Tuesday, May 26, 2009

North Korea Fires Two Short-Range Missiles, Other Launches Expected Soon

Via CNN -

North Korea fired two short-range missiles from its east coast Tuesday -- a day after conducting a nuclear test -- South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, citing a South Korean official.

"The North is continuing its saber-rattling," the unnamed official said.

The firings came a day after the reclusive communist state conducted a nuclear test and fired another short-range missile.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Tuesday the international community would not be intimidated by North Korea's "provocative and destabilizing" missile tests.

"If they want to continue to test and provoke the international community, they're going to find that they will pay a price, because the international community is very clear -- this is not acceptable, it won't be tolerated, and they won't be intimidated," Rice told CNN's "American Morning."

The U.N. Security Council -- which includes North Korea's closest ally, China -- on Monday unanimously condemned Pyongyang's nuclear test as a "clear violation" of international law.

After passing the non-binding statement of criticism, the Security Council is now working on passing "a strong resolution with teeth," Rice said. "Those teeth could take various different forms - they are economic levers, they are other levers that we might pursue," she said.


Several analysts said the test could be an effort to improve Pyongyang's bargaining position, or a sign of a power struggle within North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's government.

Han Park, a scholar at the University of Georgia, said North Korea wants normal diplomatic relations and a non-aggression pact with the United States -- and is "angry enough and hungry enough to sell anything they can put their hands on."

"They are a big-time weapons trader," Park said. "If we are going to try to do something about nonproliferation, we have to include diplomatic relations with North Korea."

Analysts say North Korea is years from having a weapon it can put atop a long-range missile like those in the U.S., Chinese or Russian arsenals.


According to The Korea Herald...the two short-range missiles were shot from near Hahmheung, South Hamgyeong Province, above the East Sea.

The two missiles are believed to be ground-to-air and ground-to-ship missiles and had a range of about 130 kilometers.

Other missile launches are expected in the near future, including the suspected launch of a "KN-01" anti-ship cruise missile. KN-01 missiles, upgraded from [Chinese] Silkworms, have an estimated range of up to 160 kilometers.

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