North Korea Fires 5 Missiles

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USS ALASKA
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North Korea Fires 5 Missiles

Postby USS ALASKA » Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:03 pm

Washington Post
October 13, 2009
Pg. 12


North Korea Fires 5 Missiles

Coastal Navigation Ban Also Declared

By Blaine Harden, Washington Post Foreign Service

SEOUL, Oct. 12 -- North Korea fired five short-range missiles into the sea Monday and declared a navigation ban in waters off its eastern and western coasts, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

The launches occurred a week after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il suggested that his country would return to six-nation nuclear disarmament talks, if the North could first hold one-on-one talks with the United States to convert "hostile relations" into "peaceful ties."

North Korea, a leading manufacturer and supplier of missiles and missile parts for the developing world, periodically fires short- and medium-range missiles into waters off both coasts in training exercises. It was not clear whether Monday's launches were part of that routine.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, reacting to reports of the missile launches, said the United States and its allies are trying to demonstrate to North Korea that the international community will not accept its continuing nuclear program.

"Our goals remain the same. We intend to work toward a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula," Clinton said at a news conference in Belfast, where she was traveling.

The missiles were launched into the Sea of Japan off North Korea's eastern coast, Yonhap said, quoting government sources. It said North Korea imposed a navigation ban for Oct. 10-20. Yonhap said the missiles were surface-to-surface KN-02 rockets, with a range of up to 75 miles. The launches were the first since the North fired seven short- and medium-range missiles on July 4.

The South Korean government said it could not confirm the Yonhap report.

North Korea incited international condemnation and was slapped with tough new U.N. sanctions early this year, after it launched a long-range ballistic missile, detonated a nuclear device and repeatedly threatened war against South Korea. The U.N. sanctions bar North Korea from launching long-range missiles but do not apply to short-range rockets.

Since August, the isolated nation seemed to have changed course, shifting from provocation to negotiation. It released two detained American journalists after a surprise visit to Pyongyang by former president Bill Clinton. It also reopened border traffic with South Korea and resumed reunions among families separated by the Korean War.

In a meeting last week in Pyongyang with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, Kim suggested that North Korea would come back to the nuclear arms talks, which his government angrily this year as a platform for regime change.

Encouraged by that trip, Wen met in Beijing on Saturday with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. Wen pressed for an early resumption of the six-year-old disarmament talks that involve the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

"If we miss this opportunity, then we may have to make even more efforts further down the road," said Wen, whose government is North Korea's main patron and closest ally. China promised last week to give North Korea additional aid.

Leaders of Japan and South Korea were more cautious. They said North Korea would have to give up its nuclear weapons program as part of a "grand bargain" that would, if Pyongyang's promises are verified, unlock large amounts of aid and economic investment.

Such a bargain seems unlikely, at least in the short term. North Korea said in a letter this month to the U.N. Security Council that dismantling its nuclear weapons is "unthinkable even in a dream." The letter said Pyongyang would not give up its nuclear weapons unless the United States completely disarms.

USS ALASKA
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Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 8:05 pm

North Korea Accuses South Of Naval Intrusion

Postby USS ALASKA » Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:52 pm

New York Times
October 16, 2009


North Korea Accuses South Of Naval Intrusion

By Choe Sang-Hun

SEOUL, South Korea — The North Korean military on Thursday accused South Korean warships of trespassing near the North’s west coast, a reminder to its neighbors that it can raise tensions even as its government reaches out for talks with the United States and South Korea.

The Defense Ministry in Seoul called the North Korean claim “preposterous.” But the North Korean military made clear its stance.

“The reckless military provocations by warships of the South Korean Navy have created such a serious situation that a naval clash may break out between the two sides in these waters,” the North’s state-run news agency said.

Its warning came three days after the North test-fired five short-range missiles off its east coast.

It also followed a rare conciliatory gesture to the South. On Wednesday, North Korea expressed regret over the deaths of six South Koreans killed when water released from a North Korean dam swept across the border last month.

The two Koreas have not agreed on a maritime border off their west coast since hostilities in the Korean War ended in 1953. They fought bloody naval skirmishes there in 1999 and 2002.

The North’s threats of a naval clash there have been so routine they generate little attention in the South. But analysts also warned that North Korea might test-fire missiles into the disputed waters. Earlier this week, South Korean news media, quoting anonymous government sources, reported that the North was preparing to launch short-range missiles off its west coast.

“It’s a typical North Korean tactic to use both dialogue and pressure, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes consecutively, to achieve its goal,” said Chon Hyun-joon, an analyst at the government-financed Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul. “Kim Jong-il’s problem is that South Korea and the United States have gotten used to the game he plays.”

Mr. Kim, the North Korean leader, is known for the tactic of sending mixed signals: letting his negotiators reach out to South Korea and the United States while ordering his military to strengthen its leverage by reminding the negotiating partners of what might happen if the talks failed, Mr. Chon said.

The North and the South were to hold talks on Friday to arrange a new round of reunions of families separated by the Korean War, and North Korea is expected to seek food aid through the talks.

On Thursday, South Korea’s unification minister, Hyun In-taek, indicated that his government might ship “limited humanitarian assistance” to the North. Seoul halted aid to the North when President Lee Myung-bak took office early last year.

In the first half of this year, North Korea appeared bent on raising tensions, quitting six-nation nuclear disarmament talks, testing a long-range rocket and detonating a nuclear device. It also kicked out American relief agencies.

The United States and its allies responded by seeking new United Nations sanctions.

Since August, when it freed two American journalists, North Korea has focused on a smoothing of relations, resuming dialogue with the South and suggesting that it would return to the six-nation talks on ending its nuclear weapons programs if it saw progress in a direct dialogue with Washington.

It also allowed hundreds of aging Koreans separated by the war to be temporarily reunited with their relatives two weeks ago. Recently, the North has begun renewing contacts with American relief agencies. This week, its foreign minister met with the visiting son of the American evangelist Billy Graham, who runs a relief agency.


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