North Korea has postponed a scheduled “satellite” launch that was to commemorate the anniversary of former leader Kim Jung-Il’s death later this month. North Korean officials claimed the rocket launch was postponed due to a “technical deficiency” in a part of the rocket, but other factors may have included the winter weather or warnings from the international community to reconsider the launch, Fox News reported.
According to Fox News, North Korea claimed the launch is simply a peaceful effort at improving their space program; however, the “United Nations, Washington, Seoul and others call it a cover meant to test technology for missiles that could be used to strike the United States. They have warned North Korea to cancel the launch or face a new wave of sanctions.”
The Washington Times explained that satellite launches and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, which the U.N. has forbidden North Korea from conducting, employ the same technology which is why Japan “has begun readying a ballistic missile battery in Tokyo to intercept anything headed toward its mainland, and dispatched three destroyers to waters the missile will travel over.”
South Korea is also on heightened alert, and the Times reported the U.S. Navy has sent two more guided-missile destroyers to join two destroyers already in the region.
“A successful launch would mean North Korea could develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland within two to three years,” Chong Chol-Ho, a weapons of mass destruction expert near Seoul told Fox News.
China and Russia had joined the international community in calling for North Korea to cancel the launch. And though it is cancelled for now, North Korea has scheduled a new launch date of Dec. 29.
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