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South Korea warns North of fresh U.N. action on missile
Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:39am EDT
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By Jack Kim
SEOUL (Reuters) - A North Korean rocket launch will trigger fresh action by the U.N. Security Council for violating sanctions that are in effect for an earlier missile test, South Korea's foreign ministry said on Friday.
North Korea has given notice to global agencies of its plans to launch a satellite between April 4 to 8, presenting a challenge to new U.S. President Barack Obama and allies who see the launch as a provocative move and a disguised missile test.
"North Korea's action is in violation of Security Council Resolution 1718 and therefore must be suspended," South Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"If North Korea goes ahead with the launch, we believe there will be discussions and a response by the Security Council on the violation of the resolution."
North Korea told agencies including the International Maritime Organisation the launch would take place over Japan in daylight hours and that the boosters would fall in the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean, the IMO said.
North Korea has said it is sending a communication satellite into orbit and has the right to do so under a peaceful space program.
The United States, South Korea and Japan have said they see no difference between a satellite launch and a missile test because they use the same rocket, the North's longest-range missile called the Taepodong-2 with a range that can take it to Alaska.
The only time the North tested the Taepodong-2 in 2006, it blew apart a few seconds after being fired. Analysts said the North appears to have made technological advances to fix flight problems and is confident of a successful launch.
The U.N. sanctions imposed after the 2006 test forbid further ballistic missile testing.
"Giving the coordinates and letting everyone know that the boosters will drop in areas that are not a threat to anyone is a way of showing that they have acquired technical precision," said Cho Min of the Korea Institute of National Unification.
The notice itself, unprecedented for the reclusive communist state which previously launched ballistic missiles without warning, also indicates it is seriously troubled the United States or Japan might try to shoot it down, said Baek Seung-joo, an analyst at the Korea Institute for Defence Analyses.
The North has said it would consider that to be an act of war.
Analysts do not expect the United States will intercept the rocket because the North Korean launch poses no severe or immediate security threats while a strike could greatly ratchet up tensions and increase risk to the region's major economies.
A 1998 launch of an earlier version of the Taepodong flew over Japan and dropped in the Pacific, which the North called a successful launch of its satellite Kwangmyongsong-1. Continued...
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