Kim Jong Il


compiled by Dee Finney

No sign of North Korean leader during key holiday

September 15, 2008

In this Korean Central News Agency's undated photo released Aug. 14, 2008 by Korea News Service in Tokyo, North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il, left, inspects women troop at an undisclosed place in North Korea. Speculation that Kim Jong Il may have become ill intensified after he missed a parade Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008 commemorating the communist state's founding 60 years ago. Kim has been absent from public view since mid-August. (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)

(Copyright 2008 The Associated Press

North Korea's Kim 'has collapsed'

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, "almost certainly" has health problems, a South Korean government official has told the country's Yonhap news agency.

The official said Mr Kim had collapsed, but did not say when or how serious his condition was. He said he had not died.

But a North Korea official denied the reports, calling them "worthless".

The reclusive leader failed to appear at a triumphant military parade on Tuesday in the capital, Pyongyang, to celebrate his state's 60th anniversary.

Earlier, Western intelligence officials said Kim Jong-il might have suffered a stroke.

An unnamed US intelligence official told reporters on Tuesday: "It does appear that Kim Jong-Il has had a health setback, possibly a stroke."

The official said Kim appeared to have become ill in "the last couple of weeks".


A good friend called me first thing this morning to tell me she had sent me a terrifying dream in an e-mail.  It follows:

Hi Dee,

I had a dream last night... woke up terrified at exactly 1:11.......

2-27-03 - Dream....

Stan, the kids and I were living some place warm in a big condo complex...  It was early morning and the sun was just coming up.  I was lying in bed, with my eyes closed, just dozing, when I heard a loud roar that seemed to be kind of far away.  I thought to myself that it was low flying fighter jets flying side by side. Oddly enough, it made me feel safe because it was like our area was being guarded.  So I didn't even bother to open my eyes.

Next, there was silence for a short while ... just a few moments or maybe even not more than 10 seconds in the dream.  Then was a sharp bang sound followed by a long long rumbling roar.  It really didn't sound right, but in the dream state I was in inside the dream, I thought it must be a really big plane flying over head the broke the sound barrier (the bang) and was kicking back it's engines to slow down (the long roar).  After that long roar stopped, everything went silent again and I started to go back to sleep in the dream.

THEN ... there was a bang at the door.  Stan got up to get it.  I got up too.  Stan went to the door and it was our neighbor (not in real life, just in the dream).  Stan and I knew him and his wife well.  They were a older couple.  I knew his name in the dream, but can't recall it now.  He said to Stan he was sorry to wake him up, but he needed some help.  He was on his way to work and suddenly his car went dead on the road and wanted to know if Stan could go out and have a look at it.

Stan remarked that it was odd because it was a new car.  The guy then said he was very upset because it was a new car.. then he remarked something about it being the day for dead cars because he has seen several other cars on the road all lost power at the same time.  It was really strange.

Stan didn't seem to catch what he said, cause he was getting dressed and putting his shoes on.  But I did.

I remembered the sounds and thought about a bunch of cars losing their power at the same time and realized that something was terribly wrong.  I quickly put on the TV.

Some of the channels were off all together and they were just static.  The ones that were working were showing a picture of a long , thin room that had a big L shaped table in it ... the L was rounded so it looked almost like a ? but not as curvy ...  It was going up the left side of the room and turning across to the right in the far end of the room. (as you are looking at it)   The table was bare, and white and looked like it was plastic.

The room itself had very little room on either side of the table.  Behind the far end of the table was a cove where there were some kitchen appliances like in a butlers pantry type of thing ... or maybe they were not kitchen appliances, but it was hard to see what they were for sure.

Sitting at the far end of the table was that Korean leader (Kim Jong Il ).  He was sitting there, not moving and looking really emotionally empty ... with blank eyes and no expression on his face.  He was dressed in khaki drab clothes.  There was no sound at all ... like the audio of the channels were off.  I thought that was weird ... I kept thinking it must be Saddam Hussein, but it wasn't.. it was hard for me to believe it was that Korean guy.

I changed channel after channel and that was on every channel that was on ... some channels were just static. 

Eventually I found a channel that had sound.  A woman's voice that sounded like it could have been Greta Van Susteren in tears was saying ... "This is clearly the most terrible, heinous thing to ever happen to the human race.  The death toll is sure to be in the millions and millions.  The devastation is unimaginable ... then the audio went out.

I yelled to Stan to stop, not to go outside yet, to come see the TV.

Then I picked up the phone to call people I knew to see if they were ok.  When I did, rather than a dial tone, I got a tape recording on the phone that said:

............"The telephone system is under control of the emergency broadcast system. The California State Emergency Management Agency has issued the following warning to all residents.  Stay inside your homes.  Under no circumstances go onto Route 2.  All roads must remain open for emergency vehicles only.   Please turn your radio to (it gave a channel I can't recall) for further details"   ...........  Then it started over again.  

ED NOTE: ( Route 2 is from: (a) The point where Santa Monica Boulevard crosses the city limits of the City of Santa Monica at Centinela Avenue to Route 101 in Los Angeles.)

I screamed "Oh My GOD!"  and handed the phone to Stan who looked like he couldn't believe his ears.. he handed the phone to the guy who said "Holy Christ!  I have to get home to the wife!" and he ran off.

Stan hung up the phone and I looked over to the children's bedrooms where they were still sound asleep.

The TV channel that was on was still showing that Korean leader, and the audio came back on and it was just this strange, kind of oriental flute music playing.   The whole thing hit me and I became totally TERRIFIED!!!

I woke up at that moment I was in my own home in bed in the middle of the night, looking at the clock, I could still hear the flute music faintly playing in my head  for a minute or two more.. .like the song had to end before the music stopped. 

Then I turned on the TV just for a moment and realized that nothing had happened... so I shut it off... then did my best to go back to sleep.

The feeling was HORRIBLE ... and very real ... It took a long time to go back to sleep.

Wellllll... that was my dream.



 N. Korea Leader: 'Burn With Hatred' Against U.S.

Nation's Leader Celebrates Birthday

POSTED: 10:22 a.m. EST February 16, 2003

SEOUL, North Korea -- North Korea's leader is urging his people to hate America as they mark his birthday.

Kim Jong Il told the military to be on alert and implored North Koreans to "burn with hatred" against the United States.

The anti-U.S. message in a state-run newspaper appeared at the height of government-orchestrated celebrations for Kim's 61st birthday, which included festivals, speeches and calls for patriotism.

The North Korean report, monitored by a South Korean news agency, says the United States is pushing its nuclear dispute with the North "to the brink of war."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

The Effects of a Nuclear Bomb Explosion on the Inhabitants of a City/PGS Briefing Paper


by Alan F. Phillips, M.D., D.M.R.T.

The detonation of a single nuclear bomb or "warhead" would cause a local disaster on a scale that few people in the world have seen and survived. However, it should not be confused with the effects of a nuclear war, in which many nuclear bombs would be exploded. That would cause the end of civilization in the countries concerned, and perhaps over the whole world, as well as radioactive contamination of whole continents, and terrible damage to the environment and ecology.

The effect of a single bomb would depend on its power, and where it exploded -- high in the air or at ground level -- and whether in a densely populated and built-up area like a city or in open country like an attack on a missile silo.

The nuclear bombs available to the great military powers of the world (China, France, Israel, Russia, United Kingdom, United States) range in power from several megatons down to a few kilotons (and some even smaller).

A "megaton" is the explosive power of one million tons of TNT (1). A "kiloton" is the power of one thousand tons of TNT. Bombs likely to be available to terrorist organizations or governments other than the great military powers would be in the 10- to 100-kiloton range. Bombs made by amateurs might not explode with the full power they were designed for.

The two bombs that have been exploded over cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in August 1945, were in the ten- to twenty-kiloton range.

(1) TNT stands for tri-nitro-toluene, a high explosive commonly used in shells and bombs throughout the Second World War. Weight for weight, its explosive power is roughly equal to that of dynamite.]


First, we will look at the result of a single bomb of one megaton detonated at an altitude of 2,500 metres above a city, to cause maximum blast effects. This is believed to have been a main part of the targeting strategy of the Soviet Union and the United States during the "Cold War". The Russian and U.S. governments have stated that missiles would not remain targeted on cities. However, thousands of missiles and warheads are still deployed. They could be targeted on any city in the world in a matter of minutes, and re-targeted to their original targets in seconds.

Flash and fireball

The first effect of a nuclear explosion in the air is an intense flash of light, as quick as a lightning flash but a thousand times as bright. It is accompanied by a powerful pulse of heat radiation, sufficient to set fire to light combustible material out to a distance of fourteen km., and to paint or wood at half that distance. There is also an intense pulse of X-rays, sufficient to be lethal at a distance of three km.; in fact that would be a rather small factor, since people that close would all or nearly all be killed by the blast that follows.

Immediately after the flash, a "fireball" forms in the air and rises for several seconds, blindingly bright and radiating much heat. On a clear day or night, people up to eighty km. away who happened to be facing that way, or who turned their eyes to look where the flash came from, would be temporarily or permanently blinded.

Within ten km. of "ground zero" (which is the point directly under the explosion) all parts of the body exposed to the flash would be burned deeply into the flesh. Superficial burns would be caused at greater distances, out to fifteen km. at least. Clothing that caught fire would cause many more burns. The weather conditions prevailing, and the time of day the bomb exploded, would both influence the degrees of damage. For example, the radii for skin burns and blindness would depend on the weather. Mist or fog reduces the range of the heat and light rays; on the other hand, darkness dilates the pupils of the eyes increasing the probability of severe eye damage from the flash.


Starting at the same instant, but travelling more slowly (like the sound of thunder following a lightning flash) is an enormously powerful blast wave. It would destroy even reinforced concrete buildings for a radius of two km., and ordinary brick or timber frame houses out to eight km. Major damage to houses would extend out to fourteen km., and windows would be broken at twenty or thirty km. People at a distance, if they realized what had happened when they saw the flash, would have a few seconds to lie down, or even to dive into a ditch or hollow, before the blast hit.

Within three km., almost everyone would be killed, either directly by the blast or by collapsing or flying masonry. At eight km., it is estimated that about fifty per cent of people would be killed by the effects of the blast.

Immediately following the blast wave would be hurricane force winds, first outwards from the explosion, and many seconds later inwards to replace the air that went out. Within four km., the wind would be of tornado force, six hundred km./hr., sufficient to drive straws into wooden utility poles or glass splinters into people, but of course over a much wider area than a tornado. People in the open would be picked up and hurled into any object strong enough to be still standing.


Many fires would have been started by the first flash. Burst fuel tanks, gas mains, and collapsed buildings would provide more fuel, and it is likely that confluent fires would cause a "firestorm". This is when coalescent fires cause sufficient updraft to form their own wind, blowing inwards from all sides and thereby increasing the intensity of the fire. The temperature even in basements and bomb shelters rises above lethal levels, and all available oxygen is used by the fire.

The wind blowing inwards is of gale force, so that even strong uninjured people would have difficulty walking or trying to run outwards away from the fire.

Delayed Radiation ("fallout")

A nuclear explosion, as well as giving off a great pulse of radiation at the time, leaves everything in the vicinity radioactive. In the case of an "air-burst" as just described, most of the radioactive products would be gaseous, or completely vaporized, and would rise with the fireball and come down slowly, if at all. There might be a rainstorm containing radioactivity, as there was at Hiroshima; and the rubble within a kilometre or two of the ground zero would be radioactive. This might hamper later rescue efforts, and affect the very few survivors from that central area, but would not be a major factor.

In any nuclear bomb explosion, a large fraction (a minimum of one-third) of the original fissile material (plutonium or U-235) does not get destroyed. This would result in widespread contamination, increasing the late risk of cancer for those who survived ten to twenty years. (These amounts of plutonium and uranium would have no immediate toxic effects.)

Rescue Problems

If the bomb exploded squarely over the centre of a city, no rescue services within the area of major structural damage would be able to function. All down-town hospitals would be destroyed, and there would be no electricity, water, or telephone communication in the area served by city utilities.

Rescue services from outside would be hampered by impassable roads and the central area of severe damage would be inaccessible. The number of injured in the peripheral area would be so great that emergency services of surrounding cities would be completely overloaded, as would be any surviving suburban hospitals and all the hospitals of neighbouring cities. Even to be seen by a doctor and given analgesics, the injured from one city would need to be distributed among all the hospitals of North America.

The destroyed city would be radioactive. Decisions to attempt rescue work would depend first on a survey of the area by a specialist team with appropriate protection, and then on a policy decision as to how much radiation the rescue teams should be permitted. Willingness of the team members and their unions to accept the risk would be a final factor.

Medical Problems

The estimates for a city of one million or two million struck by a single one-megaton bomb are that around one third of the inhabitants would be killed instantly or fatally injured, one third seriously injured, and the rest uninjured or only slightly injured. That number of injured, if they could be distributed throughout the hospitals of North America, would occupy something like a third of the total number of beds; and of course no hospital can deal adequately with such an influx of urgent cases within a few days.

There might be fifty times as many cases of severe burns as there are burn beds in the whole of North America. A whole year's supply of blood for transfusion would be needed immediately, and of course is not available in storage nor could it be collected from volunteers in a few days.

The injured who reached hospitals would have to be assayed for radioactivity, for the safety of the staff, which would cause a serious bottle-neck and delay in most hospitals.

The result of this huge overload of cases is that most of the injured would die, even though prompt treatment might have saved them. Relatively few would even get reached by rescue teams before they were moribund or dead; the majority would probably die in hours or days without any analgesic, and without food, water, or any assistance.


If the bomb exploded at ground level instead of high above the city, the main difference would be an enormous crater four hundred metres across and seventy metres deep. All the dirt, rock, or masonry excavated would be made into radioactive dust and small debris. The larger particles would quickly descend in the immediate vicinity, and the finer particles and dust would descend in minutes or hours, mainly downwind from the site of the explosion.

The radiation dose to people exposed to this fallout would depend upon many factors, and would be enough to be lethal to anyone in the open or in a frame house for several hundred kilometres downwind. A simple basement "fallout shelter" would afford good protection. It would be necessary to spend a week or more in a fall-out shelter, and it would be impossible to judge when it would be safe to leave without a radiation survey meter or advice from public health authorities.

The area of blast damage would be smaller by perhaps a half, compared with an air-burst, though an earthquake effect would add to structural damage to buildings. The number of immediate deaths might be about half of those from an air-burst, but unless survivors could find protection from fall-out there would be many deaths from radiation sickness days or weeks after the bomb.


If a bomb in the 10- to 20-kiloton range (the likeliest terrorist bomb) were to be exploded near ground level or in a ship in the harbour, the areas of blast, heat, and burn damage would be much smaller, perhaps reaching out to only one-tenth of the distances estimated for the one-megaton air-burst. The numbers of immediately killed and severely injured people would be counted in thousands, not hundreds of thousands.

Exploded on land, the bomb would vaporize all people and buildings in the immediate vicinity, and make a crater that might be as much as one hundred metres in diameter. If in the harbour, there would be a crater in the harbour floor and a tidal wave. The outstanding feature would be a radioactive downpour because much of the water in the harbour would be made radioactive and thrown high into the air as fine and coarse spray.

The explosion at ground level of this type of bomb would probably not cause a firestorm, so rescue operations for the injured might have some degree of success.

In either case, radioactive fallout would be serious, and might make the city, and an area of countryside stretching tens of kilometres downwind, uninhabitable for weeks or years. There would be a number of deaths from radiation sickness, for which there is really no effective medical treatment. The total amount of radioactivity might be comparable with the Chernobyl disaster, more or less depending on many circumstances.


This is a small 'hydrogen bomb' in the 1- to 10-kiloton range without the outer casing of depleted uranium, which in an ordinary hydrogen bomb stops the neutrons that are formed and converts them into additional explosive power. The result is a spray of neutrons that is lethal for a distance of a few hundred metres. These neutrons, unlike the X-rays from the explosion, penetrate a considerable thickness of concrete or steel protection, like defence posts or the sides of a tank. They are designed for 'battle-field' use, not for use against cities. It is commonly said that neutron bombs spare buildings, but we believe this is a misconception. The blast effect would be reduced by half, and would still be enormous.


It is worth considering what circumstances might result in one or just a few nuclear bombs exploding, as opposed to a major nuclear war.

We hope, but we cannot be sure, that a nuclear attack by one of the "great powers" against a smaller country (which has been threatened several times since 1945) would never be carried out for any reason whatever.

There have been serious risks of war involving smaller military powers with nuclear weapons, such as India, Pakistan, and Israel. Clear or veiled threats of nuclear attack have been made by these countries, and might be again. Such use would most probably be directed at cities, and the bombs delivered by aircraft or relatively short-range rocket. It might be air-burst or ground-burst, with bombs in the ten- to one-hundred kiloton range.

Accidental or unauthorized launch of an intercontinental missile or a submarine-launched missile from one of the big nuclear arsenals might destroy a city with a bomb in the range of 100 kilotons to 1 megaton.

A terrorist type of attack is perhaps the most likely risk, and might be done by criminals for blackmail or ransom, or might be directed by an unidentified hostile government against a country too powerful for a declaration of war to be considered. It is possible that a 'hydrogen bomb' might be acquired from one of the superpower arsenals, and delivered by ship to the harbour of a port. More likely is a bomb in the ten-kiloton range exploded at ground level in a city, or in a ship.

An accident to a nuclear weapon, such as dropping it down a silo or from an aircraft, would not cause a full-scale nuclear explosion, but could scatter kilograms of plutonium by detonation of the high-explosive charge. To cause a nuclear explosion, the charge has to be detonated absolutely simultaneously all round the nuclear core, which is done by special electric circuits. Accidental detonation by a shock would not do this, but one wonders whether an electrical fault or a lightning stroke could ever do it.


The above description was set in the context of a North American city. As proliferation of nuclear weapons continues, there is a greater risk that a tropical city may be attacked.

In such circumstances, the deaths and injuries from firestorms and flash burns would be higher than in the North American context, because many of the dwellings would be of light construction, and a higher proportion of the population would be likely to be in the open at the time of the explosion.

The distances quoted from ground zero are derived from a number of secondary sources, which do not all agree. Basically the numbers are derived from United States government measurements made during the years before 1963, when test nuclear explosions were permitted in the atmosphere.

It does not really matter if some of these distances are not accurate. Similarly, even if the estimates of deaths and injuries are considerably over-stated, the consequences of exploding a nuclear bomb and giving rise to a disaster even approaching this magnitude - anywhere on earth - remain completely unacceptable.

The only way to abolish this risk is to get rid of all the nuclear bombs in the world.

The Electronic Blanket

(The Electromagnetic Nuclear Bomb)

High-altitude electromagnetic pulses (HEMP) produced by high-altitude bursts occur in an area of the atmosphere where the density of the air is low. Because of this, the gamma rays can travel very far before they are absorbed. These rays travel downward into the increasingly dense atmosphere. The electric field has a rise time of about 1 nanosecond. Even with such a short pulse, the effects can be tremendous. For a high altitude burst, the effects can also be far reaching. By many calculations, one properly placed nuclear bomb (possibly hidden in a satellite) detonated above the center of the United States could produce huge electrical fields. "The EMP from a single hydrogen bomb exploded 300 kilometers over the heart of the United States could set up an electrical field 50 kV/m strong over nearly all of North America". Since EMP is electromagnetic radiation traveling at the speed of light, all of the area could possibly be effected almost simultaneously. All communications, television, radio, cars, trucks, planes, etc could be effected resulting in an Electronic blanket where all electronics in our country could be neutralized including the knowledge of the Nuclear attack...

FROM:  Neutron Bomb

Huge explosion in North Korea last week: report


SEOUL (AFP) - A huge explosion rocked North Korea (news - web sites)'s northern inland province of Ryanggang last week, triggering a mushroom-shaped cloud near the country's secret underground military base, South Korean news agency Yonhap said.

The explosion appeared to be stronger than an April 22 rail blast which killed more than 150 people near the border with China. However, there were no indications that it was a nuclear blast.

The explosion went off in Kimhyungjik county near the Chinese border on Thursday last week, when North Korea marked the 56th anniversary of its founding, Yonhap said, quoting an unnamed source in Beijing.

The county has an underground base for missiles and a suspected plant for enriching uranium, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a private disarmament think tank.

There was no word on the blast from the highly secretive North Korea, which did not report the April rail accident in Ryongchon, near the western tip of North Korea's border with China, for three days.

But South Korean and US officials dismissed possible links with Pyongyang's alleged nuclear weapons program.

"Our government information for now shows North Korea has not conducted any nuclear test," presidential spokesman Kim Jong-Min said.

"We are trying to confirm whether it is fireworks, a fire in (the) mountains or an accidental explosion," he added.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) also rejected suggestions of a nuclear blast.

"We're trying to find out more about it and what exactly it was if anything, but it does not appear (that it was) a nuclear event," Powell told the Fox News television program Sunday.

Yonhap quoted government officials as saying signs of earth tremors were detected late Wednesday and on Thursday morning, although South Korea (news - web sites)'s meteorological agency said it had no data indicating a nuclear test.

The agency quoted a diplomatic source in Seoul as saying the mushroom cloud had a radius of 3.5 to four kilometers (two to 2.4 miles), adding that the site of the explosion was not far from the North's missile base, it said.

But people living in China's border town of Baoquanshan said they did not hear or see any major explosion last week and Russian officials said radiation levels nearby were stable on the day of the explosion.

The reports come as the US intelligence community debates whether new data on North Korea should be interpreted as a sign the country is preparing for its first nuclear weapons test.

The New York Times reported that US intelligence picked up suspicious movement of materials around several locations deep inside North Korea that US analysts believe could become nuclear test sites.

But US intelligence agency analysts differ on how to interpret the activities, primarily because they have not detected electrical cables leading into an underground test shaft, a telltale sign of preparations for a nuclear blast, the Times report said.

"With respect to reports in the (New York Times) this morning that there is activity going on at a potential nuclear test site, we are monitoring this," Powell added.US officials do not discount the possibility of diplomatic brinksmanship by North Korea ahead of new six-party talks due this month.

Meanwhile, the top US envoy on North Korea, James Kelly, arrived in Beijing for a previously unpublicised visit just hours after the blast was reported.

Kelly's arrival comes amid a flurry of diplomatic activity to persuade North Korea to take part in the multilateral talks on its nuclear programme, with Chinese and British officials both in Pyongyang over the weekend.

North Korean officials knew nothing about the blast in their own country when they met a British government minister in Pyongyang, Britain's domestic Press Association news agency reported.

Bill Rammell, paying a three-day visit to Pyongyang, said it was only through his delegation that North Korean foreign ministry officials learned of the reported explosion, it said in a report from Pyongyang.

Pyongyang stunned the world in August 1998 by test-launching over Japan a Taepodong-1 missile with a range of up to 2,000 kilometers. Report:
Mushroom Cloud Seen After N.Korea Explosion Sat Sep 11, 2004 11:33 PM ET

MORE  SEOUL (Reuters) - A mushroom cloud up to 2.5 miles in diameter was seen after an explosion in a remote area of North Korea near the border with China, Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday, quoting sources in Beijing. The South Korean news agency said Thursday's blast in Kimhyungjik county in Yanggang province appeared to much worse than a train explosion that killed
at least 170 people in April.  South Korean intelligence officials said they were monitoring the report, but declined detailed comment.   

© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.

September 12, 2004
Atomic Activity in North Korea Raises Concerns

ASHINGTON, Sept. 11 - President Bush and his top advisers have received intelligence reports in recent days describing a confusing series of actions by North Korea that some experts believe could indicate the country is preparing to conduct its first test explosion of a nuclear weapon, according to senior officials with access to the intelligence.

While the indications were viewed as serious enough to warrant a warning to the White House, American intelligence agencies appear divided about the significance of the new North Korean actions, much as they were about the evidence concerning Iraq's alleged weapons stockpiles.

Some analysts in agencies that were the most cautious about the Iraq findings have cautioned that they do not believe the activity detected in North Korea in the past three weeks is necessarily the harbinger of a test. A senior scientist who assesses nuclear intelligence says the new evidence "is not conclusive," but is potentially worrisome.

If successful, a test would end a debate that stretches back more than a decade over whether North Korea has a rudimentary arsenal, as it has boasted in recent years. Some analysts also fear that a test could change the balance of power in Asia, perhaps leading to a new nuclear arms race there.

In interviews on Friday and Saturday, senior officials were reluctant to provide many details of the new activities they have detected, but some of the information appears to have come from satellite intelligence.

One official with access to the intelligence called it "a series of indicators of increased activity that we believe would be associated with a test," saying that the "likelihood" of a North Korean test had risen significantly in just the past four weeks. It was that changed assessment that led to the decision to give an update to President Bush, the officials said.

The activities included the movement of materials around several suspected test sites, including one near a location where intelligence agencies reported last year that conventional explosives were being tested that could compress a plutonium core and set off a nuclear blast. But officials have not seen the classic indicators of preparations at a test site, in which cables are laid to measure an explosion in a deep test pit.

"I'm not sure you would see that in a country that has tunnels everywhere," said one senior official who has reviewed the data. Officials said if North Korea proceeded with a test, it would probably be with a plutonium bomb, perhaps one fabricated from the 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods that the North has boasted in the past few months have been reprocessed into bomb fuel.

A senior intelligence official noted Saturday that even if "they are doing something, it doesn't mean they will" conduct a test, noting that preparations that the North knew could be detected by the United States might be a scare tactic or negotiating tactic by the North Korean government.

Several officials speculated that the test, if it occurred, could be intended to influence the presidential election, though a senior military official said while "an election surprise" could be the motive, "I'm not sure what that would buy them."

While the intelligence community's experience in Iraq colors how it assesses threats in places like North Korea, the comparisons are inexact. Inspectors have seen and measured the raw material that the North could turn into bomb fuel; the only question is whether they have done so in the 20 months since arms inspectors were ousted. While Iraq denied it has weapons, the North boasts about them - perhaps too loudly, suggesting they may have less than they say.

On the other hand, the divisions within the administration over how to deal with North Korea mirrors some of the old debate about Iraq. Hard-liners in the Pentagon and the vice president's office have largely opposed making concessions of any kind in negotiations, and Vice President Dick Cheney has warned that "time is not on our side" to deal with the question. The State Department has pressed the case for negotiation, and for offering the North a face-saving way out. While the State Department has won the argument in recent times, how to deal with the North is a constant battle inside the administration.

Some of the senior officials who discussed the emerging indicators were clearly trying to warn North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, that his actions were being closely watched. Asian officials noted that there has been speculation in South Korea and Japan for some time that Mr. Kim might try to stage an incident - perhaps a missile test or the withdrawal of more raw nuclear fuel from a reactor - in an effort to display defiance before the election. "A test would be a vivid demonstration of their view of President Bush," one senior Asian diplomat said.

The intelligence information was discussed in interviews with officials from five government agencies, ranging from those who believe a test may occur at any moment to those who are highly skeptical. They had differing access to the intelligence: some had reviewed the raw data and others had seen a classified intelligence report about the possibility of a test, perhaps within months, that has circulated in Washington in the past week. Most, but not all, were career officials.

If North Korea successfully tested a weapon, the reclusive country would become the eighth nation to have proven nuclear capability - Israel is also assumed to have working weapons - and it would represent the failure of 14 years of efforts to stop the North's nuclear program.

Government officials throughout Asia and members of Mr. Bush's national security team have also feared it could change the nuclear politics of Asia, fueling political pressure in South Korea and Japan to develop a nuclear deterrent independent of the United States.

Both countries have the technological skill and the raw material to produce a bomb, though both have insisted they would never do so. South Korea has admitted in the past few weeks that it conducted experiments that outside experts fear could produce bomb-grade fuel, first in the early 1980's and then in 2000.

Senior officials in South Korea and Japan did not appear to have been briefed about the new evidence, beyond what one called "a nonspecific warning of a growing problem" from American officials. But it is a measure of the extraordinary nervousness about the North's intentions that earlier this week, South Korean intelligence officials who saw evidence of an intense fire at a suspected nuclear location alerted their American counterparts that a small nuclear test might have already occurred. American officials reviewed seismic sensors and other data and concluded it was a false alarm, though the fire has yet to be explained.

[A huge explosion rocked an area in North Korea near the border with China on Thursday and appeared to be much bigger than a blast at the Ryongchon train station that killed 170 people in April, Reuters said, citing a report by the Yonhap news agency of South Korea. The United States "is showing a big interest because the blast was seen from satellites,'' Yonhap quoted an unidentified official in Beijing as saying.

[The cause of the blast has not been determined, but the Beijing official said Washington was not ruling out the possibility that it may be linked to a nuclear test. Yonhap reported that a mushroom cloud up to 2.5 miles in diameter was spotted after the blast in remote Yanggang province in the far northeast.] North Korea has declared several times in the past year that it might move to demonstrate its nuclear power. It is impossible to know how such a test might affect public perceptions of how Mr. Bush has handled potential threats to the United States. Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, has already accused President Bush of an "almost myopic" focus on Iraq that has distracted the United States while North Korea, by some intelligence estimates, has increased its arsenal from what the C.I.A. suspects was one or two weapons to six or eight now.

Mr. Bush, while declaring he would not "tolerate" a nuclear North Korea, has insisted that his approach of involving China, Russia, Japan and South Korea in a new round of talks with the North is the only reasonable way to force the country to disarm. He has refused to set the kind of deadline for disarmament that he set for Saddam Hussein.

When asked in an interview with The New York Times two weeks ago to define what he meant by "tolerate," he said: "I don't think you give timelines to dictators and tyrants. I think it's important for us to continue to lead coalitions that are firm and strong, in sending messages to both the North Koreans and the Iranians."

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting for this article
North Korea Restarts Reactor, Neighbors Urge Calm


— By Paul Eckert and Tabassum Zakaria

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea has restarted the reactor at the heart of its suspected drive for nuclear weapons, further raising the stakes in its diplomatic showdown with the United States, U.S. officials said.

Activating the small research reactor at Yongbyon, the communist North's latest provocative step in a crisis that erupted last year, comes as the United States prepares for war with Iraq and South Korea forms a new government.

"I think this is another example of the regime of North Korea taking escalatory actions in order to gain concessions," said Sean McCormack, the White House National Security Council spokesman. "We seek a peaceful diplomatic solution, but all options remain on the table."

U.S. officials said there was no sign North Korea had reactivated its nuclear fuel reprocessing plant, which would be of even greater concern because it would take the North a step closer to adding to the two nuclear bombs it is believed to have.

"Part of this demonstrates their desire to continue their nuclear weapons program and it's another effort to apply pressure on the United States," another U.S. official said.

Analysts in Seoul saw the move as yet another North Korean attempt to shake new President Roh Moo-hyun, who has been at odds with Washington over how to deal with the crisis. The North upstaged Roh's inauguration on Tuesday by firing a short-range missile into international waters off its east coast.

In Beijing, China and Russia -- friends of North Korea and permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- issued a joint communique promising to push for dialogue between the United States and North Korea to resolve the nuclear crisis.

"China and Russia will try their best to push for dialogue between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States," the communique said.

Asked about the reactor, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said: "We believe the main thing at the moment is that each side keeps calm and exercises restraint and avoids taking action that will escalate the situation."

Reaction in Seoul to North Korea's latest move was muted, as Roh and his new prime minister finalized their cabinet.

"We are trying to find out more about it," said a South Korean government source, adding that Seoul would hold consultations with allies Japan and the United States.

"Even in the United States it is still at the level of intelligence, very raw intelligence," the source added.

In Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi urged a calm and cautious response while the news was being analyzed.

"We have received information that it has been restarted. We don't know yet to what degree," Koizumi told reporters.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the intelligence was obtained through satellite photographs.


New Prime Minister Goh Kun said South Korea would move to tackle what he said was a "serious threat to world peace" as soon as Roh's new cabinet -- named on Thursday -- began its work.

"The new government's primary task will be the peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issues while strengthening the South Korea-U.S. alliance," Goh told reporters.

Roh's new cabinet line-up retained the outgoing Kim Dae-jung government's minister in charge of relations with North Korea in a sign he wants to continue Kim's conciliatory policies.

Roh, who has limited foreign policy experience, wants to avoid using force against the North and said the collapse of the impoverished state would only hurt the South.

"The North is going to keep doing this, trying to test South Korea's new government to see how Roh Moo-hyun will react to this nuclear threat," said Yu Suk-Ryul, an expert on North Korea at Seoul's Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security.

There was no statement on the reactor from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the main outlet for announcements from Pyongyang.

On Wednesday though, KCNA carried a statement by North Korea's Foreign Ministry saying Washington was preparing to strike not only Iraq but also the North.

"The U.S. military strike against Iraq is just a matter of time. The ceaseless saber-rattling staged by the U.S. in South Korea against this backdrop is creating an extremely tense situation where it may make a pre-emptive strike at the DPRK any time," a ministry spokesman said.


The Korean crisis was sparked last October when the United States said Pyongyang had admitted developing a highly enriched uranium program in violation of a 1994 accord, under which the North froze its nuclear program in exchange for two modern reactors and economic assistance.

U.S. officials said North Korea had restarted a five-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon mothballed in 1994. Last month, U.S. satellites showed North Korea was moving fresh fuel rods to Yongbyon, U.S. officials have said.

"This is certainly less provocative than starting up the reprocessing facility, but it is significant nonetheless," said a U.S. official in Washington who declined to be identified.

The United States was working with members of the U.N. Security Council and others to find a solution, McCormack said.

"With each step it takes to advance its nuclear capability North Korea further isolates itself from the international community," he said.

"We have proposed multilateral talks to include North Korea, and remain prepared to engage in those talks."

North Korea demands bilateral talks with the United States. That stance is backed by China, Russia and South Korea -- although Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov also endorsed multilateral talks.

Bush administration officials have seemed increasingly convinced Pyongyang is determined to launch full-scale production of nuclear weapons.

North Korea restarting its reactor did not automatically mean it would next start reprocessing nuclear fuel, but such a move would not be surprising, another U.S. official said.

An even more significant step would be movement of 8,000 spent fuel rods, that have already gone through the reactor, from a holding pond where they have been stored under the 1994 agreement. Plutonium can be extracted by reprocessing the rods.

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved.

North Korea's 'slap in the face' to Powell rattles Asia

By Jasper Becker in Beijing

26 February 2003

North Korea's test-firing of a missile into the Sea of Japan sent judders across Asia yesterday, causing stock markets to fall. The missile launch, which took place as Roh Moo Hyun, the South's President, took office in a ceremony attended by world leaders, seemed designed to embarrass Mr Roh, and was a slap in the face for the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who was at the inauguration.

The new President has said he is determined to build "mutual trust" with the North and to persuade the United States to follow its lead.

General Powell tried to play down the significance of the missile test, saying it appeared to be "fairly innocuous".

On a stopover in Alaska last night, General Powell announced that, contrary to earlier indications, North Korea had chosen not to restart its nuclear reactor and reprocessing plant at Yongbyon. "I think that's a wise choice if it's a conscious choice," he said.

But, he added, bilateral talks, as proposed by the North, were not an option. "We simply will not, because North Korea demands something, yield to that something," General Powell said. "It is their actions that have caused this problem and they cannot be the 'demander' as to the manner in which it's going to be resolved."

The missile test came before General Powell announced the resumption of US food aid to the North. Deliveries stopped in October after the North admitted it had a secret programme to enrich uranium in violation of the 1994 agreement with Japan, South Korea and the US.

In his inaugural address, Mr Roh said the suspicion that the North was developing nuclear weapons posed "a grave threat to world peace". He said: "It is up to Pyongyang whether to go ahead and obtain nuclear weapons or to get guarantees for the security of its regime and international economic support."

Japan said the North had launched two land-to-ship missiles. One failed and the other flew 37 miles across the Sea of Japan. Japanese reports said the missile was made in China. However, China, which has promised the US to exercise its influence over its neighbour and to end missile technology sales, denied the allegation.

The missile tests, which follow an intrusion into South Korean airspace by a North Korean jet last week, are a reminder of how often the North has frustrated the hopes raised by the "Sunshine Policy" of engagement with the North.

Although North Korea has a long practice of staging military incidents to back demands for aid, the timing will hinder efforts to persuade the US to re-open direct talks with the North. Australia, China and South Korea in urging General Powell to agree to the North's demands for bilateral talks and a non-aggression treaty.

Washington says North Korea broke the terms of the last deal, negotiated bilaterally in 1994, and it now wants discussions only with all neigh- bouring countries taking part.

Mr Roh called for a shift in a relationship forged in the Cold War. Washington is now considering moves to lessen tensions including moving its large military base out of Seoul.

The missile test caused particular alarm in Japan, which is considering major changes to its military strategy to cope with the threat from the North. Japan was shocked when, in 1998, North Korea fired a three-stage missile that flew 600 miles over Japan.

Diplomats say North Korea fears that after the US has seen off Saddam Hussein, it will turn its attention to North Korea and try to overthrow the leader, Kim Jong Il. General Powell denied that the US had a policy of "regime change".

Australian Broadcasting Corporation


Late night news & current affairs




Broadcast: 26/2/2003

N Korean crisis escalating

In recent weeks, Pyongyang has withdrawn from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and threatened pre-emptive strikes against US targets if it believed the US was about to attack. Yesterday, as the new South Korean president was being sworn in, the North test-fired a missile into the Sea of Japan. Its nuclear ambitions have so alarmed neighbours that Japan's defence minister said his country would have to consider going nuclear itself. The crisis has accelerated, along with the US plans for a war against Iraq. Not surprisingly, after President Bush named North Korea as part of an "axis of evil", Pyongyang claims it could be next on the US hit list, and it's arming itself against that possibility. So how far could this crisis escalate? Joining Tony Jones is Kenneth Quinones. He was the US State Department's North Korea affairs officer and then a Korea analyst in the department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research during the 1990s. He's now the director of the Korea Program at the International Centre, a Washington research institute.


Compere: Tony Jones

Reporter: Tony Jones

TONY JONES: Back to our top story now - the crisis over North Korea.

In recent weeks, Pyongyang has withdrawn from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and threatened pre-emptive strikes against US targets if it believed the US was about to attack.

Yesterday, as the new South Korean president was being sworn in, the North test-fired a missile into the Sea of Japan.

Its nuclear ambitions have so alarmed neighbours that Japan's defence minister said his country would have to consider going nuclear itself.

The crisis has accelerated, along with the US plans for a war against Iraq.

Not surprisingly, after President Bush named North Korea as part of an "axis of evil", Pyongyang claims it could be next on the US hit list, and it's arming itself against that possibility.

So how far could this crisis escalate?

Joining me now is Kenneth Quinones.

He was the US State Department's North Korea affairs officer and then a Korea analyst in the department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research during the 1990s.

He's now the director of the Korea Program at the International Centre, a Washington research institute.

And he joins us now from the US capital.

Kenneth Quinones, what are the chances the Korean crisis could end in war?

KENNETH QUINONES, INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH CENTRE: Unfortunately, I do believe those chances tend to be increasing, rather than decreasing.

So long as the Bush Administration holds off from directly engaging in bilateral talks with Pyonyang, the risk of war will continue to escalate.

TONY JONES: I'll get on to those bilateral talks in a moment.

Just sketch out for us, if you could, what such a war would be like.

KENNETH QUINONES: It would be devastating, particularly for the people of north-east Asia.

Initially it would have a very negative, profound impact on the populations of South Korea, possibly several cities in Japan, because of North Korea's ballistic missile capability.

Additionally, you would have a massive retaliatory attack from the United States and South Korea focused on North Korea.

In the process, tens of thousands of people would die.

Panic would ensue.

Economic activity throughout north-east Asia would be disrupted.

Ultimately, it's even conceivable that the United States and China might come to a point of hostile confrontation.

TONY JONES: How likely do you think in the initial stages would a nuclear exchange be, if North Korea were attacked by America?

KENNETH QUINONES: I don't think that's a real option at the outset.

First, I don't think the North Koreans really possess a nuclear capability at this time, and I'm sure the United States would do everything in its ability to refrain from using such weapons.

I think we're talking primarily about a conventional type of confrontation.

TONY JONES: How long do you think we've got, though, before the North Koreans did gain a nuclear capacity, and does that possibility actually accelerate, in itself, the chances of a conflict?

KENNETH QUINONES: Well, I understand Secretary of State Powell yesterday told reporters that there's no indication North Korea has restarted its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon nuclear research centre, nor is there any indication that it has resumed reprocessing of nuclear spent fuels.

So I think much of North Korea's claims regarding restarting its nuclear program have been largely rhetoric.

That's all positive, and I think that should continue.

North Korea wants negotiations and so long as it holds off from actually restarting its nuclear weapons program, the possibility of bilateral talks remains open.

Once it reprocesses or actually takes steps in the direction of nuclear weapons manufacture, it will lose the opportunity of bilateral talks, but also lose support from Beijing and Moscow.

So I don't really see the North Koreans -

TONY JONES: I'm surprised to hear you say that you're certain that they have no nuclear weapons.

I thought there was a CIA assessment that they may indeed have a number of nuclear devices already.

KENNETH QUINONES: I think the CIA assessment is always a worst-case scenario.

When I was in the Department of State and representing the Department of State, I was involved in a national intelligence estimate, and we concluded that there was a possibility that North Korea had sufficient plutonium, not necessarily nuclear weapons.

That's a very important distinction.

I am quite confident North Koreans have the plutonium.

I don't think they've gone beyond that to actually assembling nuclear weapons.

TONY JONES: Now, you still speak today to North Korean officials, I believe.

Do you think that we'd be in the position we are today if President Bush had not named North Korea as part of an axis of evil?

KENNETH QUINONES: I do believe we would be in a much less stressful situation if the President had restrained his rhetoric.

I think also contributing to the increasing tensions is not only President Bush's rhetoric, but also his diplomatic approach to this situation.

If you are going to deal with a crisis, the only way to resolve it is through direct talks, not through indirect rhetoric, vented through international media.

Unfortunately, I think the Bush Administration has accented rhetoric over negotiation.

TONY JONES: Now, as we said earlier, you were the first US diplomat to meet Kim Il-Sun.

What's your assessment of his son, Kim Jong-Il, who's obviously taken over from the father?

KENNETH QUINONES: I think -- a realistic estimate has to give Kim Jong-Il credit for having pulled his nation back from the brink of collapse, bankruptcy and famine.

In that regard, he has accomplished some rather significant progress.

Particularly, he has been able to garner international aid from the United Nations and the international humanitarian organisations.

He has also increased the number of nations that maintain diplomatic relations with him.

So he has put his nation on a much firmer footing.

I think there's a lot of capability behind his physical appearance and the other negative images that we often hear of him.

TONY JONES: Is he really directing things now?

Is he the one who, in the end, President Bush or Colin Powell ought to be talking to if there are indeed bilateral talks some time soon?

KENNETH QUINONES: Yes, I'm sure he is in control of the situation in Pyongyang.

It's clear he is heavily dependent upon his ageing military advisers for advice and policy recommendations, but nevertheless he is the man who holds ultimate power.

TONY JONES: As you know, our own foreign minister, Alexander Downer, an ironclad ally of the United States, has been urging Colin Powell to tell Washington that they need to start quickly those bilateral talks with North Korea.

Why is Washington resisting this?

KENNETH QUINONES: Washington seems to believe that the ultimate purpose here is not necessarily disarming North Korea.

I do believe Washington is looking beyond that to ultimately disbanding or having the Kim Jong-Il regime collapse.

Bilateral talks tend to lend diplomatic legitimacy to a regime.

Washington believes holding back will further nudge the Kim Jong-Il regime toward collapse.

I disagree with that.

I don't think that is in the works.

Kim Jong-Il, as I said before, has already pulled his country back from the brink of collapse.

He now has staunch continuing support from Beijing and Moscow, and so long as he carefully crafts his policy, avoids nuclear reprocessing and so forth, I think he will be able to maintain his position.

The Bush Administration's position in short is not realistically assessing the future capabilities of the North Korean regime.

TONY JONES: So you believe the Bush policy in North Korea as in Iraq and indeed Iran is actually regime change and that's driving this?

KENNETH QUINONES: Yes, I think that's actually the ultimate goal of the Bush Administration's objectives here.

Publicly, upfront, they're emphasising weapons of mass destruction and so forth, but I think they believe the only way to rid a country of weapons of mass destruction is to get rid of the regime that supports such weapons.

TONY JONES: So how do you see this panning out?

I mean, clearly what the United States want -- what Colin Powell is talking about is having this whole thing moved into the UN Security Council, and I suppose that will make the North Korean's fear that they will now be subject, or eventually be subject, to a series of resolutions demanding that they disarm in the same way as has happened with Iraq.

If that happens, what sort of outcome do you see?

KENNETH QUINONES: I think we've seen in the case of Iraq, the harder the Bush Administration is pushed on Iraq, the greater the international consensus favouring inspections, favouring a diplomatic outcome, and increasing opposition to war.

I think we're seeing the same phenomena regarding Pyongyang.

The harder the Bush Administration pushes on Pyongyang and makes demands on Pyongyang, the greater the international consensus that the North Korea crisis be resolved through direct bilateral negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang, and if this issue moves to the United Nations Security Council, once in the Security Council, Beijing and Moscow will then have the leverage to influence Washington by saying, "Look, if you want a resolution condemning North Korea, you, Washington, will have to meet us halfway and engage the North Koreans in bilateral talks".

TONY JONES: Now, the North Koreans have already threatened they might use the pre-emptive doctrine that the United States is now sort of talking about quite openly in relation to Iraq.

They might use it themselves to defend against any possible attack from the United States.

Is that a serious threat or or is that just sabre-rattling?

KENNETH QUINONES: I tend to believe it is more sabre-rattling than anything else.

Pyongyang is noted for making such lofty claims and not following up on them.

The reason I think Pyongyang would hold off on a pre-emptive strike is it would then lose China's commitment to defend North Korea.

The Chinese-North Korean Defence Treaty only provides -- obligates China to defend North Korea if there is a foreign attack on North Korea.

It does not obligate Beijing to defend Pyongyang in the event of a North Korean attack on another nation.

The same for Moscow.

Moscow is no longer committed to North Korea's defence.

So North Korea stands alone essentially and I think that will restrain it.

TONY JONES: Very briefly, as a final question, how likely do you think we are to see a regional nuclear arms race of the sort that the Japanese Defence Minister has been warning about?

KENNETH QUINONES: I think that's still quite a way down the road.

I don't believe the Japanese people are ready to see their country go in that direction, and I think the South Koreans likewise don't want to go in that direction, and all the nations in the region would prefer a peaceful outcome and not to go nuclear.

TONY JONES: We will have to leave it there.

Kenneth Quinones, thank you very much for getting up so early in the morning to join us.


27 February 2003 1751 hrs (SST) 0951 hrs (GMT)

China seems reluctant to rein in North Korea over nuclear standoff

By China Bureau Chief Maria Siow

The United States has been urging China to exert a stronger influence on North Korea to defuse the nuclear standoff.

But China has insisted that the issue should be settled by talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

In terms of regular contacts with the North Korean leadership, no country is in a better position than China.

But more than just political influence, China also has strong economic leverage over Pyongyang.

Half of China's foreign aid goes to North Korea, and Beijing supplies 40 percent of the impoverished nation's food needs.

China also provides over 80 percent of North Korea's oil imports, most of which, critics say, is used to fuel the country's military machine.

Yet there are few signs that Beijing is prepared to use its leverage to rein in what has been described as Pyongyang's dangerous behaviour.

Ms Zhang Qiyue, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said: "The US said the issue should be solved in a multilateral setting. But the basic consensus is that this is a bilateral issue between the US and North Korea. We hope the problem can be solved through dialogue and other political means."

This is something which Washington disagrees.

Mr Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, said: "We are prepared to address this issue with North Korea in a multilateral context in which China and other nations can participate. It's a matter for China, it's a matter for South Korea, it's a matter for Japan, it's a matter for Russia, it's a matter for the UN, the IAEA, it's a matter for the US."

Observers say China's influence over North Korea isn't as strong as Washington and its allies make it out to be.

Professor Lu Qichang, Senior Fellow at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said: "North Korea isn't keen to listen to China. It's unhappy that China, which was once socialist, is now capitalist. The two countries now have different opinions. North Korea has emphasised that it's the world's only truly socialist country."

China is reluctant to cut off aid to its neighbour as it doesn't want to see the total collapse of the North Korean economy.

Apart from regional stability, a collapse will also lead to a flood of refugees on Chinese soil.

Indeed, China's partnership with North Korea, formed along ideological lines and cemented by the Korean War, has never been more severely tested.

Still, it would be wrong to say that Beijing is unconcerned about North Korea's nuclear threat.

Beijing is certainly worried that the threat from Pyongyang would lead to a nuclear arms race in the region.

And a re-militarised and re-armed Japan is the last thing that China wants to see.

Copyright © 2003 MediaCorp News Pte Ltd

SEOUL, South Korea (March 2, 2003) - North Korea warned Sunday of ''nuclear disasters'' around the world if Washington attacks the communist state, while its civilian leaders urged greater cooperation between Pyongyang and Seoul to ease the crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

The North's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper accused the Central Intelligence Agency of preparing a surprise attack on the nation's nuclear facilities that are suspected of being used to make atomic bombs.

''If the U.S. imperialists ignite a war on the Korean Peninsula, the war will turn into a nuclear war,'' Rodong said. ''As a consequence, the Koreans in the north and south and the people in Asia and the rest of the world will suffer horrifying nuclear disasters.''

The report, carried by the North's state-run KCNA news agency, claimed that Washington put its forces around the peninsula on ''semi-war footing'' and ''is pushing ahead with nuclear war preparations in full swing.''

Pyongyang accuses Washington of inciting the nuclear standoff as a pretext for an invasion. Washington has repeatedly said it has no plans to attack North Korea, but stresses that ''all options are on the table.''

In Seoul on Sunday, North Korea's religious and civic leaders took part in inter-Korean religious masses and urged greater cooperation between the two Koreas.

''Preventing war through national cooperation is the most urgent task of the nation,'' said Ri Mun Hwan, a senior North Korean delegate. ''If war breaks out, the South cannot be safe and the entire nation will face disaster.''

Another delegate, Oh Kyung Woo, said the ''United States is threatening a nuclear war, but if war breaks out both South and North will incur damages,'' according to South Korea's national Yonhap news agency.

''Foreign forces will never give us reunification. We must cooperate with each other,'' Oh was quoted as saying.

The comments were made during religious masses at a cathedral, a church, a Buddhist temple and other religious locations, which were attended by thousands of South Koreans.

The ceremonies were a part of an inter-Korean festival to mark the anniversary of a major independence uprising against Japanese colonial rule on March 1, 1919.

Pyongyang sent 105 delegates to Seoul on Saturday for the three-day festival. Both Koreas mark the uprising as a major holiday. Japan ruled the peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

Rodong, monitored by South Korea's national Yonhap news agency, reiterated that the North's nuclear activities were ''strictly for peaceful purposes and poses no threat to anyone.''

''Crushing the U.S. plot to attack North Korea is a very important issue related to peace and safety of Asia and the world, the existence and future of mankind,'' Rodong said.

Raising tensions last week, North Korea test-fired a missile into the sea off its east coast. Pyongyang also reactivated a 5-megawatt reactor that could produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, U.S. and South Korean officials said.

On Saturday, North Korea said nuclear war could break out on the peninsula at ''any moment,'' after South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun warned of a ''calamity'' unless the standoff is resolved peacefully and quickly.

The dispute flared in October when Washington said North Korea had admitted pursuing a nuclear program, which violated a 1994 pact.

Washington and its allies cut off oil shipments to the impoverished communist state. The North responded by saying it would reactivate its frozen facilities. It also expelled U.N. monitors and withdrew from the global Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

AP-NY-03-02-03 1019EST

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. Kim offers asylum to Saddam: Report



HONG KONG: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has offered political asylum to  Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, according to a front page story in Sunday's South China Morning Post.

The bizarre tale appears to be the kind of news story that newspapers like to publish on April Fool's Day, except for one thing: it has a credible source.

He is Stanley Ho Hung-sun, the wealthy magnate who runs Macau's gambling casinos, through whom "high-level North Korean officials have offered the Iraqi dictator and his family 11th hour sanctuary in a mountain in North Korea".

Chinese billionaires like Ho do not always possess political acumen but it is usually difficult to take them for a ride. Ho told the SCMP that senior level North Korean officials "told me that there really was a chance to prevent a war and (they) said that Saddam Hussein could step down two days before the US and Britain started to bomb Iraq and he (Saddam) could call democratic elections".

Ho goes on to say that "one of the conditions of those elections would be that none of the candidates would be allowed funding from the US, ensuring that there was no American interference in a future Iraqi democratic state. Anyone who did accept money from the US would be shot"--presumably by a Saddam who had not entirely stepped down prior to the election.

Ho extolled this initiative by saying that "it could be (Saddam Hussein's) trump card. North Korea is willing to give Saddam and his family a mountain in North Korea."

The news story seems to be straight out of Ripley's “Believe It Or Not” except for one thing: Ho does have North Korean connections. The SCMP notes that in 1999 Stanley invested US$30 million in the North when he opened a Casino Pyongyang next to the Korean Workers Party headquarters Date=7/6/99


Title=Korea / Missile Range

Byline=John Larkin

Dateline- Seoul

Intro: News media in Seoul say South Korea has proposed that it be allowed to develop missiles with a longer range of up to 500  kilometers as a deterrent against invasion by communist North Korea, John Larkin reports from Seoul.

Text: South Korea has been pushing for some time to alter a 20-year arrangement with the United States, which restricts it to producing missiles with a maximum range of 180 kilometers.

Newspapers in Seoul report President Kim requested the 500 kilometer range during a meeting with President Clinton in Washington Friday. The two allies had previously been discussing an extension of the allowable range to 300 kilometers only.

The reports say President Clinton listened attentively to President Kim's proposal. But analysts were doubtful Washington will agree, as it fears the step could ignite a regional arms race.

A spokesman for the U-S embassy in Seoul would not comment on the media accounts, but South Korean officials said the proposal was on the table for discussion with Washington.

President Kim's request comes amid fears Pyongyang is about to  test a long-range missile last August  it sent shockwaves through the region when it test-fired a medium range Taepodong missile over Japanese territory.

Security analysts say South Korea's push for greater missile range is meant to send an uncompromising message to North Korea - after talks between the two Koreas in Beijing last week failed to ease old and new tensions on the peninsula. They say Seoul wants to show Pyongyang that it is not the only regional military power capable of using missiles as a bargaining chip.

The two Koreas have been unable to resolve most differences since the end of the Korean war in 1953. (Signed)


NORTH KOREA - Welcome to The War

With President Bush's chilling statements suggesting North Korea could be a target in the war on terrorism, the U.S. may have actually lost ground in the quest to find out just what weapons Pyongyang has.

By John Larkin/SEOUL and Murray Hiebert/WASHINGTON
Issue cover-dated December 13, 2001

THE FEBRUARY 8 Vinalon Factory on North Korea's east coast produces a stiff, dye-resistant, virtually unusable textile invented by a local scientist and touted by Pyongyang as superior to nylon. The factory is also rumoured to manufacture a more sinister commodity: chemical weapons.

Finding out exactly what is produced at the facility, and at others in North Korea believed to manufacture and test weapons of mass destruction, is emerging as a controversial new priority for Washington as it prepares the second phase of its declared war on terrorism.

United States officials expressing that priority have stoked fears in Seoul that constructive dialogue with Pyongyang could be the first casualty of this next phase.

Not for the first time, North Korea has been grouped with Iraq as part of Washington's military campaign against Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks. On November 19, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton told a meeting of the Biological Weapons Convention in Geneva that North Korea's biological warfare programme ranked second only to Iraq's as a threat to international security. "North Korea likely has the capability to produce sufficient quantities of biological agents for military purposes," said Bolton.

Those comments--which were cleared by the U.S. National Security Council--were the strongest yet by a senior U.S. official about North Korea's biological weapons programme, about which little is known. Five days later, President George W. Bush again linked North Korea with the war on terrorism. Calling on Pyongyang to permit inspections of its weapons sites, Bush told reporters: "We want to know. Are they developing weapons of mass destruction? And they ought to stop proliferating. So part of the war on terror is to deny terrorist weapons."

Nerves jangled in Seoul as Pyongyang was mentioned in the same breath as Iraq. Short of an invasion from the North, it is unlikely that Seoul would agree to a U.S. military strike against North Korea. But there are fears that a hardening attitude in Washington could lead to a stand-off similar to the showdown in 1994 over Pyongyang's nuclear programme. Conflict was narrowly averted then when former President Jimmy Carter brokered a deal with Pyongyang.

Pro-engagement figures see history repeating itself unless the Bush administration grasps the difference between Iraq, which refuses to negotiate away its weapons, and North Korea, which has signaled a willingness to do so.

"It's essentially impossible for George Bush to blow North Korea up," says John Pike, director of, a defense-policy think-tank. "But he can certainly embark on a policy of malign neglect in which Washington ignores North Korea's attention-getting gestures, like missile tests, forcing North Korea to escalate its attention-getters and having them misinterpreted as preparations for war."

Donald Gregg, a former U.S. ambassador to Seoul, sees a crisis on the horizon if the Bush administration's policy on North Korea is hijacked by hawks like Bolton and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. "I think Bolton is an ideologue and a hardliner and has behaved irresponsibly" by delivering his speech, says Gregg. In June Gregg helped goad Bush back toward conciliation with Pyongyang by explaining the benefits of dialogue in a memo sent to George Bush Senior, who passed it on to the White House. "I'm not saying they don't have [weapons], but the way to get rid of them is not to bully but to engage."

At a minimum, Washington is sending mixed signals. The remarks by Bush and Bolton contrast with Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James Kelly's generally upbeat and pro-engagement assessment in late November. It could be the good cop, bad cop routine. But some observers worry that the remarks by Bush and Bolton are a more honest expression of the administration's stance toward Pyongyang than are its public comments supporting engagement. "Bush's mood towards North Korea is decidedly sceptical, borderline hostile," says a congressional aide handling East Asia. 

Bush's remarks, as his spokesman Ari Fleischer later stressed, contained nothing new and went nowhere near proposing a military strike against North Korea. Nonetheless, the State Department hurriedly contacted South Korea's embassy in Washington with reassurances that the U.S. still supported of Seoul's policy of engaging North Korea, according to a senior South Korean government official.

But in the context of a broadening war against terrorism to include nations which supply terrorists with missiles or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, the remarks created considerable unease in Seoul. South Koreans point out that Bush seemed to call for inspections of the entire gamut of Pyongyang's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction--something North Korea is unlikely to concede.

"As a citizen of Seoul, I know that if Bush wants a second war against North Korea, South Korea will suffer greatly," says Choi Won Ki, a reporter covering North Korea for Seoul's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper. Korean policymakers fret that the heightened rhetoric could wreck gains made in engaging North Korea, which include increased business exchanges, family reunions and a fading of military tensions.

Explains the senior South Korean official: "It created unnecessary concern not only for the South Korean public but also in North Korea that the Korean peninsula can be a battleground again. We want a peaceful atmosphere on the peninsula."

Dialogue with North Korea, a process pushed hardest by South Korea's President Kim Dae Jung, who last year won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, has been almost nonexistent since Bush took office. Pyongyang broke off talks with Washington in March after Bush publicly stated his mistrust of Kim Jong Il.  Inter-Korean talks have been fitful at best since then, despite Secretary of State Colin Powell's insistence that he was ready for talks with North Korea "anywhere, any time."

Powell's offer was viewed as a softening of Washington's stance. But September 11 has bolstered the hardliners. One consequence may be the suspension of construction of two light-water reactors that a consortium of nations agreed to build for North Korea in return for dismantling its older reactors capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium.

The Bush administration is pushing for earlier inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure North Korea's nuclear facilities pose no threat before key components for the new reactors are shipped. "If the situation is like this I don't think North Korea will fully cooperate," says the senior South Korean official.

Larry Niksch, an Asia specialist with the Library of Congress, believes Bush's broad-brush reference on November 26 to all weapons of mass destruction might indicate a cloudy future for the reactor project. "With the new emphasis post-September 11, the Bush administration may speed up a decision on whether to continue or suspend the project if North Korea is not in compliance."

What weapons is North Korea hiding? It is believed to have abided by the terms of the 1994 Agreed Framework under which it gets the new reactors. But the Central Intelligence Agency believes Pyongyang might have kept enough plutonium to build one or two nuclear weapons. The inspections are meant to find whether it did.

North Korea has the missile systems required to deliver a nuclear warhead. By nature difficult to conceal from satellite cameras, North Korea's missile sites are well documented, though there is dispute over the threat they pose. The best known site is Musudan, on the northeast coast near the towns of Nodong and Taepodong (literally "cannon town")--after which the North's two biggest missiles are named. It is from Musudan that Nodong missiles with a range of 1,000 kilometres were tested to a range of 500 kilometres in 1993.

In August 1998, Pyongyang stunned the world by testing a three-stage Taepodong 1 missile over Japan. The missile splashed into the Pacific Ocean. Work is believed to be well advanced on a Taepodong 2 missile, capable of travelling more than 4,000 kilometres. No tests have been conducted since 1998, but test preparations at Musudan for a rocket the size of the Taepodong 2 were detected by U.S. intelligence in 1999. According to media reports, North Korea may have tested Taepodong missile engines at Musudan, without lift-off, in late 1999 and early 2000. 

Exports of these missiles, and the transfer of technical know-how, provide North Korea with its biggest export earner: up to $1 billion in a good year, according to Ko Young Hwan, a former North Korean diplomat who defected in 1991. He told the U.S. Senate in 1997 that Pyongyang sold its missiles mainly to Iran, Syria, Egypt and Libya. Most recently, according to newspaper reports in Israel and South Korea, North Korea sold Nodong missiles and manufacturing technology to Cairo earlier this year.

According to defector reports and analysis of the missile programmes of several Middle Eastern states, North Korea's clients fall into two groups: those like Syria that only buy missiles and others like Iran and Egypt that cooperate with Pyongyang on missile development as well as buying its technology.

Countries in the latter group test missiles based on North Korean blueprints, which could explain Kim Jong Il's willingness to place a moratorium on such tests until 2003 in return for economic and diplomatic benefits from the U.S. Intelligence sources say that the Nodong was first tested by North Korea. Further tests were carried out by Iran, which had based its Shebab 3 missile on the Nodong technology bought from Pyongyang.

The North's chemical weapons programme is believed to be mature. With at least eight factories producing nerve, blister, choking and blood agents in bulk since 1989, estimates of its stockpile run from 250 tonnes to 5,000 tonnes. Production of biological weapons, the renewed concern since the recent anthrax attacks in the U.S., was accelerated at the direction of North Korean leader Kim Il Sung in 1990, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

The FAS says the North probably has limited quantities of biological toxins including anthrax, yellow fever and smallpox. Though it joined the Biological Weapons Convention in 1987, North Korea has refused to be bound by it, one of the factors behind Undersecretary Bolton's comments on November 19.

But pinning North Korea down won't be easy. Han Sung Joo, who was South Korea's foreign minister during the 1993-94 nuclear crisis, when North Korea breached the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, says extending the war on terrorism by demanding access to the North's biological weapons and missile facilities would be a long shot at best. 

"Unlike in 1994, there's no legal instrument to fall back on," says Han. "Therefore it would be very difficult to bring the international community to join the U.S. effort to open up North Korea to inspections."

Bolton is pushing for a toughening of the Biological Weapons Convention to ensnare nations that flout it. But the U.S. will find it tough to move ahead on North Korean chemical and biological weapons without hard evidence of North Korean sales of such to the likes of Al Qaeda. To date, the only evidence to support this notion was a sketchy news report in November quoting a Taliban witness saying he saw a germ-warfare specialist who may have been North Korean instructing Al Qaeda operatives.

Given these difficulties, Washington might find it has little choice but to show more patience with North Korea. "Our hands are tied when dealing with North Korea," explains a former U.S. State Department official. "We can't do military action. The administration is starting to play up the biological weapons programme, but I don't think they've discovered anything new in North Korea. It's just a lot of public posturing."

Washington may be playing games of its own. South Korean officials hold the hope that the Bush administration's new focus on North Korea is more about building domestic support for its missile-defense system than freezing out Pyongyang.

Another positive for those who seek engagement: A minor shooting incident on November 27 in the Demilitarized Zone notwithstanding, North Korea's response to the American hard line has been more muted than expected. Does this mean the Taliban's demise has scared Pyongyang? Maybe--but probably not enough to let America in on the secrets of the February 8 Vinalon Factory.


North Korea is one of seven nations on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorism sponsors. In 1983 it bombed the South Korean cabinet in Burma. In 1987 its agents bombed a South Korean airliner, killing 115 people. In recent years it has condemned terrorism and refrained from high-profile attacks. The State Department, though, says Pyongyang maintains links with terror groups.
U.S. within range of new N. Korea Missile Test  6/16/2006


North Korean leader Kim Jong Il during an inspection of the (North) Korean People's Army. North Korea has stepped up preparations for an apparent missile test and could conduct a launch in the next few days.
Korea Central news Agency via Korea News Service/AP
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il during an inspection of the (North) Korean People's Army. North Korea has stepped up preparations for an apparent missile test and could conduct a launch in the next few days.
WASHINGTON (AP) — North Korea is accelerating preparations for testing a missile that has the potential to strike the United States, a U.S. government official said Friday. A test of the Taepodong-2 long-range missile may be imminent, the official said.

The official agreed to speak but only on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

The official said the Bush administration is very concerned about activities that point toward a test, but declined to elaborate.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters that any missile launch by the North Koreans would be a provocation and would violate their 1999 commitment not to carry out such tests.

He had no comment on reports that a North Korea test launch may be in the offing.

Japanese and South Korean officials also have expressed concern in recent days about the reported North Korean missile launch activities. Kyodo News agency in Japan reported that an additional rocket section had arrived at a North Korean launch site within the past two days.

In Tokyo, the Japanese government responded to news reports about a possible test by warning that any such step would jeopardize the country's security.

The reports of a possible launch come after a prolonged hiatus in six-party nuclear disarmament talks designed to create a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

Persistent efforts by the United States and other members of the group to persuade North Korea to resume the discussions have not been successful. There have been no discussions since last November.

North Korea is demanding that the United States revoke sanctions that Washington imposed several months ago in response to alleged North Korean counterfeiting of U.S. dollars and other currency violations.

McCormack reaffirmed on Friday that the United State strongly supports a resumption of the six-party talks.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

Rice calls N. Korea missile threat 'provocative'

Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:34am ET14

By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON, June 19 (Reuters) - The United States and Japan warned North Korea on Monday against a missile launch that experts say could reach as far as Alaska and threatened harsh action if the test flight goes ahead.

The warning coincided with the assessment by some officials that Pyongyang may have finished fueling for the launch of its long-range Taepodong-2 missile.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said a missile launch by North Korea would be viewed as a very serious matter and "provocative act" that would further isolate Pyongyang.

"We will obviously consult on next steps but I can assure everyone that it would be taken with utmost seriousness," said Rice at a news conference.

In Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who has twice met North Korean leader Kim Jong-il since taking office in 2001, said Tokyo, Washington and Seoul were all urging Pyongyang to act rationally and with restraint.

"Even now, we hope that they will not do this," Koizumi told a news conference. "But if they ignore our views and launch a missile, then the Japanese government, consulting with the United States, would have to respond harshly."

Koizumi declined to specify what steps Japan would take. The United States is consulting fellow members of the U.N. Security Council, said Washington's ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton.  

Bolton said Washington did not know what North Korea's intentions were.

The United States has found itself blocked by veto-wielding council members China and Russia in past attempts to raise North Korea's nuclear-weapons program in the Security Council.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the United States had a limited missile-defense system. Asked if the U.S. military would try to shoot down a North Korean missile, he would not discuss details about the capabilities or potential use of the system.

"I will not get into or discuss any specific alert status or capabilities," Whitman told reporters.

South Korean broadcaster YTN cited officials in Seoul as saying a launch of the North's Taepodong-2 missile was imminent.

However, speculation that the missile would be fired over the weekend came to nothing, and forecasts of cloud and rain over North Korea until Wednesday could delay it even further.


Tension over North Korea added to downward pressure on the Japanese yen, Korean won and Taiwan dollar on Monday, although currency markets were more focused on rising U.S. interest rates

North Korea shocked the world in 1998 when it fired a missile, part of which flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean. Pyongyang said it had launched a satellite. Since 1999, it has adhered to a moratorium on ballistic missile launches.

U.S. officials said Washington had warned Pyongyang against a missile launch through a message passed to North Korean diplomats at the United Nations, but it had had no response.

Australia, one of the few Western countries with diplomatic ties to North Korea, said it had summoned Pyongyang's ambassador in Canberra to express its concerns.

Reports of test preparations coincide with a stalemate in six-party talks on unwinding Pyongyang's nuclear arms programs.

In Seoul, across the heavily fortified border dividing the two Koreas, the daily Dong-A Ilbo quoted a South Korean government official as saying the launch could be imminent.

"We think North Korea has poured liquid fuel into the missile propellant built in the missile launching pad. It is at the finishing stage before launching," the official said.

Any test would be expected to involve a Taepodong-2 missile with an estimated range of 2,175 to 2,670 miles (3,500 to 4,300 km). At that range, parts of Alaska in the United States would be within reach as would Asia and Russia.

U.S. officials said Pyongyang could still decide to scrap the launch, but that was unlikely given the complexity of siphoning fuel back out of a missile prepared for launch.

Some experts say that if there is no launch within 48 hours of fueling, the fuel will break down and damage the missile

But Cho Min, an expert on the North at Seoul's Korea Institute for National Unification, said fuel could stay for up to a month in the missile without causing major problems.

(Additional reporting by Carol Giacomo and Kristen Roberts in Washington, Irwin Arieff in New York, Jon Herskovitz and Jack Kim in Seoul, Elaine Lies, Teruaki Ueno and Linda Sieg in Tokyo and Michelle Nichols in Canberra)


North Korea Missile Test

Priscilla Rodriguez Reporting

TOKYO (KNX)  -- According to Japanese media reports, North Korea says it can conduct missile tests if it wants, and other countries should butt out.

The U.S. and its allies are warning the country not to launch a long-range ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. The French prime minister says such a test should draw a "firm and just'' world response. The U-N secretary general says North Korea must "hear what the world is saying.''

Japan's public broadcaster N-H-K says satellite pictures show fueling vehicles still surround the suspected launch site and about a-thousand troops guard it.

Kyodo News reports a North Korean Foreign Ministry official says the government is "not bound'' to hold off on tests by any agreements.

The north also today criticized U-S efforts to build a missile defense system, saying it will create a new arms race.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

North Korea Missile Found In Alaska??

Posted on Tuesday, June 20 2006 02:59:05 PDT by JWSmythe The warhead of a long-range missile test-fired by North Korea was found in the U.S. state of Alaska, a report to the National Assembly revealed yesterday.

``According to a U.S. document, the last piece of a missile warhead fired by North Korea was found in Alaska, former Japanese foreign minister Taro Nakayama was quoted as saying in the report. ``Washington, as well as Tokyo, has so far underrated Pyongyang missile capabilities.

The report was the culmination of month-long activities of the Assembly’s overseas delegation to five countries over the North Korean nuclear crisis. The Assembly dispatched groups of lawmakers to the United States, Japan, China, Russia and European Union last month to collect information and opinions on the international issue.

June 20, 2006]

U.S. activates missile defense, may intercept N. Korea missile+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) WASHINGTON, June 20_(Kyodo)

The United States has moved its ground-based missile defense system from test to operational mode and is considering the option of intercepting North Korea's long-range missile if launched, the Washington Times reported Tuesday.

Quoting U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity, the newspaper said the system was activated within the past two weeks in the wake of North Korea stepping up preparations for launching a Taepodong-2 long-range ballistic missile.

Reuters and other media reported U.S. officials as confirming the Washington Times report.

The missile shield includes 11 long-range interceptor missiles, including nine deployed at Fort Greeley, Alaska, and two at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Washington Times said.

Two U.S. Navy Aegis warships are patrolling near North Korea as part of the global missile defense system and would be among the first sensors that would trigger the use of interceptors, the newspapers said.

One senior administration official was quoted as telling the Washington Times that the U.S. government is considering the option of shooting down the Taepodong missile with responding interceptors.

The officials said an immediate launch is unlikely because of poor weather conditions above North Korea's missile site located by U.S. intelligence satellites, according to the newspaper.

But it also quoted U.S. intelligence officials as saying preparations have advanced to the point where a launch could take place within "several days to a month."

U.S. Northern Command spokesman Michael Kucharek was reported as saying that the command "continues to monitor the situation, and we are prepared to defend the country in any way necessary."


Many Americans in Missile Range Just Shrug

What, me worry? Many Americans in North Korea missile range respond with a shrug

See Missile Drawings Here

See:  Map of Missile Range

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Jun. 22, 2006
By MARY PEMBERTON Associated Press Writer

(AP) The Alaskan coastal village of Hooper Bay is about 3,200 miles from North Korea's intercontinental missile. For some in the Bering Sea town, that's a bit too close for comfort.

"I don't feel so remote anymore," says Elmer Simon, tribal administrator for the Yu'pik Eskimo town of 1,100.

From villages in Alaska to beaches in Hawaii and the largest cities of the West Coast, Americans in the potential range of a North Korean missile test added the threat to the list of dangers they already face in a troubled world.

But for most, a missile was too distant, too unlikely a threat to interrupt their daily lives.

"A better question is when's the next earthquake," Ernie De Matteis said as he flipped through a newspaper in San Francisco.

Some experts believe North Korea could be preparing to test-fire a Taepodong 2 missile with enough range to reach Alaska and parts of the U.S. mainland, depending on the size of the weapon's payload.

The missile has never been put through a test flight, and U.S. officials do not know whether North Korea is capable of putting a nuclear warhead on it. The North Korean government has claimed it has nuclear weapons, but no U.S. official has been shown conclusive proof.

Robert O'Connor, who was preparing to eat lunch with his grandchildren in the shadow of Seattle's Space Needle, isn't buying the threat.

"I don't think the United States or any of the other countries in the world are going to allow North Korea to get to a point where they've got a nuclear-tipped missile, you know, ready to fire at somebody," he said.

For Sandy Brickner, a systems security officer in Seattle, worrying about bombs is somebody else's problem.

"That's what our government is supposed to do, not me," she said. "I have no control over it."

Two U.S. guided-missile destroyers are off the Korean coast. And if a missile were to be launched toward the United States, the government could fire interceptor rockets from Alaska or California. But the missile-defense system has never had an unscripted test, and several planned tests have failed.

Off Hawaii's coast Thursday, the United States and Japan were holding a joint exercise Thursday to test their missile-destroying capabilities.

Back in Honolulu, office manager Alohalani Hose couldn't be bothered with it all.

"Why worry about that when I got my life to worry about?" she said. "If you worry, it causes stress, anxiety and you deteriorate and die. So why worry?"

Around Alaska's Fort Greely, which has nine of the interceptor rockets, folks weren't fretting either.

Pete Hallgren, city manager of nearby Delta Junction, said he and other city officials met at the base this week to discuss a construction project and the missile issue never came up.

"Nobody seemed to show any concern about the flurry of press reports about North Korea," he said. "The talk around here is the potential for the hotel, power plant and clinic."

It's also business as usual in Nome, a western Alaska city of 3,500.

Bruce Klein, executive director of the Nome Community Center, acknowledged his neighbors can be somewhat insulated _ and that's not always a bad thing.

"If we were thinking about all this stuff and everything that's out there, and of course the situation with the missiles in North Korea, I think we would all be on Prozac."

Associated Press writers Juliana Barbassa in San Francisco, Elizabeth M. Gillespie in Seattle and Jaymes Song in Honolulu contributed to this report.

MMVI The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

N Korea's missile launch 'no bluff'

June 23, 2006 Edition 4

Seoul - South Korea today said that North Korea was making genuine plans to test-fire a missile, but warned Pyongyang that its actions were a miscalculation and would not change US policy.

Preparations for the launch of a Taepodong-2 with a range of up to 6 700km have been under way for several weeks at Musudanri on the remote northeast coast of North Korea. US reports have said a launch was imminent.

Lee Jong-Seok, the minister responsible for handling North Korean relations, said he believed North Korea had intended to launch a missile all along. The minister told parliament he did not believe that North Korea's preparations were a mere bluff.

"I think it has been moving for a real launch," he said.

Lee said North Korea hoped to influence US policy, but had miscalculated as Washington would not bow to pressure from Pyongyang.

"The United States will not make a compromise even if North Korea fires a missile," he added. - Sapa-AFP

North Korea's missiles bring it cash and clout

By Jon Herskovitz and Jack Kim
Friday, June 23, 2006; 7:28 AM

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea started its missile program in part to deliver a first strike on the South but it has grown into a source of cash and a possible way for a poor state with an obsolescent air force to deliver a nuclear strike.

Experts say Pyongyang lacks the technology to miniaturize a nuclear weapon for missile delivery, but it does have an arsenal capable of hitting all of South Korea and almost all of Japan.

The missile program was in part born out of the 1950-1953 Korean War when the North had trouble striking U.S. and South Korean forces in the southeastern part of the peninsula.

The missile now apparently sitting on a pad in North Korea awaiting a possible test launch is believed to be the Taepodong-2, an untested multi-stage missile that experts say Pyongyang eventually wants to develop as a means of delivering nuclear weapons thousands of kilometers (miles) away.

"The only reason North Korea has a long-range missile program is to deliver a nuclear weapon," said one diplomatic source in Seoul who is familiar with Pyongyang's intentions.

Most of the missiles in its arsenal are variants of the Soviet-designed Scud. North Korea has at least 600 of these, designed to deliver conventional, chemical or biological weapons.

"North Korea's original motive for developing ballistic missiles likely followed Soviet doctrine by viewing missiles as a form of extended-range artillery that can strike an enemy's rear during a conflict," the Center for Nonproliferation Studies wrote in a recent report.

With nuclear weapons, North Korea, a poor country of about 22.5 million, gains a seat at the table with the world's richest and most militarily advanced country, the United States.

Apart from boosting North Korea's military threat, missiles also generate cash.

Pyongyang has made hundreds of millions of dollars exporting missiles and missile technology to countries such as Iran, U.S. officials and proliferation experts say.

The backbone of its air force is 780 fighters and 80 bombers, which use aging Soviet technology. The bombers would have little chance of dropping a nuclear bomb before being shot down by the superior U.S., Japanese and South Korean air forces, experts say.

Missiles are a convenient alternative for a country such as North Korea, experts say, because they are an easier, cheaper means of delivering a weapon than building a modern air force.

One major concern for North Korea as it prepares to launch the Taepodong-2 is whether its technology is capable of firing the third-stage booster that would send a payload into space, as if failed to do in a previous test firing in 1998,.

Another failure, with U.S. intelligence and world attention tracking every second of the flight, would mean a huge loss of face for Pyongyang no matter how hard its propaganda machine works, the experts said.

U.S. Navy test intercepts warhead

Friday, June 23, 2006; Posted: 12:26 p.m. EDT (16:26 GMT)

A missile is launched from the USS Shiloh on Thursday off Hawaii


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. warship has successfully knocked down a short-range missile fired from Hawaii, the Pentagon has said, amid global concerns about a possible North Korea missile test.

An interceptor rocket fired from the cruiser USS Shiloh knocked down the warhead from a target missile about 250 miles off Kauai shortly after noon (6 p.m. ET), the Defense Department's missile defense agency reported on Thursday.

The U.S. missile defense agency said Thursday's test had been scheduled for months and was not prompted by indications that North Korea was planning to test launch a long-range missile, AP reported. (Watch why the missiles' .500 batting average is meaningless -- 1:18

The latest test of the U.S. missile defense program is the seventh time in eight attempts the military has successfully shot down a target with a ship-based interceptor, the Pentagon said.

A Japanese warship took part in the exercise, using its radar to track the test missile, the Pentagon said.

It is the first time a U.S. ally has taken part in a sea-based missile defense test after Tokyo agreed to develop missile defense technology with America last year.

Tokyo became interested in developing the technology after North Korea last test-fired a missile, firing it over Japan's main island, according to The Associated Press.

The North Koreans fired the Taepodong-1 missile in 1998, but declared a moratorium on future tests in 1999.

Thursday's exercise was conducted as the United States, Japan and other countries are monitoring North Korea's reported preparations for a long-range missile test. (Watch what the United States is using to keep an eye on North Korea -- 2:02

Pyongyang is now suspected of preparing a longer-range missile, the Taepodong-2, for launch. Analysts suspect that missile could be capable of reaching the western United States.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday that "all the intelligence suggests they have been making preparations for a launch of a missile," but it was not clear whether a launch was imminent.

"There's a lot we know and a lot we don't know, so we'll just have to see," Rumsfeld said.

The United States, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea have been trying to persuade the isolated Stalinist state to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons in six-party talks since 2002. Hadley called on North Korea to "respect its own moratorium" Thursday and return to the six-party talks.

"That is the message the Chinese, Japanese, South Koreans and everybody else has sent to the North Koreans -- that we are trying to deal with a broader set of issues with North Korea through the six-party talks, and a test would obviously be disruptive of those talks," he said.

Sea-based missile defense tests have been more successful than tests of the land-based interceptor system the Pentagon has deployed in Alaska and California. That system has had five successful tests out of 10, with the last successful test in 2002.

But Pentagon officials say the technical problems that plagued more recent tests have been resolved, and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said earlier that the $11 billion system has "some limited operational capability."

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

June 24, 2006]

U.S. defense missile a North Korea option

(UPI Top Stories Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) President George Bush is ready to utilize the U.S. missile defense system if North Korea tests a ballistic missile in a way that threatens the United States.

This week White House National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley said Bush was prepared to use the anti-ballistic missile system. Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry A. Trey Obering III said he is confident the defense system is up for the job.

U.S. intelligence agents say North Korea may be getting ready to test a Taepodong-2 missile, which has the capability to reach Alaska or the U.S. west coast.

The Washington Times reports the North Korea missile site may be the launching point of a satellite, though, sparking dramatic attention but not an immediate threat.

If needed, the U.S. missile defense system would use sea-based and surface-to-air missiles aimed at taking out another missile.

The system was tested successfully Thursday although tests in the past have resulted in inconclusive or failing results.
 Profile: Mystery surrounds Kim Jong Il
 Notebook: Prism to the Soviet era
  Cheny plays down calls for pre-emptive strike
 Feature: Macau focus of probe
  U.S. begins massive war games
[June 25, 2006]

U.S. mulls deploying antimissile cruiser near Japan soon+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) WASHINGTON, June 25_(Kyodo) _ The United States is considering deploying the Navy's Aegis cruiser Shiloh, which is equipped with an advanced missile defense system, to areas around Japan as part of efforts to deal with North Korea's preparations to test-fire a long-range ballistic missile, U.S. government sources said Sunday.

The deployment would move up the U.S. government's original schedule of stationing the Shiloh in Japan at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in August.

Japan has already mobilized an Aegis-equipped destroyer of the Maritime Self-Defense Force amid growing worries about North Korea's preparations to test fire a Taepodong-2 ballistic missile.

The Shiloh would be deployed in two weeks at the earliest, the sources said.

In an interceptor test last Thursday off Hawaii, a Standard Missile-3 interceptor fired by the Shiloh successfully shot down a warhead separated from a ballistic missile outside the earth's atmosphere.

The MSDF's Aegis destroyer Kirishima took part in the test, performing long-range surveillance and tracking exercises together with another U.S. Aegis destroyer.

U.S. officials said the scheduled test, the eighth of its kind, was unrelated to North Korea's preparations to test-fire the missile, but it came amid reports that the United States has moved its ground-based missile defense system from the test to the operational mode, and is considering trying to intercept the North Korean missile.

U.S. President George W. Bush will make a final decision on the early deployment of the Shiloh and on whether to intercept the Taepodong-2, the sources said.

Japan and the United States are jointly developing an upgraded version of the SM-3 interceptor to make it capable of shooting down long-range intercontinental missiles.

The joint project began after North Korea launched a Taepodong-1 missile in 1998, part of which flew over Japan into the Pacific Ocean. Pyongyang agreed on a missile-test moratorium a year later in 1999 -- a commitment it has upheld to date although it maintains the 1998 launch was a satellite-delivering multistage rocket.

North Korea fired Taepodong missile which failed
Tue Jul 4, 2006 5:13 PM EDT162
By Jim Wolf

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea launched a long-range Taepodong-2 missile and two small Scud-type missiles within a two-hour period, but the long-range missile appears to have failed, a diplomatic source told Reuters on Tuesday.

CNN also reported that a Taepodong had been fired.

The Taepodong 2 missile, which had been under intense scrutiny by the United States and other western powers, appeared to have failed in flight, the diplomatic source said.

A Pentagon official told Reuters North Korea appeared also to have launched at least two small Scud-type missiles, but not the intercontinental ballistic missile that has been a focus of international concern.

"This appears not to be the launch of the missile that's been so widely reported of late," said the official, who asked not to named. He referred to the small missiles as "lesser variety" Scud types.

The official spoke before reports that the third, long-range Taepodong missile firing had been reported.

Japan's NHK TV reported the first of the two smaller missiles landed in the Sea of Japan about 375 miles from Japan.

A Japanese government official confirmed the launch but said it was unclear if it was a Taepodong ballistic missile.

Japan's Defense Minister reported separately that a second missile had been fired, according to NHK.

An Air Force facility protecting the nerve center of U.S. homeland defense at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, had been on heightened alert, the U.S. military said, amid persistent reports that North Korea

may be set to test-fire the long-range missile.

The commander of U.S. Northern Command ordered the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, which rings the bunkered operations center, to take "necessary security precautions commensurate with its missions," said Michael Kucharek, a spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command.   

American officials have led a global chorus of concern that North Korea may soon test the Taepodong-2, believed capable of reaching Alaska.

It was the North's first missile firing in eight years.

On Monday, Pyongyang vowed to respond with an "annihilating" nuclear strike if attacked preemptively by the United States.

The heightened "force protection" level was put in place in the past two weeks, said Kucharek, adding that he could not be more specific because details of the move were classified.

Lt. Col. Marcella Adams, a spokeswoman for the Air Force Space Command, said precautions had been stepped up for the safety and security of people working in the complex.

Behind 25-tonne steel doors, the Cheyenne Mountain operations center lies within a 4.5-acre (1.8-hectare) grid of excavated chambers and tunnels surrounded by 2,000 feet (610 meters) of granite.

The U.S. Northern Command, based at Paterson Air Force Base near Cheyenne Mountain along with the space command, operates interceptor missiles buried in silos, nine of them at Ft. Greeley, Alaska, and two, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Cheyenne Mountain was built in the early 1960s with a responsibility for warning of any incoming missiles. It is home to elements of the bi-national, U.S.-Canadian, North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

U.S. officials: North Korea tests long-range missile

July 4, 2006 - (CNN) -- North Korea test-launched a Taepodong-2 missile early Wednesday along with several short-range rockets, but the long-range missile apparently failed, U.S. officials said.

The White House said there was no immediate threat to the United States, but called the North Korean tests "a provocation."

U.S. officials said there were five missile launches in all.

A senior official confirmed the first three launches were at 2:33 p.m. ET Tuesday (3:33 a.m. Wednesday in North Korea), 3:04 p.m. ET and 4.:01 p.m. ET. The official said the third launch, of the long-range rocket, failed after 42 seconds.

North Korea's preparations for a long-range missile test have been closely monitored for weeks. A senior State Department official told CNN the Taepodong-2, which some U.S. analysts fear could hit the western United States, appears to have failed in flight.

Two smaller North Korean missiles were fired from a different site shortly before the larger missile was tested, U.S. intelligence and State Department officials said.

U.S. military sources said those two missiles landed in the Sea of Japan, one closer to Russia and the other closer to Japan.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said that after President George W. Bush was informed of the tests, he spoke to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

Hadley described the tests as "provocative behavior."

"We can now examine what the launches tell us about the intentions of North Korea," he said.

Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state, was to travel to North Asia on Wednesday to consult with countries there on the latest series of tests, Snow said.

In Tokyo Wednesday, a government spokesman said Japan will consider sanctions against North Korea over the missile launches, Kyodo news agency reported.

In Seoul, Yonhap news agency said the South Korean government had called a ministerial meeting early Wednesday morning in reaction to the tests.

In Beijing, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said China was awaiting further information before responding.

A senior U.S. State Department official said the launches were timed to coincide with the launch of the space shuttle Discovery from Florida, calling it "a provocative act designed to get attention."

Analysts said the tests appeared to have been intended to draw international attention back to North Korea -- and to the stalled talks aimed at convincing Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea is believed to have the capability to produce several nuclear weapons but has never tested one.

"They are trying to send quite a signal not only to the United States but to the rest of the world that they should be taken quite seriously," said Wendy Sherman, a former State Department official who held talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il during the Clinton administration.

At the United Nations, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said he was "urgently consulting" with other members of the 15-nation Security Council.

Washington and North Korea's Asian neighbors -- South Korea, China, Russia and Japan -- have been trying to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program since 2002, but those talks have stalled in recent months.

Jim Walsh, a national security analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the intent of the test appeared to be aimed at drawing attention back to North Korean demands in the six-party talks. But Walsh said the tests "do not represent an immediate military threat to the United States."

"It's very difficult technology. They very clearly have not mastered it," he said. "Most estimates are they will not master it for another 10 years."

The United States, Japan and other countries have warned North Korea against a long-range missile test. The North Koreans fired a Taepodong-1 missile over Japan in 1998, but declared a moratorium on future tests in 1999.

"One would expect from any administration for there to be sanctions, for there to be a tough response to this," Sherman said.

'Harassment' accusation

On Monday, North Korea's state-run media accused the United States of harassing it and vowed to respond to any pre-emptive attack "with a relentless annihilating strike and a nuclear war with a mighty nuclear deterrent." (Watch why North Korea is talking about annihilating the U.S. -- 2:04)

The White House has dismissed that threat as "hypothetical." (Full story)

But the U.S. Northern Command increased security measures at its Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a few weeks ago, a military official confirmed Tuesday.

The base is the seat of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, and some of its command-and-control operations might be used if the United States attempted to use its ballistic missile interceptors to shoot down a Taepodong-2 test.

But a Pentagon official said the missile appears to have failed on its own, without any American effort to knock it down.

In other planning measures instituted in the past several days, Northern Command, along with the Federal Aviation Administration, has put standby commercial flight restrictions into place over Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Fort Greely, Alaska, where U.S. interceptor missiles are based.

President Bush warned last week that the isolated Stalinist state would face even further isolation if it launched the Taepodong-2, which U.S. analysts fear is capable of reaching the western United States. (Full story)

"The North Koreans have made agreements with us in the past, and we expect them to keep their agreements," Bush said last month at the end of a European Union summit.

"It should make people nervous when nontransparent regimes, that have announced that they've got nuclear warheads, fire missiles," Bush said. "This is not the way you conduct business in the world. This is not the way that peaceful nations conduct their affairs."

CNN's David Ensor, Kyra Phillips, Elise Labott, Justine Redman, Atika Shubert and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

NORAD alert status stepped up

U.S.: North Korea tests missiles

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (AP) -- The North American Aerospace Defense Command has been placed on heightened alert, a spokesman said.

NORAD monitors the skies for threats to North American security. On Tuesday, U.S. officials said that North Korea test-launched a long-range missile that may be capable of reaching the United States, but that the missile failed after 35 or 40 seconds.

NORAD was placed on "Bravo-Plus" status, slightly higher than a medium threat level, on Monday, said Michael Kucharek, a spokesman for NORAD and the U.S. Northern Command, which is responsible for defending U.S. territory.

"There's a lot going on," Kucharek said. "The safety of our people and resources is our top priority."

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

North Korea Vows to Continue Missile Tests
Russia, China Oppose Sanctions at United Nations

SEOUL, South Korea (July 6, 2006) - A defiant North Korea on Thursday threatened to test-fire more missiles and warned of even stronger action if opponents of the tests put pressure on the country, amid signs of further activity at the reclusive regime's launch sites.

 The further show of bravado by Pyongyang came amid intense diplomatic jockeying by the United States and its allies to prod the U.N. Security Council to take stern action against the North's seven missile tests Wednesday.

In its first statement on the launches, North Korea 's Foreign Ministry insisted the communist state had the right to test its missiles and argued the weapons were needed for defense.

"The successful missile launches were part of our military's regular military drills to strengthen self-defense," said the statement, which was carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. "As a sovereign country, this is our legal right and we are not bound by any international law or bilateral or multilateral agreements."

The statement did not mention the apparent failure of the most advanced missile it tested, the long-range Taepodong-2, which security officials say aborted less than a minute after takeoff.

The ministry also appeared to confirm mounting fears in South Korea that the North was preparing for further launches. South Korean officials said intelligence showed continued activity at Northern missile sites, though at least one official said another launch was not imminent.

The Bush administration dismissed North Korea 's threat to test more missiles.

"We're certainly not going to overreact ... to these wild statements out of Pyongyang and North Korea ," said Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns. "We've seen them before."

Pyongyang vowed to retaliate against efforts to interfere with the launches, but it did not specify what it would do.

"Our military will continue with missile launch drills in the future as part of efforts to strengthen self-defense deterrent. If anyone intends to dispute or add pressure about this, we will have to take stronger physical actions in other forms," the statement said.

At the United Nations, splits emerged among the critics of the North's testing program. China, the North's closest ally, and Russia, which has been trying to re-establish Soviet-era ties with Pyongyang, said only diplomacy could halt North Korea 's nuclear and rocket development programs.

North Korea's Missile Arsenal
Said to be North Korea's most advanced missile, with a range of up to 9,320 miles. Experts estimate it could potentially hit the mainland United States with a small payload. However, the missile is unlikely to be accurate.

North Korea is believed to have test-launched this long-range missile in August 1998. The second stage landed off Japan's eastern coast. The missile has an estimated range of up to 1,800 miles .

As many as 200 Nodong missiles are in North Korea's arsenal. With a range of about 620 miles (998 kilometers), Japan is their most likely target. The missiles can be fired from mobile launchers.

North Korea reportedly has more than 600 Scud-type missiles that are relatively short-range and would potentially target South Korea.
Source:, Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that his government is concerned and disappointed about the missile tests, but stressed the need for diplomacy and a return to six-nation talks.

The tests "should not lead to such emotions that would drown out common sense," Putin said during an Internet conference. We have to review the issue in all its entirety. We should be aiming to resuming the negotiation process with North Korea . ... We have to create an atmosphere that will lead to compromise."

Japan, within range of North Korean missiles, circulated a U.N. Security Council resolution Wednesday that would ban any country from transferring funds, material and technology that could be used in North Korea 's missile and weapons of mass destruction programs.

China and Russia countered that they favor a weaker council statement without any threat of sanctions. Both countries hold veto power on the council.

Council experts were to meet again Thursday morning and council ambassadors may then meet in the afternoon to review progress, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the session was closed.

In a bid to coordinate strategy, President Bush held separate telephone talks with the leaders of Japan, South Korea and China on North Korea .

Chinese President Hu Jintao told Bush that his government was "committed to maintaining peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and opposed to any actions that might intensify the situation," the Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement posted on its Web site.

Japanese officials said Tokyo and Washington agreed to push for sanctions against Pyongyang, while South Korean officials said they agreed only to cooperate in diplomacy, with no mention of punishing North Korea .

Chief U.S. nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill was to head to the region this week. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also planned to visit South Korea in late July for talks on North Korea , South Korea 's Foreign Ministry said.

In addition, China's Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei will travel to North Korea next week to urge a return to the stalled six-party nuclear disarmament talks, the ministry said.

The report also said that Wu had proposed bilateral U.S.-North Korean talks, and said the missile launches were probably in reaction to a U.S. crackdown on alleged North Korean counterfeiting, money-laundering and other wrongdoing.

The missiles, all of which apparently fell harmlessly into the sea, provoked international condemnation, the convening of an emergency meeting of the Security Council and calls in Japan for economic sanctions. Japan's ruling party was set to give rapid consideration to a bill to impose the sanctions, but the measure would not be implemented until a fall session of parliament.

South Korean media reported Thursday, meanwhile, that North Korea has three or four more missiles on launch pads and ready for firing. The North has also barred people from sailing into some areas off the coast until July 11 in a possible sign of preparations for additional launches, Chosun Ilbo newspaper said.

South Korea 's National Intelligence Service "is closely watching the situation by keeping in mind that North Korea could fire a missile after repairing a technical defect," Choi Jun-taek, a senior official at the agency, told the National Assembly, according to agency spokesman Choi Jae-kun. The spokesman, however, said another missile test isn't imminent, adding it will take time for the country to repair the glitches.

The Japanese government also said there were no immediate signs of long-range missile launch.

Despite the rise in tensions, South Korean officials said they had no plans to abandon their strategy of trying to forge stronger ties with Pyongyang. While Seoul condemned the missile tests, it has also called for "patient dialogue" rather than sanctions in response.

Bush has urged world leaders to stand united in demanding that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons program, saying the communist nation remains a threat even though its long-range missile faltered. The U.S. administration said North Korea 's barrage of seven test missiles further walled off the reclusive nation from the rest of the world.

"One thing we have learned is that the rocket didn't stay up very long and tumbled into the sea, which doesn't, frankly, diminish my desire to solve this problem," Bush said.

Associated Press writers Edith M. Lederer and Nick Wadhams at the United Nations and Hiroko Tabuchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

07-06-06 1153EDT


Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.



http://www.hindusta news/181_ 1747568,00050004 .htm

North Korea launches wartime alert: Report

Agence France-Presse

Seoul, July 19, 2006

North Korea has launched a wartime alert, putting its armed forces and nationals in a state of a war mobilisation, an unconfirmed news report said on Wednesday. Kim Jong-II, head of the communist country, issued an order to that effect hours before the United Nations Security Council unanimously condemned North Korea's missile tests last week, said the Joongang daily, quoting an unnamed government source.

Government officials were unable to be reached for confirmation early on Wednesday.

North Korean soldiers on leave were told to return to their barracks, camouflage nettings were being draped on military vehicles and weapons, and people were prohibited from entering the countryside, the source said 

The alert was not issued publicly but spread quietly through military and civilian emergency networks, the daily said. North Korea announced a war mobilization in 1993 at the height of a standoff with the United States over its nuclear weapons programme.

South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun was due to hold a cabinet meeting later on Wednesday to discuss security in the aftermath of the UN resolution. The cabinet meeting was arranged before the report of the wartime alert. 

The resolution, the first UN action against North Korea since 1993, requires nations to prevent the shipment of equipment and technology for the North's missile or weapons of mass destruction programmes. But the isolated communist state rejected what it called the "brigandish" resolution and vowed to bolster its defences, saying the situation had deteriorated due to the hostile policy of the United States.




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