Quantcast
Latest Stories

NoKor missiles set to fire

Embassies in Pyongyang told to evacuate


SOUTH OF THE BORDER South Korean soldiers with K-55 self-propelled howitzers train near the border city of Paju as tensions soared with the North Korean threat of nuclear strikes on the South and US territories in the Pacific. The United States said it was taking all precautions against the North Korean threat. AFP

SEOUL—North Korea has moved a second midrange missile to its east coast and loaded it on a mobile launcher, a report said on Friday, fueling fears of an imminent firing that will further ramp up tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

Yonhap news agency, citing a top South Korean official, said two intermediate Musudan missiles had been transported by train earlier in the week and “loaded on vehicles equipped with launch pads.”

South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said earlier that the first missile moved on Thursday could reach a “considerable range” but not the US mainland, telling lawmakers it “could be aimed at test-firing or military drills.”

It was the latest incremental move by North Korea, which, incensed at fresh UN sanctions and South Korea-US military drills, has issued a series of apocalyptic threats of nuclear war in recent weeks.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney said on Thursday the barrage of rhetoric fitted a “regrettable but familiar” pattern of North Korean behavior.

“We’re taking all the necessary precautions,” Carney said, citing “prudent measures” to respond to the possible missile threat.

He said such “action and provocative rhetoric only serve to further isolate North Korea, to harm the North Korean economy, to set back any efforts the North Koreans might want to take toward rejoining the community of nations.”

Carney reiterated, however, that Pyongyang “has a path available to it if it seeks to improve its economy and work toward abiding to its international obligations.”

“Threats and provocative actions will not bring [North Korea] the security, international respect and economic development that it seeks,” Carney said.

“We continue to urge the North Korean leadership to heed President Obama’s call to choose the path of peace and come into compliance with its international obligations,” he said.

Ballistic range

The Musudan missile has never been tested, but is believed to have a range of around 3,000 kilometers, which could theoretically be pushed to 4,000 with a light payload.

That would cover any target in South Korea and Japan, and possibly even reach US military bases located on the Pacific island of Guam.

The official told Yonhap that the missiles on mobile launchers had since been hidden in special underground facilities.

“The North is apparently intent on firing the missiles without prior warning,” the official said.

The Pentagon has said it will send missile-interceptor batteries to protect its bases on Guam, a US territory some 3,380 kilometers southeast of North Korea and home to 6,000 American military personnel.

Most experts think the North is not yet capable of mounting a nuclear device on a ballistic missile that could strike US bases or territory.

 

 ‘Moment of explosion’

On Thursday, the North Korean Army said it had received final approval for military action, possibly involving nuclear weapons, against the threat posed by US B-52 and B-2 stealth bombers participating in joint military drills with South Korea.

“The moment of explosion is approaching fast,” the army’s general staff said.

The blistering rhetoric has stoked international concern, with UN chief Ban Ki-moon describing the daily threats from Pyongyang as “really alarming and troubling.”

“I think they have gone too far in their rhetoric and I am concerned that if by any misjudgment, by any miscalculations… this will have very serious implications,” Ban said.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said the threat levels combined with the North’s military capabilities represented a “real and clear danger” to the United States and its allies South Korea and Japan.

There has been speculation that Pyongyang might schedule a firing to coincide with the birthday of the country’s late founder Kim Il-sung in mid-April.

Flight test

A provocative missile test-fired into the sea over Japan is one scenario that analysts have said the North could choose to exit the crisis with a face-saving show of force.

“A flight test would make sense,” said Daniel Pinkston, a North Korea expert at the International Crisis Group.

“But I’d be surprised if they used an untested missile. At this stage in the game, they don’t want to be firing off something that might disintegrate after 30 seconds,” Pinkston told AFP.

Tensions have soared on the Korean Peninsula since December, when the North test-launched a long-range rocket. In February, it conducted its third nuclear test and drew fresh UN sanctions.

Nuclear reactor

Apart from its threats of nuclear attack, the North also warned this week it would reopen its mothballed Yongbyon reactor—its source of weapons-grade plutonium that was closed in 2007 under an aid-for-disarmament accord.

On Thursday, North Korea blocked access to its Kaesong joint industrial zone with South Korea for the second day running, and threatened to pull out its 53,000 workers in a furious reaction to the South’s airing of a “military” contingency plan to protect its own workers there.

The Unification Ministry said there were still 608 South Korean citizens in Kaesong, which was shut on Friday for a scheduled North Korean holiday.

 First posted 12:23 am | Saturday, April 6th, 2013


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Musudan missiles , North korea , nuclear strikes , Pyongyang , South korea , South Korea-US military drills




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  2. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Thoughts on Holy Week
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
Advertisement

News

  • DOH asks co-passengers of OFW carrier to test for MERS-CoV
  • ‘Shouldn’t we move?’ Ferry evacuation under scrutiny
  • 5.5-magnitude quake hits Sultan Kudarat
  • Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  • Firetruck rams California eatery; 15 injured
  • Sports

  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • Business

  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • Technology

  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement