U.S., Japan renew warning; N. Korea vows to go ahead with launch; Manila to divert flights to shun debris
North Korea hinted on Wednesday that it could conduct a third nuclear test if the U.S. and its allies put additional sanctions on the North over its planned rocket launch in mid-April.
The Chosun Shinbo, a newspaper published in Japan by an association of pro-Pyongyang Korean-Japanese residents, pointed out Wednesday that Pyongyang had conducted a second nuclear test after the U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on the North in 2009.
“The U.S.’s words and deeds denouncing the launch of Kwangmyongsong-3 is like encouraging us to wind back the time table to April 2009,” the paper said.
The North launched a missile in April 2009 and conducted a second nuclear test in May.
The U.S. and its allies have raised concerns that the North’s planned rocket launch to put a satellite into orbit in mid-April could be a precursor to a third nuclear test.
The U.S. and Japanese governments renewed their warning to North Korea to drop its plan to launch a satellite. The U.S. and its allies see the plan as a pretext to test a long-range ballistic missile.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and his Japanese counterpart Naoki Tanaka discussed “developments related to North Korea’s announcement that it plans to conduct a missile launch in mid-April,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters in Washington.
“Secretary Panetta and Defense Minister Tanaka reiterated their view that such a missile launch would directly violate North Korea’s international obligations and U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874,” he said.
“They also affirmed the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance in defense of Japan and in contributing to regional peace and security.”
Despite international condemnation that a rocket launch would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions, North Korea has repeatedly said it would put a satellite into orbit on a rocket sometime between April 12 and 16 in celebration of the 100th year since late founder Kim Il-sung’s birth.
Ri Gun, director-general of the North American affairs bureau of the North’s foreign ministry, told reporters in Beijing that the North will go ahead with its rocket launch plan as scheduled.
He said that the North has the right to launch Kwangmyongsong-3, as every other nation has the sovereign right to “peacefully” develop space programs.
His comments came after he met with former U.S. government officials including Thomas Pickering, former under secretary of state for political affairs, in Berlin.
With mounting international concerns over the North’s rocket launch, the Philippines’ civil aviation authority said it would divert flights to and from Japan and South Korea to coincide with a planned North Korean rocket launch over fears of falling debris.
Air routes from Japan and South Korea to the Manila airport will be closed on April 12-16, when Pyongyang is expected to fire the rocket into orbit, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokeswoman Joy Songsong said.
Tanaka recently ordered Japan’s missile units to intercept a North Korean rocket if it or its fragments threaten Japan’s territory.
The Unha-3 rocket is expected to fly past western Japan after its launch from North Korea’s west coast between April 12 and 16.
By Kim Yoon-mi and news reports (firstname.lastname@example.org)
막나가는 북한, 이젠 핵실험 위협!
`광명성 발사' 제재시 3차 핵실험 시사
북한은 4일 장거리로켓인 `광명성 3호 위성' 발 사에 대응해 미국 등이 유엔을 동원해 제재를 가할 경우 3차 핵실험도 할 수 있음을 간접적으로 내비쳤다.
북한의 입장을 대변하는 재일본조선인총연합회(조총련) 기관지 `조선신보'는 이 날 '도발에는 강력한 대응조치'란 제목의 기사에서 "광명성 3호 발사를 시비질하는 미국의 언동은 시계바늘이 (2009년) `4월 이후'로 옮겨지도록 상황을 유도하는 것이 나 같다"며 "2009년 5월에는 조선(북한)이 유엔 안보리 제재에 대한 자위적 조치로 서 두 번째의 핵실험을 단행했었다"고 강조했다.
이번 `광명성 3호' 발사에 국제사회가 제재를 가할 경우 3차 핵실험을 할 수 있 다고 간접적으로 위협한 셈이다.
북한은 2009년 4월 장거리로켓 '광명성 2호' 발사 후 유엔 안보리가 대북제재를 결의하자 유엔 핵사찰단을 추방하고 6자회담을 거부, 그해 5월에 2차 핵실험을 강행 한 바 있다.
조선신보는 "조선은 식량지원이 2·29(북미) 합의에 포함된 이상 그것을 취소한 다는 것은 합의의 핵심사항을 위반하는 것이라고 명백히 지적하고 있다"며 "조미 합 의가 깨지면 핵실험과 장거리미사일 발사, 우라늄 농축활동을 임시중지하기로 한 조 선 측의 공약도 취소될 수 있다"고 위협했다.
신문은 또 2009년 4월 장거리로켓 `광명성 2호' 발사 당시를 거론, "3년 전 일 본이 `광명성 2호` 발사를 시비하면서 요격 소동을 벌였을 때 `반타격사령관'으로 육해공군을 지휘한 분은 김정은 최고사령관"이라며 "적들이 요격으로 나오면 진짜 전쟁을 하자고 결심했었다"는 김정은 당 중앙군사위원회 부위원장의 발언을 언급했 다.