea following its second missile launch and nuclear test in 2009.


Steve Herman

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

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Carl
April 09, 2012 11:33 PM
You always do this, why deny N.Korea
Stop bullying

by: hamad part 1 of 1
April 09, 2012 6:38 PM
It seems that the policy of starvation is not working to enslave North Korean.
China knew this political game very well. Save your food aid for your poor people who have been extending . VOA has been puppet on the hands of AIPAC to promote for its agenda and well-paid candidates from the money of Christian Americans. Is that weird? Do Not worry about national security of Japan because Fukuhsima crisis has threatened the lives of Japanese children more than North Korea ballistic missile .

by: NVO
April 09, 2012 6:37 PM
The FACT of the matter is: The NK tyranical regime is a SHAM! Plain and simple! Starve your own people, you are NOT allowed to leave the country, you are to cry for the SUPREME BUFFOON whom is now in Hades, then will be in Gehenna, and if you don't cry, you are put in Jail! That is preposterous!!!
People of NK, stand up to the tyranical regime, and EXODUS THAT COUNTRY!

by: Jonathan Huang
April 09, 2012 2:55 PM
to Gab, do you think Iraq and Afghanistan now are that kind of place their children want to grow up in? Don't you think N.K. is doing everything to prevent their country from being like Iraq and Afghanistan? They'd rather be starving than being treated like garbage by US soldiers.

by: Jonathan Huang
April 09, 2012 2:50 PM
@T.S.Chandrashekar India, dont be a fool of west propaganda. What happened to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya only adjusts N.K. decisions that only strong military power can stop U.S. greedy invasion and protect their country. And I am 100% sure majority north Koreans support developing nuclear weapons and long range rockets and they hate U.S.

by: NVO
April 09, 2012 2:18 PM
North Korea, a SHAM of a country with re to the tyranical regime, a SHAM! Plain and simple. Starve your own people, but make sure you "cry" for the SUPREME BUFFOON, or you will be thrown into jail. Exodus that country and leave the regime to die for their SECULAR selves!

by: CharlieSeattle
April 09, 2012 1:54 PM
Is North Korea not using the telemetry data and chips that Clinton gave to China?

Is China not sharing or is North Korea just not smart enough to use it...yet?

Clinton
Gave China Chips for Nuclear War

Charles R. SmithWednesday, Oct. 1, 2003

Newly declassified documents show that President Bill Clinton
personally approved the transfer to China of advanced space technology that can
be used for nuclear combat.

Google this thread to read the rest: clinton, loral, china

by: Robert Borchert
April 09, 2012 12:28 PM
The United States is the one nation that has welcomed immigrants from around the world, with open arms. People emigrate from abroad in hope of joining as Americans. E Pluribus Unum. I fail to understand your "white" comments. Leave race out of the equation. I'm proud to be a son of immigrants, an American. My brothers and I have all served our country in return, proudly, on land, air, and sea.

by: chris birrow
April 09, 2012 11:34 AM
America, England, USSR should stop developing necliar wapon as an example, before they can stop other countries.

by: kafantaris
April 09, 2012 10:03 AM
Ignore these fools.
If they can ignore their impoverished masses to conduct expensive missile tests -- when no one is even remotely threatening then -- they deserve no further consideration from any of us.
They can conduct all the missile tests they want with their primitive rocket technology. We ain't scared.
But they’ve better not cut too many corners in their rush to show off or they will blow themselves up.
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs