Saturday, April 30, 2005

North Korea Advances Missile Capability

Way back on the 23rd of February I posted on the DPRK's new missile capability. Although the Taepodong 2 missile has not yet been tested, analysts are starting to get worried. North Korea 'could hit US with missiles'
One intelligence official said United States agencies judged that a two-stage Taepo Dong could strike parts of the US west coast and that a three-stage version could probably reach all of North America.

When asked by Senator Hillary Clinton during a hearing whether "North Korea has the ability to arm a missile with a nuclear device", he responded: "The assessment is that they have the capability to do that, yes ma’am."

The president, George Bush, said later there was a "concern" about North Korea’s ability to attack America with a nuclear weapon. "We don’t know if he can or not, but I think it’s best when dealing with a tyrant like Kim Jong Il to assume he can," he said.
The Associated Press predictably soft-pedals the danger but, interestingly, demonstrates the need for a missile defense shield. In this exchange Senator Clinton gives every appearance that she "gets it". Defense Official Says North Korea Can Arm Missile With Nuclear Weapon;
Jacoby discussed North Korea's capabilities during questioning by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Clinton asked if "North Korea has the ability to arm a missile with a nuclear device?"

Jacoby answered, "My assessment is that they have the capability to do that."

Clinton then asked, "And do you assess that North Korea has the ability to deploy a two-stage intercontinental nuclear missile that could successfully hit U.S. territory?"

Jacoby responded, "Yes, the assessment on a two-stage missile would give capability to reach portions of U.S. territory and the projection on a three-stage missile would be that it would be able to reach most of the continental United States. That still is a theoretical capability in a sense that those missiles have not been tested."

U.S. intelligence believes a two-stage Taepo Dong 2 could hit Alaska, Hawaii and perhaps parts of the West Coast. North Korea also has shorter-range missiles which, some officials have said, may be able to carry a nuclear warhead as far as Japan.

Clinton said Jacoby's testimony was "troubling beyond words."
Not troubling enough, however to do something really effective, like multi-party talks where real pressure can be applied. No, they want direct talks, like President Clinton did.
Later Thursday, Clinton and Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the panel, sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that read, "Admiral Jacoby's assessment that North Korea has the ability to arm a missile with a nuclear device is, we believe, the first such public assessment by an Administration official."

They called on the Bush administration to pursue direct talks with Pyongyong, something the administration has declined to do in favor of six-party talks that also include China, Japan, Russia and South Korea.

But President Bush, at a White House news conference Thursday night, said that "the best way to deal with this issue diplomatically is to have four other nations beside ourself dealing with him. And we'll continue to do so."
The liberal editors and reporters of the Associated Press probably hate this, but this story makes the need for a missile defense shield obvious even to the simple minded.
Bush also said the threat from North Korea was a chief reason for his insistence on going ahead with development of a missile defense system. "Perhaps (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Il has got the capacity to launch a weapon; wouldn't it be nice to be able to shoot it down?" Bush said.
Yes it would.

No comments: