Friday, February 27, 2009

North Korea 'Satellite' Launch Expected in Early March

Via Yahoo News! (AP) -

North Korea announced earlier this week that it was preparing to shoot a communication satellite into orbit as part of it space program. The U.S., South Korea and other neighboring countries believe the launch may be a cover for a missile test-fire, saying the action would trigger international sanctions.


Rodger Baker, director of East Asia analysis at STRATFOR, a global intelligence company, said the launch of the Taepodong-2 will most likely take place around the first week in March, around the time of elections for the North's rubber-stamp parliament.

The long-range Taepodong-2 missile is believed capable of reaching Alaska. Some experts think the North is preparing to test an advanced version that could reach the western continental U.S.

Baker said that North Korea's missile capability was "fairly sophisticated" given the country's isolation and lack of access to technology.

"They are really good with short-range and anti-ship missiles, mostly those they've modified from Soviet and Chinese missiles," Baker told The Associated Press.


South Korea's Dong-a Ilbo newspaper reported Thursday that North Korea has built an underground fueling facility near its launch pad, making it harder for spy satellites to detect signs that a missile is being prepared for launch.

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