North Korea is crazy to plan rocket launch
North Korea maintains it has a right to perform long-range missile tests, despite a missile moratorium.
NORTH KOREA'S apparent plan to test fire a missile capable of reaching targets not only in Hawaii but the U.S. mainland is a brazen move that deserves international economic sanctions. By no means should it be rewarded in six-party talks over the North's nuclear programs.
A day after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called such a missile test by the North "a very serious matter and indeed a provocative act," North Korea declared that it has the right to carry out such rocket tests. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and diplomats from Japan, South Korea and France joined in denouncing the plan.
The Taepodong-2 has been described as a 65-ton, 116-foot-long ballistic missile with a range of up to 9,300 miles. In 1998, Pyongyang fired the Taepodong-1 over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean, but agreed to a moratorium in 1999.
Attempting to figure out dictator Kim Jong Il's motivation is next to impossible. North Korea has refused to join negotiators from the United States, China and other nations in six-party talks for the past seven months because of U.S. financial pressure on companies engaged in money laundering and counterfeiting of U.S. currency.
Kim might just want more attention. A day after the White House offered to begin talks with Iran about its nuclear program, North Korea proposed direct talks with Christopher Hill, the chief U.S. negotiator on Pyongyang's nuclear program, but the United States rejected the offer.
Further economic sanctions would be warranted if North Korea goes ahead with the test. However, Russia and China are likely to veto sanctions proposed in the U.N. Security Council, as they have proposals to punish Iran and Sudan. Kim might be trying to create such a divide among world powers.
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