White House condemns N. Korea missile test
Updated: 2006-07-05 18:50
The White House is calculating its response to North Korea's defiant Fourth
of July missile tests which raised the stakes in a nuclear standoff and
pressured the United States and its partners to penalize Pyongyang.
The US government strongly condemned North Korea's test-firing of six
missiles, including a long-range one capable of reaching US soil, but said they
did not pose a danger to America.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is seen in
this framegrab taken from Chinese television on January 18, 2006. [AP file
North Korea fired a seventh missile early Wednesday, after the initial round
of US reaction.
For now, talking is the order of the day. Japan asked the UN Security Council
to hold an emergency session Wednesday. Tokyo was expected to present a UN
resolution protesting the missile tests, which sent US officials scurrying to
telephones for urgent, long-distance diplomacy.
The long-range missile, called the Taepondong-2, failed in less than a minute
after liftoff. It's unclear what North Korea learned from launching the shorter
and medium-range ones, which fell into the Sea of Japan, but could be capable of
striking its neighbors.
"Regardless of whether the series of launches occurred as North Korea
planned, they nevertheless demonstrate North Korea's intent to intimidate other
states by developing missiles of increasingly longer ranges," White House press
secretary Tony Snow said in a statement released late Tuesday night. "We urge
the North to refrain from further provocative acts, including further ballistic
The White House said the United States would continue to take all necessary
measures to protect itself and its allies.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Christopher Hill, assistant secretary
of state, began talking Tuesday with their counterparts in Japan, China, Russia
and South Korea. Hill was being dispatched to the region for new rounds of