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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Report: North Korea Test-Fires More Missiles

By VOA News
26 May 2009

A South Korean news agency is reporting that North Korea has test-fired two more short-range missiles, even as international condemnation of its Monday test of a nuclear bomb grows.

The Tuesday report by South Korea's Yonhap news agency cites unnamed government sources who say the missiles were fired from an east coast launch pad.

The report says the missiles have a range of 130 kilometers. North Korea test-fired three missiles Monday shortly after setting off an underground nuclear device.

Late Monday, an emergency session of the 15-member United Nations Security Council - including the United States, Russia and China - unanimously condemned the nuclear test. The Security Council says it is preparing a strong response to Pyongyang.

Interfax news agency in Moscow quoted a Russian Foreign Ministry source as saying the adoption of tough resolutions is probably unavoidable because the authority of the Security Council is at stake.

Russia is a permanent veto-holding member of the Security Council and has previously blocked stronger sanctions against Pyongyang.

North Korea has repeatedly said it needs a deterrent to protect itself from a possible attack from the United States, and accuses America of being hostile.

The nuclear test was the biggest explosion North Korea has ever carried out.

The test and heightened tensions prompted Seoul Tuesday to announce plans to join a U.S. led-initiative to intercept ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction. North Korea has previously said it would consider such a move an act of war, and the South had avoided joining the U.S. off-shore action in order not to provoke the North.

Monday's nuclear test and missile launch has triggered condemnation across the globe.

Even China, a neighbor and traditional ally of the communist North Korean state, says it is resolutely opposed to the test.

The United States has assured Japan and South Korea that it would give them its support.

In a phone conversation Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso agreed to work closely and to support U.N. action to curtail North Korea's nuclear and missile activities.

Mr. Obama says Pyongyang's nuclear program and missile launches are a grave threat to peace and security around the world, and a blatant violation of international law.

Diplomats in New York say work is under way on a new Security Council resolution addressing the North Korean nuclear crisis. The Council was criticized in the past for acting too slowly against North Korea's military gestures.

Foreign ministers from Asia and Europe have also condemned North Korea for its nuclear test.

In a draft statement Tuesday, ministers from more than 40 countries urged the North not to conduct further tests and return to six-nation talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons programs.

Analysts have been divided in their assessment of the reason for North Korea's military moves. Some say North Korea may be trying to gain leverage for negotiations with the international community; others say the test could be part of an internal political struggle in Pyongyang.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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