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Feb 11th, 2009

U.S. Official: North Korea Might Be Making Missile Preparations

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, right, in an undated photo that the state news agency released Saturday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, right, in an undated photo that the state news agency released Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009. (Photo credit: STR / AFP — Getty Images)

Feb. 10, 2009

WASHINGTON — A U.S. spy satellite snapped an image within the last several days of preparations at a North Korean missile site previously used for Taepodong-2 missile launch operations, a senior U.S. official told CNN Tuesday.

The photograph shows North Korea assembling telemetry equipment at the site — equipment that would be needed for a launch to take place, the official said, adding that so far, there is no direct evidence of a missile being moved to the launch pad.

Telemetry equipment involves sophisticated electronics used to monitor missile launches. The official said if North Korea moves a missile to the area, it would be a cause for concern and could place the U.S. missile defense site in Alaska on alert. …

The last time equipment was assembled at the location, it resulted in the launch of a Taepodong-2 long-range ballistic missile in 2006.

The Taepodong-2 is believed to have a range of about 2,500 miles, making it capable of striking Alaska. In the 2006 test, the missile failed 40 seconds after launching. …

The development also comes as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepares to head to Asia, where she will consult with U.S. allies about how to jump-start stalled nuclear talks with North Korea.

On Tuesday, days before the trip is scheduled to start, Clinton said the United States will continue six-party diplomacy aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear program.

She also warned Pyongyang about provocative action against its neighbors.

“We are hopeful that some of the behavior that we have seen coming from North Korea in the last few weeks is … not a precursor of any action that would up the ante, or threaten the stability and peace and security of the neighbors in the region,” Clinton told reporters.

Tension between South Korea and North Korea has increased in recent weeks, with North Korea announcing it will scrap peace agreements with the South, warning of a war on the Korean peninsula and threatening to test a missile capable of hitting the Western United States.

“I know of the continuing concern on the part of the other members of the six-party talks with respect to North Korea’s attitude in the last weeks, and I’ll be talking with our counterparts to determine the most effective way forward,” Clinton said.


Previous report on this site

Korea Headache Looms for Obama (Jan. 28, 2009)



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Taliban claims responsibility as would-be suicide bombers strike in capital ahead of a planned visit by President Barack Obama’s special envoy

Image: Afghan security forces
Afghan security forces approach the country’s Justice Ministry building following an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009. (Photo credit: Musadeq Sadeq / AP)

Slide presentation
Afghan security personnel climb a ladder on the roof of the Justice Ministry during a gun battle with the Taliban attackers in Kabul

Afghan assault
Taliban forces launch coordinated strikes in the heart of Kabul


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5 Responses to “North Korea Missile Launch?”
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