North Korea is believed to have completed fueling a missile capable of reaching Alaska, raising the probability of an imminent test launch, U.S. officials said on Sunday. The United States plans to join Japan in a sharp response if the test goes ahead.
Washington has warned Pyongyang against the launch in a message passed to North Korean diplomats at the United Nations but there was no response, American officials said.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Pyongyang could still decide to scrap the launch, but that was unlikely given the complexity of siphoning fuel back out of a missile prepared for launch.
The test is expected to involve a Taepodong-2 missile with an estimated range of 2,175 to 2,670 miles (3,500 to 4,300 kilometers). At that range, parts of Alaska in the United States would be within reach as well as Asia and Russia.
U.S. officials have watched with alarm as satellite photos showed launch preparations accelerating at the Musudan-ri missile facility in North Hamgyong province in North Korea’s northeast. – cnn
Start of a new war? What does “sharp response” actually mean? Update 6-21-06: from fark.com:
“North Korea: We are going to fire a long-range test missile and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. U.S.: We’re gonna shoot it down. North Korea: Whoa, let’s not get all hasty here. U.S.: Suck it”
“…other U.S. officials have said that Washington was unlikely to try to shoot it down.” – yahoo