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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-04-2009, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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North Korea Launches Rocket

NKorea launches rocket, defying world pressure

NKorea launches rocket, defying world pressure

By JEAN H. LEE and JAE-SOON CHANG, Associated Press Writers Jean H. Lee And Jae-soon Chang, Associated Press Writers – 34 mins ago
SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea fired a rocket over Japan on Sunday, defying Washington, Tokyo and other world leaders who suspect the launch was cover for a test of its long-range missile technology. President Barack Obama warned the move would further isolate the communist nation.

Liftoff took place at 11:30 a.m. (0230 GMT) from the coastal Musudan-ri launch pad in northeastern North Korea, the South Korean and U.S. governments said. The multistage rocket hurtled toward the Pacific, reaching Japanese airspace within seven minutes, but no debris appeared to hit its territory, officials in Tokyo said.

The U.N. Security Council approved an emergency session for Sunday afternoon in New York, following a request from Japan that came just minutes after the launch.

Sunday's move was a bold act of defiance against President Barack Obama, Japanese leader Taro Aso, Hu Jintao of China and others who pressed Pyongyang in the days leading up to liftoff to call off a launch they said would threaten peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

"I urge North Korea to abide fully by the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council," Obama said in Prague, Czech Republic, calling on Pyongyang to refrain from further "provocative" actions.

But China, Pyongyang's biggest source of economic aid and diplomatic support, urged all sides to maintain calm and exercise restraint. It offered to play a "constructive role," though some fear it could block a unified response to the launch at the Security Council.

North Korea claims its aim is to send an experimental "Kwangmyongsong-2" communications satellite into orbit in a peaceful bid to develop its space program.

The U.S., South Korea, Japan and others suspect the launch is a guise for testing the regime's long-range missile technology — one step toward eventually mounting a nuclear weapon on a missile capable of reaching Alaska and beyond.

They contend the launch violates a U.N. Security Council resolution barring the regime from ballistic missile activity, part of efforts to force North Korea to shelve its nuclear program and halt long-range missile tests.

State Department spokesman Fred Lash called the launch a clear violation of Resolution 1718, adopted five days after North Korea carried out a nuclear weapons test in 2006. The U.S. will "take appropriate steps to let North Korea know that it cannot threaten the safety and security of other countries with impunity," he said late Saturday in Washington.

Japan's U.N. mission immediately requested a meeting of the 15-nation council Sunday, spokesman Yutaka Arima said. Mexico's mission to the United Nations set the meeting for 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT), spokesman Marco Morales said. Mexico holds the 15-nation council's presidency this month.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon regretted North Korea's move "against strong international appeal" at a time when nuclear disarmament talks involving six nations remain stalled.

"Given the volatility in the region, as well as a stalemate in interaction among the concerned parties, such a launch is not conducive to efforts to promote dialogue, regional peace and stability," Ban said in a statement from Paris.

At the United Nations, diplomats already have begun discussing ways to affirm existing sanctions on North Korea against its nuclear program and long-range missile tests.

However, diplomats said the U.S., Britain and France, each of which holds veto power on the 15-nation council, are unlikely to secure agreement on new sanctions in the face of probable resistance from China, North Korea's closest ally, and Russia, the other two nations with veto power. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.

In Japan, chief Cabinet spokesman Takeo Kawamura also said it was not immediately clear if the rocket was mounted with a satellite as North Korea has claimed.

In Seoul, an unnamed government official told the Yonhap news agency the trajectory of the rocket suggests it was mounted with a satellite but said it was unclear whether the bid to get the satellite into orbit was successful.

"Even if a satellite was launched, we see this as a ballistic missile test and we think this matter should be taken to the United Nations Security Council," Kawamura said. "We are highly concerned by this matter."

Resisting weeks of pressure to call off the launch, North Korea advised international aviation and maritime authorities last month of the rocket's flight path.

The first stage of the rocket dropped about 175 miles (280 kilometers) off the western coast of Akita into the waters between Japan and the Korean peninsula. The second stage was aimed for the Pacific at a spot about 790 miles (1,270 kilometers) off Japan's northeastern coast, a Defense Ministry spokeswoman said in Tokyo.

Japan had threatened to shoot down any debris from the rocket if the launch went wrong, and positioned batteries of interceptor missiles on its coast and radar-equipped ships off its northern seas to monitor the launch.

No attempt at interception was made since no debris fell onto its territory, a Defense Ministry spokeswoman said in Tokyo, speaking on condition of anonymity, citing department rules.

However, in addition to calling for the Security Council meeting, Japan threatened to add more bilateral sanctions onto those it imposed after the July 2006 launch of a similar Taepodong-2 long-range missile that fizzled 42 seconds after takeoff.

South Korea, which technically remains at war with the North because their three-year conflict ended in 1953 in a truce rather than a peace treaty, put its forces on heightened alert.

North Korea, one of the world's poorest nations, is led with absolute authority by leader Kim Jong Il, who is poised to preside over the first session of the country's new parliament on Thursday. The appearance will be his first major public appearance since reportedly suffering a stroke last August.

Amid the controversy over the rocket launch, North Korea announced last week it would put two American reporters detained at the border with China on trial for allegedly entering the country illegally and engaging in "hostile acts."

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former Vice President Al Gore's Current TV media venture, were seized by North Korean soldiers on March 17.


Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, Eric Talmadge in Tokyo, Pete Yost in Washington, Christopher Bodeen in Beijing and John Heilprin at the United Nations contributed to this report.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-04-2009, 11:35 PM
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-05-2009, 04:30 AM
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and a super secret defense shield.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-05-2009, 04:39 AM
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-05-2009, 06:47 PM
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Japan lose face, we changed our tune, the UN is non-united, the EU sided with us, and N Korea seems to have squat. It reminds me of The Supremes and their Ball of Confusion.

Meanwhile, the song and dance continues. You are cordially invited. RSVP by April 15.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-05-2009, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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North Korea rocket fizzles, US says; Obama urges action

NKorea rocket fizzles, US says; Obama urges action]

By PAUL ALEXANDER and JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writers Paul Alexander And John Heilprin, Associated Press Writers – 10 mins ago
SEOUL, South Korea – The U.S. and its allies sought punishment for North Korea's defiant launch of a rocket that apparently fizzled into the Pacific, holding an emergency U.N. meeting in response to the "provocative act" that some believe was a long-range missile test.

President Barack Obama, faced with his first global security crisis, called for an international response and condemned North Korea for threatening the peace and stability of nations "near and far." Minutes after liftoff, Japan requested the emergency Security Council session in New York.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak expressed indignation Monday on national radio, saying "North Korea's reckless act of threatening regional and global security cannot have any justification."

U.S. and South Korean officials claim the entire rocket, including whatever payload it carried, ended up in the ocean after Sunday's launch, but many world leaders fear the launch indicates the capacity to fire a long-range missile. Pyongyang claims it launched a communications satellite into orbit that is now transmitting data and patriotic songs.

"North Korea broke the rules, once again, by testing a rocket that could be used for long-range missiles," Obama said in Prague. "It creates instability in their region, around the world. This provocation underscores the need for action, not just this afternoon in the U.N. Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons."

Council members met for three hours Sunday, seeking a unified response, but the meeting ended with a deadlock, breaking up for the night without issuing even a customary preliminary statement of condemnation.

Diplomats privy to the closed-door talks say China, Russia, Libya and Vietnam were concerned about further alienating and destabilizing North Korea.

"We're now in a very sensitive moment," Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui said after the talks. "Our position is that all countries concerned should show restraint and refrain from taking actions that might lead to increased tensions."

Diplomats continued bilateral talks into the evening. The council's five permanent members — the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia — left for a meeting with Japan.

The U.S. Britain, France and Japan drafted a proposal for a resolution that could be adopted by the end of the week. It aims to toughen existing economic sanctions by "naming and shaming" individuals and entities, diplomats said.

Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller, the council's president, said the council would reconvene "as soon as possible" on Monday.

Using a possible loophole in U.N. sanctions that bar the North from ballistic missile activity, Pyongyang claimed it was exercising its right to peaceful space development.

The U.S. said nuclear-armed North Korea clearly violated the resolution, but objections from Russia and China — the North's closest ally — will almost certainly water down any response. Both have Security Council veto power.

"Obviously today's action by North Korea constitutes a clear violation," said Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. "My government has called this a provocative act, and we have been in consultation today with our allies in the region and other partners on the Security Council ... to work toward agreement on a strong collective action."

While the rogue communist state has repeatedly been belligerent — as it was when it carried out an underground nuclear blast and tested ballistic missiles in recent years — Pyongyang showed increased savvy this time that may make punishment more complicated.

Unlike previous provocations, the North notified the international community that the launch was coming and the route the rocket would take, although critics of North Korea leader Kim Jong Il claim he really was testing a ballistic missile capable of hitting U.S. territory.

Analysts say sanctions imposed after the North's underground nuclear test in 2006 appear to have had little effect because some countries showed no will to impose them.

Kim is reportedly a big film buff,and his strategy appears to have borrowed heavily from the 1959 movie "The Mouse That Roared," about a fictional poor country that declares war on the U.S., expecting to lose and get aid like the Marshall Plan that Washington used to help rebuild its World War II foes.

North Korea's state Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim observed the launch. He expressed "great satisfaction" that North Korea's technicians "successfully launched the satellite with their own wisdom and technology."

South Korea's Yonhap news agency, quoting local MBC TV, reported that Shin Son Ho, North Korea's ambassador to the U.N., told reporters in New York, "We are happy. Very, very successful. You should congratulate" us.

The mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported Monday that South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities confirmed that the rocket's second stage landed in waters about 1,984 miles (3,200 kilometers) from the launch site, showing that North Korea has succeeded in about doubling the range compared to a 1998 launch.

Despite its policy of "juche," or "self-reliance," communist North Korea is one of the world's poorest countries, has few allies and is in desperate need of outside help. The money that flowed in unconditionally from neighboring South Korea for a decade dried up when the conservative Lee took office in 2008.

Pyongyang for years has used its nuclear weapons program as its trump card, promising to abandon its atomic ambitions in exchange for aid and then exercising the nuclear threat when it doesn't get its way. The North also has reportedly been selling missile parts and technology to whoever has the cash to pay for it.

Kim wants food for his famished people, fuel and — perhaps most importantly — direct talks and relations with Washington.

Right now, the main contact is through six-nation talks aimed at getting Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Kim Keun-sik, a North Korea expert at South Korea's Kyungnam University, said the launch would chill ties between Pyongyang and Washington, but likely not for long.

"Wouldn't they eventually come to hold talks? There is no other way," Kim said.

U.S. officials also are trying to obtain the release of two American journalists recently detained by the North along its border with China. Paik Hak-soon, an analyst at the Sejong Institute think tank, predicted they would be used as bargaining chips, with the North likely "to try to link them to the nuclear and missile talks."

Iran, which also has a contentious relationship with the international community over its nuclear program and is believed to have cooperated extensively with North Korea on missile technology, defended the launch.

"North Korea, like any other country, has the right to enter space," Iran's state TV said in a commentary, adding that the "pressure on North Korea to give up its indisputable right" was "unfair and dishonest."


Associated Press writers Jean H. Lee, Hyung-jin Kim, Jae-soon Chang and Kelly Olsen in Seoul contributed to this report. Heilprin reported from the United Nations.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-05-2009, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Kim Jong vs. Obama

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-05-2009, 08:53 PM
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Nuke the little fucker.
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