N. Korea Builds At Least
Five Underground Balistic
Missile Launch Sites
TOKYO (AP) _ North Korea has begun construction on at least five underground ballistic missile launch sites near its borders with China and South Korea, a major Japanese newspaper reported today. The reported work threatens to aggravate tensions between North Korea and Japan, which has expressed growing concern over North Korea's missile development program.
The suspected launch sites are deeper than 150 feet and capable of multiple firings, possibly of a long-range missile known as the Taepo Dong, said the Yomiuri newspaper, citing unnamed sources in the United States and Japan. Tokyo was shaken by North Korea's firing of a missile last August into Japanese airspace. It was believed to have been a Taepo Dong with a range long enough to strike any part of the Japanese archipelago.
North Korea has said that the rocket launched a satellite and that another satellite will be launched soon. Earlier this month, Japan's national broadcaster NHK reported the Defense Agency believes North Korea has deployed some of at least 30 medium-range ballistic missiles. The Yomiuri, Japan's largest-circulation daily, criticized North Korea in an editorial today for its ``outrageous'' efforts to develop missiles despite a severe food shortage and pressure from around the world. The North has been increasingly defiant toward such criticism.
Last month, its communist party newspaper published a poster depicting three North Korean missiles streaming toward an aircraft marked ``Washington, Seoul, Tokyo.'' The poster's caption read: ``The target is clear.''