Posted May. 05, 2005 23:38,
Richard Lawless, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific affairs, said on May 4 that the missile launched by North Korea on May 1 could be a new missile that Pyongyang is developing.
Kyodo News reported from Washington D.C. that deputy assistant secretary Lawless stated the above to the Japanese delegation, including the acting secretary-general of Japans ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Shinzo Abe, at the meeting.
According to Abe, Deputy Assistant Secretary Lawless said that North Korea has already deployed a mid-range Rodong missile, and the recent missile seems to be part of a new missile development program.
Back in 1998, North Korea conducted a test launch of a long-range ballistic missile named Daepodong that crossed over Japans main island and crashed into the Pacific.
The North Korean government claimed at the time that it was a multistage missile for a satellite.
Meanwhile, deputy assistant secretary Lawless didnt mention whether or not North Korea succeeded in developing a nuclear warhead capable of being loaded on a missile.
Lawless only warned that although North Koreas claim over its nuclear missile could turn out to be an empty threat, considering the fact that the North has developed these weapons over the last 25 years, its assertion could well be true. He emphasized that countermeasures against an emergency should be in place.
Lawless is said to have mentioned simply that the U.S. is closely watching the situation, without clarifying the speculations surrounding the Norths nuclear testing.