News / Asia

    S Korea: North May Be Preparing Missile Launch

    A missile is fired during a drill at an undisclosed location in this picture released by North Korea's official KCNA news agency March 20, 2013.A missile is fired during a drill at an undisclosed location in this picture released by North Korea's official KCNA news agency March 20, 2013.
    x
    A missile is fired during a drill at an undisclosed location in this picture released by North Korea's official KCNA news agency March 20, 2013.
    A missile is fired during a drill at an undisclosed location in this picture released by North Korea's official KCNA news agency March 20, 2013.
    VOA News
    A top South Korean national security official said Sunday that North Korea may be preparing a missile test or another provocative act this week by warning it soon will be unable to guarantee diplomats' safety in Pyongyang.

    Kim Jang-Soo - chief national security adviser to President Park Geun-Hye said a test-launch or other provocation could come before or after Wednesday, the date by which the North has suggested diplomats leave the capital, Pyongyang.

    He said the North's real objective is to force diplomatic concessions from Washington and Seoul, but added that South Korea is maintaining its military readiness "whether or not [Pyongyang's threats] are merely rhetoric."
     
    Also Sunday, South Korea's top military officer postponed a meeting in Washington with the U.S. chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, because of the escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.

    U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey was to meet April 16 with his Seoul counterpart, General Jung Seung-jo.  But a spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Seoul was concerned Pyongyang might stage a military provocation while General Jung was away.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a speech on the southern island of Hainan Sunday, did not name North Korea but said no country "should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain."

    China’s foreign ministry also issued a statement saying it was "seriously concerned" about the "continuously escalating tensions."  Beijing is North Korea's sole financial and diplomatic backer.

    White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer said Sunday the Obama administration is not giving in to North Korean pressure by delaying a scheduled missile launch.

    US missile test delayed
     
    The Pentagon postponed an intercontinental ballistic missile test from a U.S. Air Force base in California in order to not "exacerbate" military tensions with North Korea.

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel decided to push back the long-planned "Minuteman 3" missile test until next month out of concern the launch could create misunderstanding with Pyongyang and heighten the current crisis.

    North Korea, angered by a new round of international sanctions following a recent nuclear test, has threatened to retaliate with attacks on the United States, South Korea and U.S. allies in the Asia Pacific region.  The North Korean military command announced in the past week it was "authorized" to attack the United States using "smaller, lighter and diversified" nuclear weapons.

    The U.S. missile test postponement follows reports from South Korea that Pyongyang had moved two medium-range missiles to its east coast.  

    White House officials said Friday Washington would not be surprised if North Korea staged a missile test similar to one late last year that brought a new round of international condemnation and economic sanctions.

    Western analysts do not believe North Korea has the technical capabilities required to mount a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile, and do not believe any North Korean missiles could reach U.S. territory.

    North Korea told foreign embassies and international organizations recently that it could only guarantee their safety until April 10, in the event of open hostilities.

    But foreign diplomats stationed in Pyongyang appear to be staying at their embassies, despite the government's public suggestion they leave for their own safety.  Russia and Britain said Friday they had no plans to evacuate embassy staff.

    North Korea will mark the 101st birthday of its founding father, Kim Il Sung, on April 15 with pomp, ceremony and displays of military strength.  Kim Il Sung led the communist country from 1948 until his death in 1994. His grandson, Kim Jong Un, currently holds power.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.