Well, They Warned Us
North Korea test fired a surface-to-ship cruise
missile towards the Sea of Japan on Monday, Japanese media said,
escalating a crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
The missile test followed North Korea's announcement that it had
established a maritime exclusion zone in the Sea of Japan,
effective March 8-11.
Japanese broadcaster NHK and the Kyodo news agency said the
missile was launched at around midday Japanese time.
Washington: No Direct Talks
The test launch came shortly after US officials reiterated that
Washington would not hold direct talks with Pyongyang in order to
resolve the nuclear standoff between the two countries.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell and national security adviser
Condoleezza Rice both said on Sunday that multilateral talks would
be more productive.
North Korea called on Friday for bilateral talks, saying
Washington was alleging Pyongyang was developing nuclear weapons in
order to disarm it.
The accusation came as US and South Korean troops
conducted joint military exercises near the North Korean
Kyodo quoted Japan's Defence Agency as saying the missile was
not ballistic. NHK quoted the ministry as saying the missile posed
no threat to Japan's security.
Tensions mounted on the Korean peninsula after American
officials said last October that North Korea had admitted to
enriching uranium in violation of a 1994 accord and escalated when
Pyongyang withdrew from a nuclear non-proliferation pact.
North Korea test fired a short-range, anti-ship cruise missile
on February 24, apparently as part of a periodic training exercise.
It just so happened to coincide with the inauguration of South
Korea's new president, Roh Moo-hyun. US Secretary of State Colin
Powell attended the ceremony.
In 1998, it shocked the world by firing a Taepodong ballistic
missile that flew over Japan's main island of Honshu. It later said
it would not carry out further testing, but late last year said the
moratorium was no longer in effect.
FMI: DPRK Central News
North Korea Factbook