Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

North Korea setting up another missile test?

Joe Biden warned us Obama would be tested within the first six months of his administration, and we're pretty sure he wasn't talking about the fallout recently over people wanting to work in the administration or the ones currently working in the administration (Gotta love that lobbyist list). Biden was specifically talking about international tests. He's flunked the first one. And the second one. He's being told to done it down over the third one. But the fourth one should have him concerned as it deals with Kim Jong-Il, and a long range missile test that could be a month or two away:

North Korea is preparing to test fire a long range missile capable of striking the United States, according to media reports in South Korea and Japan this morning.

The Yonhap News Agency in Seoul quoted South Korean officials who described satellite image showing a long cylindrical object being transported on a train through the North Korean countryside. The sinister object has been identified as a Taepodong-2, an intercontinental missile with a range of more than 4000 miles, capable of crossing the Pacific and striking targets in Hawaii or Alaska.

It is impossible to confirm independently reports from North Korea, one of the world’s most isolated and hardline dictatorships, where government of information is almost total. But the country is known to have an active missile programme, as well as nuclear warheads – although crucially it probably does not have the technology to mount a nuclear device on a long range missile.

The unnamed sources quoted by Yonhap said that any test launch was unlikely for at least a month or two. The train appeared to be heading from a missile factory in North Pyongan province in the country’s north-west to a newly constructed launch site on the west coast.

Pyongyang’s last long range missile launches in 2006 and 1998, from a base in the east, caused shock across the region, particularly in Japan, where there is a deep sense of vulnerability to North Korean attack. The apparent preparations for a launch, which are easily discernible by spy satellites, may be intended by the government as a way of asserting itself as it prepares to resume nuclear disarmament negotiations with the new US government of Barack Obama. ...

A breakthrough came with the development of the Nodong missile, with a range of up to 800 miles. It is still an inaccurate weapon, but it could potentially be used to carry nuclear or chemical warheads. This was the weapons said to have been purchased in blueprint form by Benazir Bhutto, then the Prime Minister of Pakistan, in 1993.

North Korea’s most shocking ballistic gesture came in 1998 when it test-fired a new three-stage long-range missile into the Pacific Ocean. The course of the so called Taepodong took it over the north coast of Japan; even more alarmingly, its range approached that of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

North Korea's Scuds are able to reach all of South Korea, its Nodongs could attack Japan, and the Taepodong 2, which is believed to be in development, has the potential to threaten even Australia.

Why be worried now when the test seems a couple months away? We're not worried, first of all. Concerned, yes, despite the North Korean's failed test in 2006, they are still working on missiles that have the range to hit the United States and Europe. This is a work in progress for them, but the fact is they've got nukes and they're working on a delivery system for them.

But here comes a test that had befuddled both Clinton and Bush. Kim Jong-Il has maintained his program despite overtures to the contrary. I know the IAEA said that their reactors were shut down, and no enrichment was going on, they can't be there every second of everyday, and there is always the possibility that they have a clandestine site to finish work on their nuclear weapons. they claim they have six nukes. (I don't buy that for a moment. It makes zero sense to reveal how many of them you have to the world.) And while a few analysts in the Bush administration claim they were a decade away from having a Taepodong-2 that could successfully threaten the United States, we don't know that for sure.

Publius II


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