05/26/2009, 00.00
KOREA

Pyongyang tests two short range missiles

The communist regime is preparing for the eventuality of a “pre-emptive” attack by the United States. The International Community condemns the nuclear experiment and speaks of fresh sanctions against the North. Pyongyang restarts the nuclear arms race while over a quarter of the population starves.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – North has test-fired short-range missiles in the Yellow Sea, one day after it staged a nuclear test, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said.   It described yesterday’s test as “the first in a series” being programmed by the Communist North. The International Community has sounded the alarm: the United States, Japan and South Korea are a united front against the North and the UN’s Security Council is threatening to tighten sanctions against Pyongyang.

“North Korea – reports Yonhap quoting an official South Korean source - has declared an off-limits area for vessels in the Yellow Sea off Jungsan County”, 40 kilometres west of Pyongyang. The source adds that “It also fired t short-range ground-to-air missiles from locations near its east coast”.

Yesterday morning the communist regime in the north carried out an underground nuclear explosion, which was estimated to have the power of up to 20 kilotons, making it comparable to the US bombs that flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. A few hours later they test fired two short range missiles off the east coast of the country.  Pyongyang claims it is preparing for a “pre-emptive” attack by the United States.   “Our army and people are fully ready for battle... against any reckless US attempt for a pre-emptive attack," it said in a strongly-worded statement.

Last nigh US President Barak Obama spoke by phone with his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso to "coordinate" reaction to North Korea's nuclear test. The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said America wanted "strong measures" against North Korea; the US could put the North back onto its list of “rogue” states.   The possibility of fresh sanctions against Pyongyang is however not supported by China, North Koreas principal commercial partner.

International analysts warn that the communist regime has already survived periods of severe famine over the past decade and that still today over a quarter of the population are dependent on food aid.  To divert attention from the food problem, the government has abruptly broken off talks, test-firing both long and short-range missiles and then carrying out the underground test, a major escalation in its nationalist campaign in response to international pressures.

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