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2009 North Korea Nuclear and Missile test

About 2009 North Korea rocket launch

At 11.20am Korean time of April 5, 2009, North Korea has launched a three-stage inter-continental rocket - Taepodong 2 from the Musudan-ri launch site in the north east of North Korea. The Korean media reported the launch a success while the international media began reported that the launch could hamper peace in the region and the relations of nations all over the globe with North Korea. The Korean state media reported that a experimental communications satellite into orbit about ten minutes later, and safely cleared northern Japan where batteries of Patriot missile interceptors were on standby in case of a misfiring. The Song of General Kim Il Sung and Song of General Kim Jong Il are reported to be aired from the communication satellite. The US Military however says the rocket payload has failed to enter and fell into the sea.

Reaction from international community

By noon of April 5, 2009, the UN Security Council has meet in emergency session in New York and is presented with pressure from the US, France, Britain and Japan on North Korea's action. The meeting however ended without passing any message to North Korea. Japan requested for a UN Security Council meeting. US President Barak Obama called for North Korea to be punished after the isolated communist state fired an intercontinental rocket, defying weeks of warnings from world leaders and provoking anxiety across north-east Asia. Media critics say the act is a direct challenge to Obama. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said the act is an extreme provocation. China and Russia has asked the international community to remain calm and maintain restrain.

Subsequent developments

After the rocket launch, North Korea went ahead and made a nuclear test. During May 09, North Korea tested 6 short-range missles and this lead to increase of tension in the region.

Robert Gates, on June 1, 2009, said there is evidence that North Korea has begun work on another long-range Taepodong-2 missile, but that it remained unclear whether Pyongyang was preparing to launch the rocket any time soon. He expressed 'good confidence' that the US can repel North Korean missile in case should the reclusive regime ever threaten American territory. Within hours of the announcement, South Korea has sent a high-speed naval vessel with guided anti-ship missiles to the sea border with North Korea. A South Korean Naval Spokesperson is reported to have told that the move is to 'make it clear to all that we are determined to protect'.

On June 2, 2009, an un-named South Korean lawmaker is said to have reported that North Korea is preparing a mid-range missile from a base in the southeastern part of the country that can hit all of South Korea and most of Japan. Meanwhile, Japan law makers have approved plans for a missile early warning system. Also on cards is to have a system to inspect North Korean ships. Reports are also out that North Korea is readying as many as three medium-range missile in the Anbyon region, northeast of the capital of Pyongyang.

Sanctions by the United Nations

The North Korea's nuclear test, the second after 2006 when it detonated its first nuclear device, has made the United Nations to put in sanctions over North Korea. North Korea responded saying it will conduct more missile launches, enrich uranium and weaponise all its plutonium.

Obama and Lee Myung Meeting at Washington

Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak met on June 16, 2009 at Washington and gave a summit-level affirmation that they are united front against North Korea after the later performed nuclear test and subsequent developments.

The state-run newspaper Minju Joson newspaper said North Korea will "merciless" attack if provoked by the US and its allies. The response came within hours of Obama and Lee meeting. Russia quickly responded that any missile heading for Russian airspace would be promptly shot down, according to its Deputy Defence Minister, Viktor Popovkin.

Japanese media has carried stories in June 09 that North Korea is planning to use its long-range missile on June 4, 2009. The Japan's Defense Ministry is reported to have said that missile equiptment movement is reported at Dongchang-ni launch site.

US Military officials feel that North Korea has not improved its military technology in regard to missiles since its failed launches of Taepodong-2. Though the missle can technically hit the north coast of the US, US military officials feel it will never work that way. During mid-June 09, US has improved its sea-borne and land-based radars and receptors and has even made move to put in anti-missile system in Hawaii as a precautionary step.

On June 20, 2009, US officials said its US Navy destroyer is tracking a 2,000-ton Kang Nam, a North Korean cargo ship since it left Nampo, a port near Pyongyang. The officials did not reveal what the ship is carrying or where in which direction it is heading to but said that it is carrying 'a subject of interest'. Fox television reported that the destroyer John S. McCain which is deployed at Yokosuka base in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan is already traveling to the high seas near China. South Korean television channel YTN said the ship is heading towards Myanmar / Singapore and suspected it to be carrying missiles or related parts. The ban on North Korea disallows it to trade conventional and nuclear weaponary with other nations. US is waiting for the ship to dock at a port and then take the consent of the local Government to possibly perform an inspection. Singapore, an ally of US and a hub for re-fueling ships in the region said it will act 'appropriately' if the vessel docks at its ports.

On Monday, June 22, 2009, the North Korea said it will harm US if attacked. Earlier US President Barack Obama said the U.S. is ready to cope with "any contingencies" and that North Korea seems to be preparing for a long-range missile test around July 4, the Independence Day holiday.

Firing of more short-range missiles during end of June / early July

A South Korean media outlet, Yonhap news agency, said that a top South Korean military source has said that North Korea has fired two more short-range surface-to-surface missiles into the East Sea (Sea of Japan) from the Sinsang-ri bse that are similar to the four short-range missiles it fired during the end of June 2009. The official said the missile landed 100 kilometers away from the coast from where Maritime restrictions will apply. AP cited S Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff statement saying that N Korea has fired three missles on Saturday July 4, 2009, two early in the morning and another later in the morning. All the tests were held between 8 a.m. and 2:50 p.m. The tests came continued N Korea's tradition of timing missile tests on U.S. National Day. The missiles are Scud / Ballastic-class missile with capabilities of hitting targets that are 500 kilometers away. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said that this act is a clear 'provocation against the security of neighboring countries, including Japan.' Some experts believe that North Korea is in strong communications with Iran and Pakistan in regard to missle tests and related technology sharing. The total number of missiles tested from the military posts on Saturday is reported to be 7. North Korea is reported to have alerted demostic vessels to avoid certain areas / routes in the Sea of Japan, or East Sea, till July 10, 2009.

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