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March 12, 2009

North Korea to launch missile satellite into orbit

POLITICS - The United States and North Korea have officially been at war for 56 years now. A cold war, but a war of words and technology nevertheless.

Next month North Korea will follow through with plans to launch a satellite into orbit. A move that will jeopardize the stability of the region, said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today, who is from South Korea.

"I'm concerned about the DPRK's (North Korea) recent move to launch a satellite or long-range missiles," says Ban. "This will threaten the peace and stability in the region."

North Korea tested a nuclear weapon on October 9th 2006 (see North Korea's Nuclear Test) and has been looking to build long range missiles capable of reaching the United States.

A missile satellite in orbit would allow North Korea to launch missiles at any target around the world, with very little warning time.

The regional instability caused by a North Korean rocket launch could result in South Korea or Japan in going to war against North Korea, and perhaps even drag the USA, Russia and China into the conflict. In 1998 North Korea fired a missile over Japan and its newer missiles are designed to reach as far as Alaska.

After North Korea's nuclear test in October 2006, the UN Security Council passed a resolution that said North Korea should conduct neither nuclear tests nor ballistic missile launches, and should abandon both programs in an effort to promote peace in the region.

Asked if he thought a rocket launch would qualify as a violation of Resolution 1718, Ban said, "That's what Security Council members will discuss when and after anything happens."

Japan says a missile satellite launch would be a violation of U.N. resolutions, but China, North Korea's only major ally, has veto powers and could block any Security Council action.

Long-running six-party talks between the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States on the North's nuclear programs have stalled, with implementation of an initial energy-for-disarmament deal stuck on North Korea's refusal to allow nuclear material to be taken abroad for tests.

North Korea plans to launch its satellite between April 4th and 8th, depending on weather conditions.

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