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Quote:Last Updated: Sunday, 1 May, 2005, 16:58 GMT - BBC

North Korea 'tests new missile'

The US and Japan say they are looking into reports that North Korea has test-fired a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK said the missile had flown about 100km (62 miles) into the sea.

Tokyo has been monitoring the situation after earlier warnings that Pyongyang is close to testing a nuclear warhead.

North Korea has already developed long-range missiles that reach Japan and has pulled out of nuclear talks.

'Not surprised'

"It appears there was a test of a short-range missile by the North Koreans and it landed in the Sea of Japan," White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card told US media.

He said that he would not be surprised if the North Koreans had tested a missile.

"I think they are looking to be kind of bullies in the world and they're causing others to stand up and take notice," Mr Card said.

The missile launch would come a day before the 187 nations who have signed up to the international Non-Proliferation Treaty meet in New York to review its progress.

In March the North Korean government said it was no longer observing a self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile testing which had been in place since 1999.

Japanese news agency Kyodo said Tokyo had been informed by the US military of the North Korean test, believed to have been carried out at 0800 (2300 GMT on Saturday).

Prelude

At a time when every move by North Korea has been scrutinised by its neighbours, the test-firing of even a short-range missile is a cause for anxiety, says the BBC's Jonathan Head in Tokyo.

No-one outside the secretive communist state has any clear idea what its intentions are, our correspondent says.

US officials fear North Korea is now preparing to test its first nuclear device after its announcement in February that it already possessed nuclear weapons and that it would not be coming back to the six-party negotiations over its nuclear programme.

On Thursday, a senior US intelligence official told senators in Washington that North Korea now had the capability to arm its missiles with nuclear warheads, although he was not sure how quickly it could do so.

A full nuclear test would run the risk of alienating China and South Korea that are vital for North Korea's ruined economy, says our Tokyo correspondent.

But analysts believe it may still feel it has to go ahead to prove to itself and to the world that it has mastered the technology to join the nuclear club.

North Korea last launched a high-profile missile test in March 2003, to coincide with the inauguration of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun.

These were two short-range land-to-ship missiles fired into the Sea of Japan.

It has not launched long-range missiles since 1998, when a Taepodong 1 missile flew over Japan.

This has been coming for sometime. So far, in all talks between the two sides, North Korea has used them in what could be compared to open blackmail.

China is the North's biggest ally and they are standoff-ish against us concerning Taiwan and recently, Japan. I doubt they are going to be of much help.

Do you think military force against North Korea will be used inevitably?
Actually, the firing of a missle into the Sea Of Japan is akin to the child throwing a tantrum, or shouting in the midst of two or more adults carrying on a conversation. It is nothing more than an attempt to gain attention.

I noted today, between the crashing of my computer and reinstalling Windows, tha even the FoX people were sensationalizing the news. The "Burning" question was "Do they have a nuclear weapon loaded on it"? What. Even if they have one at this point, it is for certain that they would not be squandering it on a test. Where do these "so called" journalists come from?

And perhaps if we simply allow them to shake their rattles, ignore them, and wait till they tie, they may just give up and go away. Now if we can only get Stallone/Rocky to see the light as well. Wink1
Quote:Even if they have one at this point, it is for certain that they would not be squandering it on a test.

They will, if they have a few; they probably have 5-8 now.

Of three possible things NK could do, namely
1. Test ICBM
2. Test Nuke
3. Test something non-threatening
they chose 3.

It is likely that 1. would have triggered an attack; 2. probably not (but it is not certain); so NK chose to play very safe for now.
Good point John, but what if the child remains angry, grabs a nuke and starts wielding that around?
Gunnen4u Wrote:Good point John, but what if the child remains angry, grabs a nuke and starts wielding that around?

Well then, ocassionally children have to be spanked by someone. Probably the Chinese would do something to let their child know that the time is not ripe for gaining undue attention.

Just a guess on my part.
A guess, I doubt the Chinese are going to really wield a heavy hand with N. Korea; why not keep us busy with them while China prepares to take Taiwan?

N. Korea would be a good sideshow for the US and its allies, while China rehearses back-stage.
I think China fears a nuclear South Korea and Japan if North Korea actually demonstrated the nuclear capability as opposed to bragging about it.

China would lose in that equation.

From my view,so would we,I for sure don't want to see Japan with nukes ever.
Palladin Wrote:I think China fears a nuclear South Korea and Japan if North Korea actually demonstrated the nuclear capability as opposed to bragging about it.

China would lose in that equation.

From my view,so would we,I for sure don't want to see Japan with nukes ever.

They do not need them, they have us and our bajillion nukes for an ally.
Quote:They do not need them, they have us and our bajillion nukes for an ally.

This changes the moment N.K. becomes a nuclear power officially. Having a powerful ally is not a sufficiently good deterrent for any nation that faces an obvious threat and is concerned about self-preservation. Having an ally that failed to stop N.K. from obtaining nukes (for whatever reason--I'm not blaming the US) makes a quick nuclear program a must.
I agree with MV. Nuclear retaliation is a non starter on behalf of others,it was never going to happen in Europe nor in Asia.

That's why we insisted the Euros arm themselves with tactical nukes in the 80s or more or less forget about NATO. They folded under that pressure.

Japan will build nukes rapidly if it is determined NK really has them and missles capable of delivering them. That is anathema to China and most of Asia and in fact to me.