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DATE=9/30/98 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT NUMBER=5-41494 TITLE=NORTH KOREA'S MISSILE THREAT BYLINE=PAMELA TAYLOR DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: U-S OFFICIALS ARE REASSESSING THE THREAT POSED BY A NORTH KOREAN MISSILE LAUNCH OVER JAPAN LAST MONTH. ALTHOUGH A LAUNCH WAS EXPECTED, THE TECHNOLOGY USED HAS RAISED ALARMS ABOUT NORTH KOREA'S POTENTIAL ABILITY TO SEND NUCLEAR WARHEADS TO DISTANT TARGETS, INCLUDING U-S TERRITORY. VOA'S PAMELA TAYLOR HAS THIS BACKGROUND REPORT. TEXT: THE UNITED STATES HAS LONG BEEN CONCERNED ABOUT NORTH KOREA'S PURSUIT OF A LONG RANGE MISSILE CAPABLE OF THREATENING DISTANT TARGETS. BUT U-S INTELLIGENCE EXPERTS MAINTAIN SUCH A MISSILE LAUNCH WOULD LIKELY BE DETECTED WELL IN ADVANCE. THE AUGUST 31ST MISSILE LAUNCH WASN'T A SURPRISE, BUT THE USE OF A THREE STAGE LAUNCH TECHNOLOGY WAS. IN THEORY, THE THIRD STAGE COULD CARRY A HEAVIER PAYLOAD SUCH AS A SMALL WARHEAD. BUT NORTH KOREA CLAIMS ITS ONLY OBJECTIVE WAS TO PUT A HARMLESS SATELLITE INTO ORBIT. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN JAMES RUBIN SAID PUTTING EVEN A SMALL SATELLITE INTO ORBIT INDICATES THE DIFFICULTIES INVOLVED IN LAUNCHING SOMETHING LARGER: /// RUBIN ACT 1 /// (RUBIN) ON A BASIC PHYSICS LEVEL, HAVING LAUNCHED A VERY SMALL PAYLOAD TO THIS RANGE, ONE SHOULD NOT ASSUME THAT THEY COULD CARRY A BIGGER PAYLOAD TO THE SAME RANGE OR LONGER. SO WE HAVE NOT YET CONCLUDED THAT THIS TEST SHOW THEIR ABILITY TO THREATEN ANY PART OF THE UNITED STATES. ON THE OTHER HAND, IT IS AN EXTREMELY WORRYSOME DEVELOPMENT TO THE EXTENT THAT NORTH KOREA IS SPENDING ITS SCARCE RESOURCES ON THESE DANGEROUS MISSILE PROGRAMS. /// END RUBIN ACT /// IN A SPEECH TO THE U-N GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN NEW YORK MONDAY, NORTH KOREAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER CHOE SU HON CALLED THE MISSILE LAUNCH A SUCCESS. HE SAID THE TECHNOLOGY USED WAS 100 PERCENT NORTH KOREAN AND THAT IT WILL MAKE A GREAT CONTRIBUTION TO SAFEGUARDING WORLD PEACE. BUT NORTH KOREA'S NEIGHBORS IN THE REGION ARE UNLIKELY TO BE REASSURED. IN HIS SPEECH TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, SOUTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER HONG SOON-YOUNG URGED THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO STEP UP PRESSURE ON NORTH KOREA TO SIGN ON TO GLOBAL DISARMAMENT TREATIES. AT THE ANNUAL SECURITY CONSULTATION TALKS BETWEEN JAPANESE AND AMERICAN FOREIGN AND DEFENSE MINISTERS IN NEW YORK LAST WEEK, SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT SAID THE UNITED STATES AND JAPAN MUST HONOR THEIR AGREEMENT TO PROVIDE FUNDS FOR THE KOREAN PENINSULAR DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATION, OR KEDO. // ALBRIGHT ACT 2 // WE ALSO TAKE THE NORTH KOREAN MISSILE LAUNCH VERY SERIOUSLY AND CONSIDER IT A DANGEROUS WAY OF MOVING FORWARD AND HAVE MADE THAT VERY CLEAR TO THE NORTH KOREANS AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO. (HOWEVER) WE BELIEVE THAT IT IS NOT A SOLUTION TO THE MISSILE ISSUE NOT TO LIVE UP TO (HONOR) KEDO. // END ACT // U-S OFFICIALS SAY THE CLINTON POLICY TOWARD NORTH KOREA WILL CONTINUE UNCHANGED DESPITE THE MISSILE LAUNCH IN AUGUST. FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS, THAT POLICY HAS MEANT PURSUING ENGAGEMENT WITH COMMUNIST NORTH KOREA TO REDUCE TENSIONS AND KEEP ITS NUCLEAR ACTIVITIES IN CHECK. BUT THAT POLICY CAME IN FOR SOME STRONG CRITICISM AT A CONGRESSIONAL HEARING IN WASHINGTON LAST WEEK. BENJAMIN GILMAN IS CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE: /// GILMAN ACT 3/// (GILMAN) OUR POLICIES HAVE NOT BEEN SUCCESSFUL, UNDER THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION POLICY WE ARE PAYING FOR BAD BEHAVIOUR BY REWARDING NORTH KOREAN BRINKSMANSHIP WITH BENIFITS. NORTH KOREA IS NOW THE LARGEST RECIPIENT OF US FOREIGN AID IN EAST ASIA. AND IN RESPONSE TO RECENT NORTH KOREAN PROVOCATIONS THE ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES ONLY TO INCREASE THE LEVEL OF ASSISTANCE. OUR CURRENT POLICY OF WEAKNESS MAY LEAD THE NORTH KOREANS TO MISCALCULATE OUR RESOLVE. /// END GILMAN ACT /// U-S POLICY TOWARD NORTH KOREA IS ALSO SEEN AS POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS BY ANALYSTS LIKE JOSEPH ARMENIO, OF THE WASHINGTON BASED NATIONAL COALITION FOR DEFENSE. HE TOLD VOA'S MEREDITH BUEL THAT NORTH KOREA POSES ONE OF THE GREAT DANGERS OF OUR TIMES: /// ARMENIO/BUEL INTERVIEW ACT 4 /// (ARMENIO) THE NORTH KOREANS ALREADY COULD IN EFFECT WAGE NUCLEAR WAR AGAINST JAPAN. JAPAN HAS A LARGE NUMBER OF OPERATIONAL NUCLEAR REACTORS ON THEIR SOIL. IF THE NORTH KOREANS WERE TO TARGET THOSE REACTORS WITH THEIR MISSILES THE DETONATION OF ONE OF THESE REACTORS COULD CAUSE A CATASTROPHE OF THE KIND WE SAW IN CHERNOBLE, RUSSIA, IN THE 1980'S. ALSO A MISTAKE MAY OCCUR AND THE MISSILE COULD COME DOWN ON JAPANESE SOIL, IT MIGHT HIT JAPANESE VESSELS, OR OTHER COUNTRIES' VESSELS IN THE SURROUNDING WATERS, AND ULTIMATLY THERE IS THE THREAT TO US. THERE ARE THOSE WHO BELIEVE NORTH KOREA WILL BE ABLE TO HIT TARGETS IN ALASKA AND HAWAII IN AS LITTLE AS TWO YEARS TIME, AND SOON AFTER THAT THEY WILL BE ABLE TO HIT TARGETS ON THE WEST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES. THE NORTH KOREANS ALREADY CAN TARGET ANYTHING IN JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA. (BUEL) WHAT IF ANY DEFENSE DOES JAPAN HAVE AGAINST NORTH KOREAN MISSILES? (ARMENIO) IT HAS NO DEFENSE WHATSOEVER. JAPAN IS AS DEFENSELESS AGAINST NORTH KOREAN MISSILE ATTACK AS THE UNITED STATES. NEITHER JAPAN NOR THE UNITED STATES CAN STOP A SINGLE BALLISTIC MISSILE FIRED AT THEIR HOMELAND. FURTHERMORE OUR TROOPS IN THE FIELD IN SOUTH KOREA HAVE ONLY THE PATRIOT DEFENSE. THIS IS WOEFULLY INADEQUATE, IT ONLY COVERS A VERY SMALL AREA INDEED AND WOULD HAVE TROUBLE KEEPING UP WITH THESE HIGH SPEED MISSILES. //OPT// (BUEL) IS NORTH KOREA SELLING ITS MISSILE TECHNOLOGY TO OTHER COUNTRIES? (ARMENIO) OH, INDEED IT IS. IT HAS BEEN HEAVILY INVOLVED WITH THE SALE TO MUSLIM POWERS, ESPECIALLY IRAN. INFACT BOTH CHINA AND NORTH KOREA ARE BOTH HELPING TO ARM IRAN. //END OPT// /// END ACT /// U-S OFFICIALS ARE ALSO CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT MAY BE A NORTH KOREAN EFFORT TO BUILD AN UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR COMPLEX. THE OFFICIALS SAY THEY WILL DEMAND ACCESS TO THE SITE WHEN U-S AND NORTH KOREAN NEGOTIATORS MEET FOR TALKS IN THE NEAR FUTURE. NEB/PAM/DB/WFR 30-Sep-98 4:15 PM EDT (2015 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .