Japan military on alert over North Korea's planned rocket launch

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by Kshatriya87, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. Kshatriya87

    Kshatriya87 Senior Member Senior Member

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    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...lanned-rocket-launch/articleshow/50831271.cms

    SEOUL/TOKYO: Japan placed its military on alert on Wednesday to shoot down a North Korean rocket if it threatens Japan, while South Korea warned the North will pay a "severe price" if it proceeds with a satellite launch that Seoul considers a missile test.

    North Korea should immediately call off the planned launch, which is a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, the South's presidential Blue House said in a statement.

    Seoul's warning came after the North notified UN agencies on Tuesday of its plan to launch what it called an "earth observation satellite" some time between Feb. 8 and 25.

    "North Korea's notice of the plan to launch a long-range missile, coming at a time when there is a discussion for Security Council sanctions on its fourth nuclear test, is a direct challenge to the international community," the Blue House said.

    "We strongly warn that the North will pay a severe price ... if it goes ahead with the long-range missile launch plan," it said.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would work with the United States and others to "strongly demand" that North Korea refrain from what he described as a planned missile launch.

    Japan's Defense Minister Gen Nakatani ordered ballistic missile defense units including Aegis destroyers in the Sea of Japan and Patriot missile batteries onshore to be ready to shoot down any North Korean rocket that threatened Japan.

    The rocket is likely to fly over Japan's southern island of Okinawa in the Pacific Ocean at an altitude of several hundred kilometres.

    Reports of the planned launch drew fresh US calls for tougher UN sanctions that are already under discussion in response to North Korea's recent nuclear test.

    State Department spokesman John Kirby said the United Nations needed to "send the North Koreans a swift, firm message".

    Pyongyang has said it has a sovereign right to pursue a space programme by launching rockets, although the United States and other governments worry that such launches are missile tests in disguise.

    A spokeswoman for the International Maritime Organization, a U.N. agency, said the agency had been told by North Korea it planned to launch the 'Kwangmyongsong' satellite.

    The International Telecommunication Union, another U.N. agency, also told Reuters that North Korea had informed it on Tuesday of plans to launch a satellite with a functional duration of four years in a non-geostationary orbit.

    North Korea said the launch would be conducted in the morning one day during the announced period, and notified the coordinates for the locations where the rocket boosters and the cover for the payload would drop.
    Those locations are expected to be in the Yellow Sea off the Korean peninsula west coast and in the Pacific Ocean to the east of the Philippines, Pyongyang said.


    U.S. officials said last week North Korea was believed to be making preparations for a test launch of a long-range rocket, after activity at its test site was observed by satellite.
    North Korea last launched a long-range rocket in December 2012, sending an object it described as a communications satellite into orbit.
    North Korea also said last month it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb but this was met with scepticism by U.S. and South Korean officials and nuclear experts. They said the blast was too small for it to have been a full-fledged hydrogen bomb.
     
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  3. Kshatriya87

    Kshatriya87 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Things are getting interesting. But then things got a lot interesting a few months back with SK & NK crisis. Situation turned around and they became friendly for a few days. How boring.
     
  4. Kshatriya87

    Kshatriya87 Senior Member Senior Member

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    US, Allies Target North Korea Finances After Rocket Test

    http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/us-allies-target-north-korea-finances-after-rocket-test-1276145

    PAJU, SOUTH KOREA: The United States and its Asian allies tightened the economic screws on North Korea today with the US Senate adopting fresh sanctions and South Korean firms abandoning a joint industrial park that helped fund Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

    The unilateral moves, which also included Japanese sanctions, came with UN Security Council members still stalled on how far to go in punishing the North for its latest nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

    Following Seoul's surprise decision to shut down the Kaesong industrial zone in North Korea, hundreds of South Korean trucks crossed the border today morning to retrieve finished goods and equipment from the factories there.


    Defending what it called an "unavoidable" decision to close the jointly-run park, Seoul said North Korea had been using the hundreds of millions of dollars in hard-currency that it earned from Kaesong to fund its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

    The move was slammed as "utterly incomprehensible" by owners of the 124 South Korean companies operating factories in the estate, who said their businesses were being destroyed by politics.

    'Jump off a cliff'

    "It's as if we're just being ordered to jump off a cliff to our deaths," said Jeong Gi-Seob, head of the Kaesong owners' association.

    While discussion of Kaesong has often focused on its financial importance to the cash-strapped North, it has also been a lucrative concern for many of the companies involved.

    As well as cheap, Korean-language labour, they received preferential loans and tax breaks from the South Korean government, which effectively underwrote their investment.

    Seoul has called on Pyongyang to ensure the "safe return of our citizens" amid concerns that the North Korean authorities might refuse to let everyone leave the park, which lies 10 kilometres (six miles) over the border.

    In September 2014, Pyongyang drafted a new operational regulation -- rejected by Seoul -- that would have allowed the North to detain South Korean businessmen in Kaesong in the event of an unresolved business dispute.

    Safety concerns

    "It would be a lie to say I'm not worried about my personal safety," said one textile company operative, Yoon Sang-Young, as he prepared to cross the border.

    "I'm not sure what the situation is like at the complex. I don't even know whether the North Korean workers are there," Yoon said.

    Born out of the "sunshine" reconciliation policy of the late 1990s, Kaesong opened in 2004 and proved remarkably resilient, riding out repeated crises that ended every other facet of inter-Korean cooperation.

    The only exception was in 2013 during a period of heightened cross-border tensions when Pyongyang effectively shut down the zone for five months by withdrawing its 53,000 workers.

    There has so far been no official reaction from Pyongyang to the shutdown.

    Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said Seoul's move was a "compelling indicator of the seriousness with which they regard the provocative steps" taken by North Korea.

    "More steps are needed to convince the (North Korean) leadership that it is not going to be possible to have access to the international economic system let alone economic or financial aid as long as North Korea continues to pursue nuclear and missile programmes," Russel said.

    New US sanctions

    The US Senate later voted unanimously in favour of expanded sanctions.

    The measure, which must be reconciled with a similar House version that passed last month, would penalise any person or entity importing goods, technology or training related to weapons of mass destruction, or engaging in human rights abuses.

    It also aims to cut down on money laundering and narcotics trafficking -- two major illicit activities believed to be funnelling millions of dollars into leader Kim Jong-Un's inner circle.

    "This dictatorial regime must learn that its actions have consequences," said House Speaker Paul Ryan.

    Japan also unveiled fresh unilateral sanctions on Wednesday, including prohibiting North Korean ships from entering Japanese ports and a total entry ban on North Korean nationals into Japan.

    North Korea's main diplomatic protector, China, has been resisting the US-led push for tougher UN sanctions.

    Although fiercely critical of Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, Beijing is more concerned at the prospect of Kim's regime being pushed to collapse -- triggering chaos on China's border.
     

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