Posted February. 12, 2009 07:48,
A U.S. spy satellite spotted several days ago the assembly of telemetry equipment in North Korea, a crucial component used to monitor missile launches, at a missile base in Musudan-ri on North Koreas eastern coast.
CNN quoted a ranking U.S. official as saying yesterday that though no direct evidence was captured, Pyongyang is moving a long-range missile to the launch pad.
The North test-fired a Taepodong-2 missile at its Musudan-ri base in 2006.
If North Korea moves a long-range missile to the launch base, the missile defense base in Alaska will be on alert, the official said.
The U.S. Navy stepped up its monitoring of North Korea by deciding to move its fleet to the monitoring position in the Pacific, Reuters said.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates also told a news briefing that since the first time the North launched the missile, it flew for a few minutes before crashing, so the range of the Taepodong-2 remains to be seen.
On if the U.S. military will intercept a missile should the North launch one, Gates said, I certainly intend to make sure that my colleagues -- the secretary of state, national security adviser, president and vice president -- understand what our capabilities are, and that that`s an option out there should we deem it necessary.
It would be nice if North Korea would focus on getting positive messages across to its negotiating partners about verification and moving forward with denuclearization.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who spoke at a news conference with Czech Republic Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, said, We are hopeful that some of the behavior that we have seen coming from North Korea in the last few weeks is not a precursor of any action that would up the ante or threaten the stability and peace and security of the neighbors in the region.
North Korea has to understand that all of the countries in East Asia have made it clear that its behavior is viewed as unacceptable.
On U.S. policy toward North Korea, she said, Our stance remains the same.
There are opportunities for the government and people of North Korea were they to begin once again to engage in the six-party talks and other bilateral and multilateral forums. We are hopeful that we will see that in the weeks and months ahead.
In Seoul last week, high-ranking officials said a train carrying a cylinder-like object believed to be a long-range missile was spotted on its way to the launch base in Musudan-ri.