Go to contents

Ministry Asked North to Nix ICBM Test

Posted June. 27, 2006 03:17,   


It was confirmed yesterday that the intelligence agencies of the U.S. and Japan had reported signs of North Korea’s Taepodong-2 missile test to South Korea on June 17 or 18.

A high-level government official said yesterday that the Ministry of Unification had sent warning messages to North Korea urging it to stop the missile test fire. The warnings have been issued to North Korea three times in mid-May, end of May and mid-June through an inter-Korean channel.

“In the messages, we expressed our clear position as to how South Korea and the U.S. will respond in case of an actual test fire. We requested the channel to deliver the message to the National Defense Commission, which is headed by Kim Jong Il,” the official said.

Asked whether the North Korean missile crisis has entered a negotiation phase, the official answered that although negotiation efforts are speeding up, it is too early to confirm it as a negotiation phase.

With regards to North Korea’s inviting Christopher Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs to the country, the official said that South Korea encouraged Hill to visit the North since there is nothing to lose, but the U.S. seemed to think otherwise.

“At the time, whether North Korea fueled the missile was the key issue, but South Korea decided there was no evidence to believe fuelling had been done. Ultimately, we can say that we made a credible judgment,” he added giving weight to the possibility that North Korea has not been fuelling the missile.

Meanwhile, Song Min-soon, chief presidential secretary for unification, foreign and security policy, wrote in the Blue House news letter, the “Cheong Wa Dae Briefing”, that if North Korea goes on to fire a missile, the South Korean government will take appropriate action. At the same time, he pointed out that overreacting to the problem by making assumptions that the North will fire a missile for sure will only serve North Korea’s interest of aggravating the crisis.