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Japan Prepares to Shoot Down North Korea's Ballistic Missile

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Japan Prepares to Shoot Down North Korea's Ballistic Missile
« on: April 09, 2012, 11:01:04 PM »
by pna

Japan completed deployment of interceptor missiles Monday ahead of the planned satellite launch by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Defense Ministry said.

Japan's Self-Defense Force had installed ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors on Okinawa, Ishigaki and Miyako islands and in Tokyo, ministry official Takaaki Oono told Xinhua.

Furthermore, three Maritime Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyers are on their way to the East China Sea, according to the ministry.

The DPRK announced last month that it would launch an "earth observation" satellite between April 12 and 16 to mark the 100th birthday of late leader Kim Il Sung.

The launch of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite using a long-range rocket from the DPRK's northwest has raised strong fears and unease in Japan and South Korea.

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said, "I am certain that the launch would be a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions," and Japan was calling for UN Security Council action against the launch.

An official from the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters at a briefing earlier in the day that South Korea and the United States "are keeping close tabs on movements" related to what the official called the DPRK's "long-range missile launch."

The South Korean military was "fully prepared" to respond to any acts of provocation, added the official, who declined to be named.

South Korea has said it might shoot down the rocket if it strays into its territory.

Last Friday, a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman, answering a question from the country's official KCNA news agency, said the DPRK would not give up the planned launch, which he said was a "legitimate right of a sovereign state and requirement essential for its economic development."

On Sunday, the DPRK invited a group of some 70 foreign journalists to visit the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in the DPRK's northwest and take a look at the 30-meter high Unha-3 rocket that will carry the Kwangmyongsong-3 into space.

"It is a carrier rocket but not a ballistic missile," Jang Myung Jin, who is in charge of the station, told reporters. He said the launch was a peaceful program aimed at developing the DPRK's economy and raising the people's living standard.

China has expressed its concern about the development of the situation and called on all parties concerned to take a broad and long-term perspective, remain calm and exercise restraint, and seek proper solutions to the relevant issues through diplomatic channels and by peaceful means.

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