All entries for Sunday 18 June 2006

June 18, 2006

North Korea missle test imminent

According to the BBC (and every seemingly every other news source on the internet), North Korea could be testing their brand spanking new Taepodong–2 (or Taepodong–X according to some sources) today. Speculation has been around for a few days, and now there are reports of the North Korean people raising their flags, and expecting a "message to the people" later today.

Back in 1998, the Taepodong–1 missle was tested, completely unexpectedly, over Japan. Quite provocative some might say.

The old missle had a 2,000km range, but the range of the new 'X' missile is unclear. Some sources (such as the BBC), say it could have a range of 6,000km with a small payload (ie non–nuclear), which would put the US into it's path, but others say that with any significant payload on board (that is, one that could do any real damage) would only be able to reach Guam in the middle of the Pacific.

If this missile is launched, there of course is the potential for error, most significantly, the potential for it to fall on Japan. In all but the most devastating scenario, the missile won't be carrying a payload, but some quotes coming from Japan would take any strike as an 'attack' on it's homeland. This is why I was quite reassured that the Japanese Foreign Minister, Taro Aso, said Japan is ''unlikely to immediately appeal to arms'' if a missile should land.

However, regardless of this, if the speculation is true and a missile is indeed test fired today, we can expect further frosty relations in the area.

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