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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid