North Korea lashed out at the United States over its plans to build a missile
defense shield Tuesday but did not directly address concerns that it is
preparing to test-fire a missile capable of reaching the United States.
South Korean ruling Uri Party Chairman Kim
Keun-tae, left, talks with South Korean Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok
during a meeting to discuss for North Korea's missile test in Seoul,
Tuesday, June 20, 2006. The United States sternly warned North Korea not
to test-fire a long-range missile thought powerful enough to reach the
U.S. coast, as officials suggested economic sanctions could be imposed as
North Korea's apparent moves toward testing a long-range ballistic missile
have spiked tensions in the region and drawn warnings of serious repercussions
from the United States and others.
On Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned the North that it will
face consequences if it launches a missile, calling it a "very serious matter."
North Korea responded Tuesday by saying that U.S. moves to build a missile
shield are fueling a dangerous arms race in space.
"The world is not allowed to avert its face from the grave situation in which
it is facing the danger of a nuclear shower from the blue sky," the North's
Minju Joson newspaper wrote in a commentary, according to the country's Korean
Central News Agency.
North Korea also criticized a Japanese move to buy missiles and associated
equipment from the U.S. to upgrade its missile defense system.
The North claimed Tokyo's new missiles showed an intent to become "a military
giant" and mount "overseas aggression," the North's main newspaper, Rodong
Sinmun, said in commentary carried by KCNA.
The United States, Japan, Australia, South Korea and other countries have
urged North Korea to abandon any missile firing, but there was no sign of
backing down. U.S. officials in Washington said Monday the missile was
apparently fully assembled and fueled, but Japan said Tuesday it could not
confirm that fueling was completed.
South Korea's agency, the National Intelligence Service, also believes North
Korea hasn't yet completed fueling the rocket because the 40 fuel tanks seen
around a launch site weren't enough to fuel a projectile estimated to be 65
tons, Yonhap news agency reported, quoting lawmakers who attended an
Bad weather over the purported launch site in North Korea on Tuesday dimmed
chances of an immediate launch. The area was cloudy, with rain expected through
Wednesday morning, said Kim Seung-bae of the South's Korea Meteorological