Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
North Korea Seen Preparing For Rocket Launch
North Korea has transported the long-range rocket it intends to send into space next month to a launch facility, a South Korean defense official said on Monday (see GSN, March 26).
A U.S. official said the United States has also spotted indications that the Stalinist state is readying for the rocket launch, CNN reported (CNN, March 26).
North Korea's declared plans to place a satellite into orbit using a long-range Unha 3 rocket have been condemned by the United States, Japan, South Korea and other nations as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibiting Pyongyang from conducting ballistic missile operations.
The Stalinist state on Tuesday pushed back against U.S. President Obama's Monday rebuke of its plans and said it would proceed with the launch, the Associated Press reported.
Washington has declared that a North Korean rocket firing is likely to mean the end of a bilateral nuclear shutdown agreement reached last month. The deal calls for the North to receive 240,000 metric tons of U.S. nutritional aid in return for its monitored halt of uranium enrichment at the Yongbyon complex and a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.
The North on Tuesday maintained a satellite launch would not breach the terms of the deal. During bilateral talks in February, North Korean negotiators "consistently maintained that a moratorium on long-range missile launches does not include satellite launches for peaceful purposes," an unidentified North Korean diplomat said in remarks carried by the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency.
"The D.P.R.K. will never give up the launch of a satellite for peaceful purposes," the North Korean official said.
The White House "should drop the confrontation conception of standing in the way of the D.P.R.K.," he said (Associated Press/Yahoo!News, March 27).
The news agency said the "working satellite to be launched in April, will be greatly helpful to the study of weather forecast needed for agriculture and other economic fields," according to Reuters (Nick Macfie, Reuters I, March 27).
Obama administration sources said there were signs China could put more pressure on North Korea to give up its launch plans, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
In a one-one-one meeting at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, Chinese President Hu Jintao told Obama that his government is vexed with the new North Korean regime under Kim Jong Un. Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, who sat in on the meeting, said Chinese officials "share the frustration with the choices that North Korea has made."
As China is North Korea's leading economic benefactor, it is considered to hold the most influence over Pyongyang. It is not apparent what, if anything, Beijing could do to change the Kim Jong Un regime's mind.
Chinese officials present at the Hu-Obama summit indicated their government wishes to cooperate with the United States and other aligned countries "to make it clear to the North Koreans the very grave concerns that the international community has about them going forward with this provocative act," Rhodes said.
There was no immediate comment from Beijing on the content of the discussion (Carol Lee, Wall Street Journal, March 26).
Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a Monday meeting agreed the satellite launch would contravene Security Council strictures, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
"With respect to North Korea, we are going to be both sending messages to North Korea that they should not go forward with this missile launch, which would violate existing U.N. Security Council resolutions," Obama said following his face-to-face with the Russian leader. "And our hope is that we can resolve these issues diplomatically."
Russian support for any international response following a North Korean rocket launch would be important, Yonhap noted. Previously, Moscow has acted with Beijing in preventing the passage of some strict Security Council penalties pushed by Washington and other governments (Yonhap News Agency/Korea Times, March 27).
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Tuesday bypassed the summit agenda's focus on nuclear terrorism issues to call for the global community to unite in urging North Korea to cancel its rocket launch plans, Reuters reported.
"The planned missile launch North Korea recently announced would go against the international community's nuclear nonproliferation effort and violate U.N. Security Council resolutions," Noda said in remarks at the high-profile event (Takenaka/Kim, Reuters II, March 27).
Both Japan and South Korea have stated they would make preparations to shoot down the rocket if necessary.
Japanese Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka on Tuesday directed that antimissile preparations begin ahead of the North's rocket launch, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Tokyo has said it would attempt a rocket intercept if it feels the rocket endangers Japanese citizens and territory. Mobile Patriot Advanced Capability 3 interceptor units and Aegis-equipped missile destroyers are to be fielded in preparation for a potential intercept attempt, according to previous reports (Xinhua News Agency/China Daily, March 27).
Building Mutual Security in the Euro-Atlantic Region: Report Prepared for Presidents, Prime Ministers, Parliamentarians, and Publics
April 3, 2013
This report is the result of a Track II dialogue including distinguished former senior political leaders, senior military officers, defence officials, and security experts from Europe, Russia, and the United States.
April 2, 2013
An op-ed in The International Herald Tribune urging today's leaders to move decisively and permanently toward a new security strategy in the Euro-Atlantic region.
This article provides an overview of North Korea's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.