Friday, 12 April 2013

North Korean missile adjustments

On Thursday, North Korea briefly raised a missile into an upright firing position, stoking concerns that a launch was imminent, a U.S. official told CNN. Later, another U.S. official said it had been tucked back into its launcher. The latest move by the North could signify that a much-feared launch is less imminent. It could also mean the government was testing the equipment. The first U.S. official cautioned that raising the untested Musudan missile, which South Korea says has a range of up to 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometers), could have been just a trial run or an effort to "mess" with the United States and its allies. North Korea's missile capabilities The Musudan could reach Guam, a Western Pacific territory that is home to U.S. naval and air bases, and where the United States recently said it was placing missile defense systems. The United States and South Korean militaries have been monitoring the movements of mobile ballistic missiles on the east coast of North Korea. Japan has deployed defense systems. Clapper, the national intelligence director, said Thursday at a House Intelligence Committee hearing that he didn't think Kim had "much of an endgame" other than to get recognition from the world as a nuclear power, which "entitles him to negotiation, accommodation and, presumably, aid." He reiterated that the nation's "nuclear weapons and missile programs pose a serious threat to the United States and to the security environment in East Asia."

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