Japan, South Korea Differ Over Possible Second North Korean Missile Test

Japan and South Korea have disagreed over reports of a possible second North Korean missile test conducted today, according to the Financial Times (see GSN, Oct. 20).

The Japanese Defense Agency has said that North Korea today conducted a second anti-ship cruise missile test following one conducted yesterday.

The South Korean Defense Ministry, however, has said there is no evidence of a second missile test having been conducted today (Mallet/Harding, Financial Times, Oct. 21).

“We believe that the report (from Japan) is wrong. We don’t believe there was a missile launch today by North Korea,” a South Korean Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman said (Kenji Hall, Associated Press/Yahoo!News, Oct. 21).

Meanwhile, the Washington Times reported today that yesterday’s test involved a modified Chinese-designed HY-2 Silkworm cruise missile (see GSN, March 12).

The modified missile has range of about 100 miles, making it an “over-the-horizon” threat to U.S. ships, U.S. officials said. Silkworms typically have a range of about 60 miles, according to the Times.

Yesterday’s modified Silkworm test was the third conducted so far this year, the Times reported. North Korea previously tested the missile in February and in March. Intelligence officials, however, considered the March test to have been a failure because of guidance system flaws (Bill Gertz, Washington Times, Oct. 21).

October 21, 2003
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Japan and South Korea have disagreed over reports of a possible second North Korean missile test conducted today, according to the Financial Times (see GSN, Oct. 20).