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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid