News / Asia

South Korea Expects North's Missile Test by Monday

South Korean soldiers look at North Korea through binoculars from Dora Observation Post near the border village of Panmunjom, April 10, 2013.
South Korean soldiers look at North Korea through binoculars from Dora Observation Post near the border village of Panmunjom, April 10, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. and South Korean forces remain on heightened alert for a North Korean missile test that officials say could take place at any time.

Seoul's defense ministry on Thursday said it is at a "full readiness posture" as it monitors the North for possible launches. A spokesperson said the South believes the test could take place on or before the Monday birthday of North Korea's late founding leader, Kim Il Sung.

But the defense ministry refused to comment on a report by Japan's Kyodo news agency, which on Thursday quoted an unnamed Tokyo defense official as saying Pyongyang has placed a missile launcher in a raised position in apparent preparation for a test.

Joint U.S.-South Korean forces have already raised their alert level to "WatchCon 2," indicating a vital threat is present. At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Pyongyang against making more threats.

At the Pentagon, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Pyongyang against making more threats. "North Korea has been, with its bellicose rhetoric, with its action, has been skating very close to a dangerous line. Their actions and words have not helped defuse a combustible situation,'' Hagel said.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se told lawmakers Wednesday it is "highly likely" North Korea will test one of its new missiles "at any time."

"We believe that the missile will be a Musudan, which is a new form of mid-range missile with a range of 3,500 kilometers. How far it will travel depends on North Korea's will," Byung-Se said.

Lines of Communication

Meanwhile, diplomats are scrambling to maintain possible lines of communication with Pyongyang and ease tensions.

The European Union Wednesday told North Korea it would not pull its diplomats despite North Korea's warning that it could not guarantee their safety after April 10.

During talks in London with U.S. Secretory of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sought to present a united front.

"On North Korea, we have no differences with the United States. You should not scare anyone with military maneuvers. And then there's a chance everything can calm down," Lavrov said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei also urged restraint.

"Under present circumstances, all sides should stay calm and restrained, not provoke each other, strive to alleviate the tension, bear in mind the regional peace and stability, work towards the resumption of the six-party talks, strengthen contact and dialogue, strive for denuclearization to achieve a long-term security and stability in Northeast Asia," Lei said.

North Korea is reported to be in the final stages of preparing for a mid-range Musudan missile test.  The previously untested missile could potentially reach South Korea, Japan, or the U.S. territory of Guam.   Unconfirmed reports also suggest Pyongyang is preparing to test other missiles simultaneously.

Some analysts expect the test to occur sometime around the Monday birthday of Pyongyang's founding leader, Kim Il Sung.

The commander of the U.S. forces in the Pacific confirmed North Korea has moved a Musudan to its east coast in apparent preparation for a launch. Testifying Tuesday at a U.S. Senate hearing, Admiral Samuel Locklear insisted that any North Korean missile could be intercepted if it poses a direct threat to the U.S. or its allies.

Warnings to Foreigners

North Korea state television has been urging foreigners to leave South Korea, warning they could be caught up in an all-out military conflict or a "nuclear war."  

South Korea Unification Ministry spokesperson Kim Hyung-suk on Wednesday played down the threat to foreigners.

"Various actions from the North are very likely to be psychological, creating anxiety. I will say that we should not be paying too much attention or feeling anxious," Hyung-suk said.

North Korea has threatened to attack the South, the United States and U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific region in retaliation for the latest economic sanctions imposed on Pyongyang by the U.N. Security Council. Those sanctions have been aimed at punishing Pyongyang for carrying out nuclear and missile tests in defiance of Security Council resolutions.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Robert Ezergailis from: Canada
April 11, 2013 12:09 PM
What intensifies the level of risk can be readily ascertained from a summary review of known DPRK military assets. The DPRK definitely knows they are in a "use it or lose it" position, due to the age of their technology and much of the actual weaponry in their possession. This definitely leads to intense pressure from the DPRK military on the political leadership of the nation to do something. Defeat by obsolescence and deterioration is not likely an option that the DPRK military leadership is willing to countenance. Not when considering the totality of circumstances the DPRK has endured and is enduring, taken in context of their ideology and history.

They are very, very, close to the point where they would end up being defeated by deterioration of a large part of their existing known stockpile. Though that does not take into account what we do not know or are uncertain of, concerning DPRK military assets, it raises the levels of concern and also points to relatively few military strategies, as to using what they have available, to maximum effect. We must assume their military leadership is very astute and aware in that regard. Pushed to the economic and ideological wall, as the DPRK has been and is, there is a very high probability that they feel very hard pressed to take extreme decisive action.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs