In­side the Ring

The Washington Times Weekly - - National Security - Bill Gertz

space-launch ef­fort.

By la­bel­ing the mis­sile a space launcher, Py­ongyang hopes to avoid fur­ther in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions, such as those im­posed af­ter its mis­sile launches in July 2006, in­clud­ing a failed Tae­podong-2 test. Ad­di­tion­ally, by declar­ing the mis­sile a space launcher, North Korea is seek­ing to com­pli­cate the use of U.S. mis­sile de­fenses, which U.S. mil­i­tary com­man­ders have said could be used to shoot down the lat­est mis­sile if it is tracked as head­ing to­ward U.S. or al­lied ter­ri­tory. de­clined to com­ment.

“The Pen­tagon’s re­port is an an­nual re­quire­ment based on the pro­vi­sions of the fis­cal year 2000 Na­tional De­fense Autho­riza­tion Act,” he said. “The re­port is in­tended to be fac­tual, de­scrip­tive and an­a­lyt­i­cal. It is in­tended to let the facts speak for them­selves.”

The 66-page re­port, re­leased Wed­nes­day, says China is de­vel­op­ing a range of high­tech mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Op­po­si­tion to the re­port comes af­ter Chi­nese com­plaints about U.S. Navy sur­vey ships op­er­at­ing in in­ter­na­tional wa­ters claimed by China as eco­nomic zones. Sev­eral con­fronta­tions have occurred be­tween the U.S. ships and Chi­nese naval ves­sels, in­clud­ing the ha­rass­ment of the USNS Im­pec­ca­ble in the South China Sea on March 7.

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