Entries in Rockets (7)


North Korea Vows More Nuclear Tests Targeting US

PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images(BEIJING) -- In a bellicose statement singling out the United States as the "sworn enemy" of the Korean people, North Korea on Thursday announced plans for a third nuclear test and continued rocket launches.

The move is seen as a disappointment to those who hoped the country's new leader, Kim Jong-Un, might take a less aggressive path than his predecessor and father, Kim Jong-Il.

It is also seen as a direct challenge to President Obama and South Korea's newly elected president, Park Geun-hye, who takes office next month.

The statement from North Korea's National Defense Commission read: "Settling accounts with the U.S. needs to be done with force, not with words as it regards jungle law as the rule of its survival."

The renewed threats come in response to the U.S.-backed resolution tightening sanctions against North Korea after its December rocket launch.

At that time, North Korea repeatedly insisted that the launch was simply part of its peaceful space program.  The recent statement made no mention of that.

It read: "We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets that we will fire and the high-level nuclear test we will carry out are targeted at the United States."

South Korean officials analyzed debris from the December launch that, they say, indicates North Korea built and tested crucial components for a missile that can fly further than 6,200 miles.

Analysts say that preparations at the Pungyee test site in northeastern North Korea are underway and that a new underground test could take place on short notice.

Within the international monitoring community it is not believed that North Korea currently has the capability to launch a long-range rocket with the capacity to reach the United States or the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile.  But the U.S. is not pleased with North Korea's plans.

Glyn Davies, the top U.S. envoy to the region, said in Seoul, "We hope they don't do it.  We call on them not to do it."

China, North Korea's main ally in the region, is also urging restraint.  China backed the U.S. resolution at the United Nations and on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry cautioned North Korea not to take further steps to increase tension.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rocket Attack in Afghanistan Kills One, Injures Three

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Locals are in shock after four rockets were fired into Kabul city Tuesday morning.

According to the chief of Kabul Police, one person was killed and three others were injured -- all were civilians.

One rocket landed in the northeastern part of Kabul, near a private television station, while another one crashed close to an office compound used by the Afghan intelligence service. The other two rockets landed near Kabul International Airport.

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


North Korea’s Planned Rocket Launch Has Southeast Asia on Edge

PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images(SINGAPORE) -- The clock heard ticking around the world has Southeast Asia on edge as North Korea prepares a rocket launch, possibly by the end of the week.

North Korea claims the 90-ton Unha-3 rocket is simply a weather satellite, but the U.S. is concerned the launch is a secret attempt to test long-range ballistic missiles that could one day reach the West.

The rocket will be launched from North Korea’s new Sohae Satellite Launching Station in the northern part of the country, near its border with China.  It is expected to travel south by southwest, passing by South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines.  It is expected to splash down in the waters off the coast of Australia.

But officials are concerned that faulty technology could compromise the rocket’s trajectory, resulting in a possible debris shower over inhabited areas. 

Maximo Sacro Jr., of the Philippine Astronomical Society, said at a briefing at the National Disaster Rick Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), “It is important that we know the time of the launch.  That is the bottom line.”

Exact timing will allow officials in the Philippines to estimate when the rocket’s two boosters will disengage.  The first is expected to do so very quickly and land in South Korean territory.  The second booster is expected to disengage at a much higher altitude about three to four minutes after the first, said Sacro.  It is expected to take another three to four hours before is crashes in Philippine territory.

Experts warn that because North Korea is so secretive about its technology, there is no way to know precisely how sophisticated or reliable the rocket’s guidance system is.  Disaster officials in the Philippines are warning local governments to prepare for emergency evacuations in case the rocket strays from its projected flight path and debris falls on land.

As of Thursday morning, the Philippine government put a no-fly and no-sail zone into effect in northeastern Luzon.  Officials do not expect the rocket to disintegrate into pieces, but are preparing for emergency measures.

The NDRRMC director said the agency is liaising with the U.S., Japan and South Korea to monitor developments.  Many countries are asking the U.S. for help to track the rocket from liftoff.  Both Japan and South Korea have said they are prepared to shoot down any rocket that strays into its territory.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Keeps Heat on North Korea Ahead of Planned Rocket Launch

Ryan McVay/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. is warning that North Korea risks further isolation from the world community if it moves ahead with a planned rocket launch for later this week and possibly, a third underground nuclear test.

Satellite images obtained by officials in South Korea suggest that Pyongyang is building underground tunnels where it could detonate a nuclear weapon.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland acknowledged on Monday that the U.S. could not say definitively if North Korea is planning a third underground test, which would presumably occur after the launch of what Pyongyang claims is a weather satellite between April 12 to April 16 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung.

White House press secretary Jay Carney concurred with Nuland that North Korea was risking only more isolation should the launch take place.

Carney told reporters on Monday that Pyongyang's defiance would derail an opportunity "to rejoin the community of nations and to do something about the extreme poverty and depravation that its people suffer."

The U.S. has already cut off 240 tons of food that would have gone to children and pregnant women because of North Korea's decision to conduct the launch.  It was just two months ago that Pyongyang told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that it would halt nuclear tests, uranium enrichment and long-range missile launches.

In a related development, the Pentagon issued a statement late Monday that “Secretary [of Defense Leon] Panetta and South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan Jin spoke by phone this evening to discuss the announced North Korean missile launch.  Both leaders would regard a missile launch by North Korea as a serious provocation and a violation of North Korea’s international obligations and standing UN Security Council Resolutions.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


North Korea Prepares Third Nuclear Test

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- As North Korea prepares to launch its controversial rocket this week, recent satellite images show they are also readying for a third nuclear underground test, according to South Korean media quoting anonymous government officials.

The North is reportedly in the final stages of excavating new tunnels at its Punggye-ri site in Kilju, North Hamgyong province, where they conducted two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.  U.S. commercial satellite photos show piles of dirt being moved in from other areas starting last month.  An underground nuclear test requires massive amounts of dirt to fill up the tunnels.

Experts in Seoul, South Korea, say the nuclear test preparation is a calculated move in case the U.S. does not deliver the food aid it had promised on Feb. 29.  Washington and Pyongyang had reached a significant deal then to give 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance in return for suspension of North Korea’s nuclear program and missile tests.

“This is their hidden card to make sure they get that,” said Baek Seung-joo, a North Korea specialist at Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.

But North Korea on March 16 announced it will launch a satellite into orbit between April 12 to 16 to commemorate the 100th birth year of its late-founder Kim Il Sung.  The U.S. then stated that the planned food assistance would be suspended.

The international community has strongly condemned the launch, saying that what North Koreans call “a satellite for peaceful purposes” is actually a cover for testing a long-range missile as both require similar technology.  Experts say the Unha-3 rocket could be a test for missiles far enough to reach the U.S., but the North is not believed to have the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on it yet.

In a rare move, Pyongyang has invited foreign journalists to the Tongchang-ri missile launch pad to witness the rocket taking off.

“They invited to show the world that this is not a breach of the deal with the U.S. since it is a rocket, not a missile weapon.  So if Americans won’t give that food aid which they desperately need, they can say you broke the deal, so we are going ahead and testing another nuclear bomb,” said Baek.

Neighboring South Korea and Japan have stated that their militaries are prepared to shoot down the rocket if any parts fall in their territories.  North Korea’s Foreign Ministry has threatened that it would consider any attempt to strike the Unha-3 to be a declaration of war.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


More Rockets and More Retaliations as Violence Grows in Gaza

Antenna Audio, Inc./Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- It's been the bloodiest week on record along the Israeli-Gaza border since the war there over two years ago. It began on Saturday when Palestinian militants fired 50 rockets and mortars in a 15-minute window, injuring a number of Israelis. Israel's airstrikes in retaliation since then have left at least nine Palestinians dead. More strikes came early Thursday morning, but they didn't stop at least another eight rockets from hitting open fields Thursday.

The night sky over Gaza lit up again Wednesday night into Thursday as the Israeli Air Force bombed militant training camps, smuggling tunnels and rocket launchers. No one was injured.

The army says it was responding to more than a dozen mortars and rockets fired by Palestinian militants on Wednesday. Two of those hit a city 25 miles from the border and now Israel's Prime Minister has vowed to respond firmly and responsibly to the escalating violence. But it's unclear what that means and some analysts fear that another war in Gaza may be one possibility.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Israeli Air Force Strikes Gaza

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- The Israeli Army deployed an air strike in Gaza Thursday in response to Wednesday's rocket attack on southern Israel.

The Israeli Air Force struck what it's calling two terror targets in Gaza.  A local report describes one of these locations as a Hamas training camp.  Palestinian sources say the attack has left four injured, and that three spots, not two, were hit.

Militants in Gaza have increased their rocket and mortar attacks on Israel since the direct peace talks were relaunched, with 30 such attacks since September.  On Wednesday, militants fired two qassam rockets on Israel.  One rocket landed in the Negev region, but didn't cause any injuries.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio