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Tensions Rise over North Korean Missile Launch

March 30, 2012

Earlier this month, and just weeks after the US and North Korea announced a deal to resume nuclear talks in exchange for food aid, North Korea announced plans to launch a rocket to place a satellite in orbit in mid-April. North Korean officials have indicated that the satellite will be used for scientific research and “peaceful purposes” and that the timing of the launch is intended to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder Kim Il-sung. The United States insists that this launch is really a long-range missile test and, as such, violates a 2009 UN Security Council resolution (pdf) calling for North Korea to suspend its ballistic missile program and end all missile launches. Speaking earlier this week at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, US President Barack Obama warned that if North Korea proceeds with the missile launch, it risks further isolation (BBC). The US has also announced it will suspend food assistance to North Korea (Christian Science Monitor).

A number of countries in the region, including Japan and South Korea, have expressed concerns that parts of the rocket might endanger their territory and have declared their intention to shoot down the missile if it goes off course or otherwise threatens their countries (New York Times).

 

 

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