Thursday, April 2, 2009

Clinton warns North Korea "Don't launch that missile!"

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned North Korea yesterday that firing a missile for any purpose would be a "provocative action" that would have consequences.

North Korea is loading a rocket on a launch pad in anticipation of the launch of a communications satellite between April 4 and 8, U.S. counterproliferation and intelligence officials said. North Korea announced its intention to launch the satellite last month but regional powers worry the claim is a cover for the launch of a long-range missile capable of reaching Alaska.

Clinton told reporters during a visit to Mexico City that the U.S. believes the North Korean plan to fire a missile for any purpose would violate a United Nations Security Council resolution barring the country from ballistic activity. She linked a missile launch to the future of talks between the U.S., North Korea and four other nations aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

"We have made it very clear that the North Koreans pursue this pathway at a cost and with consequences to the six-party talks, which we would like to see revived," Clinton said.

"We intend to raise this violation of the Security Council resolution, if it goes forward, in the UN," she said. "This provocative action in violation of the UN mandate will not go unnoticed and there will be consequences.''

National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said earlier this month that all indications suggest North Korea will, in fact, launch a satellite. However, North Korea faked a satellite launch in 1998 to cloak a missile development test.

In 2006, North Korea launched a Taepodong-2 that blew up less than a minute into flight.

Both the satellite launch rocket and long-range missile use similar technology, and arms control experts fear even a satellite launch would be a test toward eventually launching a long-range missile.

Read the full story HERE.

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