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

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

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