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North Korea Test-Fires Seventh Missile

by Pamela Leavey

After firing six missiles over the course of four hours on early Wednesday, North Korea continued its launching a series of test-fires “sending a seventh into the Sea of Japan some 12 hours later during rush hour in Japanese cities.”

Japan slapped limited economic sanctions on North Korea Wednesday and moved with the United States to condemn Pyongyang at the U. N. Security Council after the Stalinist state unnerved the region by test launching a barrage of least seven missiles.

At a hastily called meeting of the Security Council in New York, no one defended the North Korean action, which U.S. and Japanese envoys said should be denounced swiftly in strong terms.

The missile considered the most dangerous to the U.S. is a long-range Taepodong-2 “potentially capable of hitting targets on the U.S. West Coast.” The Taepodong-2 apparently failed within 35 seconds of being launched.

The other six missiles, officials said, were all short- or medium-range missiles that plunged into waters from 65 to 300 miles off the North Korean coast. The closest missile to Japan was the Taepondong-2 test, which fell within 312 miles of the Japanese coastal city of Niigata. Military analysts familiar with South Korean intelligence data said the tests of at least five of the six smaller missiles appeared to go smoothly.

The NY Times reports:

The United Nations Security Council met in emergency session this morning to consider a resolution condemning North Korea for test-firing seven missiles early today, including an intercontinental missile that failed 42 seconds after it was launched.

Kenzo Oshima, the United Nations ambassador from Japan, which requested the Security Council session, said after a preliminary round of talks, “We hope that the response of the council is swift, strong and resolute.”

Japan and South Korea imposed economic penalties on North Korea today, and Mr. Oshimi said that the council would be considering possible sanctions.

The White House spokesman, Tony Snow, said that the United States would work in concert with other nations, and declined to say what kinds of measures the United States would support. He did note, however, that “the North Koreans are beholden to other parties for much of their energy and economic aid, and that, I’m sure, is something that will be discussed.”

Mr. Snow also said that intelligence reports were indicating that North Korea may fire a few more short- or medium-range missiles in the next few days.

The small barrage of launchings that began before dawn today came in defiance of warnings from President Bush and the governments of Japan, South Korea and China.

Condi said that the “international condemnation of the missile firings” showed that North Korea “perhaps miscalculated” and chastized them saying North Korea should “change its behavior.”

Whatever they thought they were doing, they got a very strong response from the international community,” Ms. Rice said.

Fact Box: North Korea’s Missile Arsenal

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