Yay, My Friend Is A Pawn In An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Game
I'm beginning to understand why my friend Euna Lee and her colleague were taken into custody by the North Koreans last week. Obviously they are being used as bargaining chips, but apparently that leverage will be put to immediate use:
North Korea has placed a long-range missile on a launch pad before a test that the United States, Japan and South Korea said would violate a United Nations Security Council resolution, a news report said Thursday.
Spy satellites detected what looked to be a Taepodong-2 missile in place Tuesday at the Musudan-ri launch site near North Korea’s northeastern coast, said Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s leading daily, quoting an unidentified diplomatic source.
Once the rocket is installed on the pad, missile experts said, the North Koreans can technically launch it within three or four days — the time needed for the fueling of a three-stage rocket.
North Korea has said it would launch a rocket over Japan and the Pacific between April 4 and 8 to deliver an experimental communications satellite into orbit. But Washington, Tokyo and Seoul have said the launch is a cover for testing its Taepodong-2 ballistic missile. Both missions — the satellite and the ballistic missile — use the same rocket technology.
Obviously the American reaction to this is bound to be tempered by the fact that Pyongyang has two American journalists in their custody. While the Secretary of State has called for sanctions if the missile launch goes forward, and Japan has put interceptor missiles on alert and dispatched warships toward the peninsula, with Lee and Ling captured, the opposition is bound to be toothless.
This just makes me feel great on a Friday!