News

Asia Diplomats Ponder Response to North Korea's Missile Activities

Diplomats in Asia are pondering their next responses to North Korea after its attempted launch last week of a multi-stage rocket which fell apart and splashed down in the Yellow Sea.

A U.S. envoy, traveling in Asia, is expressing hope diplomacy can still persuade North Korea to change its behavior.

Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell made stops Monday in Tokyo and Seoul for consultations with allies.

“There's a very strong determination among all the international partners - including China, Russia, Japan, South Korea - all the countries of Asia, to discourage any further provocations from North Korea,” Campbell said.

Campbell made his remarks during a break in talks with high level South Korean officials, following his arrival from Tokyo.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in a radio address Monday said the time has come for the North to change course and give up its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

President Lee said Pyongyang's attempt to threaten the world and promote internal unity by pursuing nuclear weapons and missiles is actually putting North Korea into greater danger. He said it should heed the historical lesson of the Soviet Union, which collapsed while trying to engage in an costly arms race.

The South Korean president added that the money which North Korea spent on Friday's launch - which he claims totaled $850 million - could have bought enough corn to feed the impoverished country for six years.

North Korea, in a terse announcement four hours after Friday's launch, said it had failed to place an earth observation satellite into orbit.

Pyongyang says it has a sovereign right to pursue a peaceful space program. But the launch raised alarm among the international community. Both South Korea and the United States termed it a disguised military launch of a Taepodong-2 ballistic missile.

Sunday in Pyongyang, marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, the nation's military paraded an unprecedented amount of arms.

There was a glimpse of what many analysts believe is a new missile.

Among those is a researcher at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, Ham Hyeong-pil. He told VOA North Korea displayed a new ballistic missile five to six meters longer than the Musudan type first seen in August 2010.

Ham said he estimates what was paraded Sunday has a range of 4,000 to 5,000 kilometers, making it closer to an intercontinental ballistic missile than an intermediate range weapon.

That would give it the capability to strike South Korea, Japan and U.S. military bases on Guam, but not able to reach Alaska or Hawaii.

North Korea has been striving to successfully fire a long-range multi-stage missile that could carry a heavier payload, such as a nuclear weapon.

Two previous failed long-range missile tests, in 2006 and 2009, were followed by underground nuclear tests. There is speculation Pyongyang will soon detonate a third nuclear device.

The past provocative acts have led to international sanctions against North Korea and discouraged most countries from sending it badly needed food and other aid.

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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs