N. Korea fires short-range missiles after successful nuclear bomb test
Posted by Xeno on May 26, 2009
North Korea fired two short-range missiles from its east coast Tuesday — a day after conducting a nuclear test — South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing a South Korean official.
“The North is continuing its saber-rattling,” the unnamed official said.
The firings came a day after the reclusive communist state conducted a nuclear test and fired another short-range missile.
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Tuesday the international community would not be intimidated by North Korea’s “provocative and destabilizing” missile tests.
“If they want to continue to test and provoke the international community, they’re going to find that they will pay a price, because the international community is very clear — this is not acceptable, it won’t be tolerated, and they won’t be intimidated,” Rice told CNN’s “American Morning.”
The U.N. Security Council — which includes North Korea’s closest ally, China — on Monday unanimously condemned Pyongyang’s nuclear test as a “clear violation” of international law.
After passing the non-binding statement of criticism, the Security Council is now working on passing “a strong resolution with teeth,” Rice said. “Those teeth could take various different forms – they are economic levers, they are other levers that we might pursue,” she said.
North Korea agreed in 2008 to scrap its nuclear weapons program — which it said had produced enough plutonium for about seven atomic bombs — in exchange for economic aid. But the deal foundered over verification and disclosure issues, and the North expelled international inspectors and announced plans to restart its main nuclear reactor.
Russia, France and Japan have signaled support for new sanctions against North Korea, already one of the most isolated nations in the world.
North Korea first tested a nuclear weapon in October 2006. Pyongyang had threatened last month to carry out a new test after the Security Council condemned its test-firing of a long-range rocket and extended economic sanctions against the nation, which is in dire need of food and energy assistance.
Monday’s blast, conducted just before 10 a.m. (9 p.m. Sunday ET) showed up on seismographs with the punch of a magnitude 4.7 earthquake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Russia estimated the force of Monday’s blast at 10 to 20 kilotons, in the neighborhood of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs of World War II and far larger than the 2006 test.