- 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.''