US of­fi­cial warns of ‘strong’ ac­tion over N. Korea rocket

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

A se­nior U.S. of­fi­cial warned Tues­day that North Korea will face “strong ac­tions” from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity if it goes ahead with a long-range rocket launch in vi­o­la­tion of U.N. res­o­lu­tions.

“We hope they re­think that idea. But if they don’t it’s very clear there will be strong ac­tions taken by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity,” U.S. Deputy Sec­re­tary of State Tony Blinken told re­porters af­ter talks with South Korean of­fi­cials.

“We are ab­so­lutely uni­fied and in sol­i­dar­ity with re­gard to chal­lenges posed by North Korea,” he added.

There has been spec­u­la­tion for months that the North might launch a long- range rocket to celebrate the 70th an­niver­sary of its rul­ing Work­ers’ Party on Satur­day.

But South Korean of­fi­cials said North Korea showed no sign of pre­par­ing for a rocket launch.

“We don’t see any signs of mak­ing prepa­ra­tions for an im­mi­nent launch such as the move­ment of a launch ve­hi­cle” to the launch pad, a Uni­fi­ca­tion Min­istry of­fi­cial said on con­di­tion of anonymity.

“Af­ter mov­ing com­po­nents of a launch ve­hi­cle, it usu­ally takes two to four weeks of prepa­ra­tions to launch.”

Re­marks by the head of the North’s space agency had fu­eled con­jec­ture about a launch to mark the an­niver­sary. Com­ments by the chief of the North’s na­tional atomic com­mis­sion led to ad­di­tional talk of a pos­si­ble fourth nu­clear test.

Py­ongyang in­sists its space pro­gram is purely sci­en­tific and de­signed to put peace­ful satel­lites in or­bit. But Washington and its al­lies have warned that any rocket launch will be deemed a test of bal­lis­tic mis­sile tech­nol­ogy in vi­o­la­tion of U.N. res­o­lu­tions.

“There is no ev­i­dence to sup­port a long-range rocket launch on Oc­to­ber 10,” Joel Wit, an ex­pert at the U.S.-Korea In­sti­tute at Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity, said on Twit­ter on Mon­day.

“North Korea could be do­ing things at night that we can­not watch via satel­lite, but most gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials agree that there will not be a launch,” he said at #38NorthPress.

Cit­ing satel­lite im­ages of the North’s So­hae Satel­lite Launch­ing Sta­tion, the U.S.-Korea In­sti­tute said last month on its closely watched web­site 38 North that a launch on or be­fore Oct. 10 was pos­si­ble but un­likely.

Py­ongyang suc­cess­fully launched a three-stage, Unha-3 rocket car­ry­ing a satel­lite on Dec. 12, 2012 from the So­hae launch­ing sta­tion.

It an­nounced the planned launch 11 days be­fore and no­ti­fied neigh­bor­ing coun­tries in­clud­ing Ja­pan of the in­tended flight path.

That launch trig­gered fresh sanc­tions and a surge in mil­i­tary ten­sions that cul­mi­nated two months later in North Korea con­duct­ing its third nu­clear test.

South Korean Pres­i­dent Park Geun- hye last month warned Py­ongyang of se­ri­ous con­se­quences if it pushes for­ward with ei­ther a rocket launch or nu­clear test.

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