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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid