The US believes that North Korea’s plans to launch a satellite into orbit between April 12 and 16 is a veiled long-range missile test that would break a three week-old UN deal for food aid. The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday reported that a US envoy has delivered a warning to Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr. The plans see a North Korean rocket aimed towards South-East Asia and Australia for the first time.
Dr Kurt Campbell, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told the paper that:
"If the missile test proceeds as North Korea has indicated, our judgment is that it will impact in an area roughly between Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines.”
Here’s an unofficial mock-up produced by Giz to visualise where that zone is roughly:
Australia has now joined a growing list of countries (including the US, South Korea and the Philippines) to condemn the action, which North Korea maintains is to celebrate the 100th birthday of its deceased founder, Kim Il-Sung. The tensions will likely dominate the two day, 53-nation nuclear security summit that begins in Seoul tomorrow. [SMH and ABC]