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In the wake of the escalation from Hamas in Gaza this week, the North Korean standoff has received less attention of late. However, Jane's Defense Weeky reports that the Kim Jong-Il regime still intends to launch its Taepodong-2 missile. At least JDW thinks it's a TD2, because according to Joseph Bermudez, no one's still quite sure what they have on the launch pad:
For the past six weeks, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) has been preparing to launch what appears to be a prototype Taepo Dong 2 ballistic missile. ...
As of the last week in June, it appeared that the Taepo Dong 2 was fuelled and prepared for launch on the command of leader Kim Jong-il, but three questions remain: Is it a ballistic missile or an SLV carrying a second North Korean satellite? Why has it not been launched? Will it ultimately be launched? Whether it is a ballistic missile or an SLV, the issues to be tested during a launch (such as clustering, stage separation, etc) are equally applicable to either system from a scientific and technical perspective.
A successful launch of either will dramatically increase the international prestige – or threat, depending on one’s view – of North Korea. Reflecting differing political views on how to deal with North Korea, the US and Japan have
repeatedly identified it as a ballistic missile, while South Korea has suggested it is an SLV.
Despite earlier reports, no one really knows whether the rocket on the pad has been fuelled. JDW also notes that the rocket could remain fuelled for several weeks, not hours as commonly thought. The weather has also been too poor for a clean launch from the Korean peninsula the last couple of weeks. The Chinese have made it clear to Kim that they do not want to see the TD2 launched, at least not at the moment.
Still, JDW expects to see the missile launched. Bermudez points out that Kim has not yet won a political victory, and until he gets one, that missile will likely fly this summer.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Stupid Continues To Grow Stupider from Gulf Coast Pundit
July 01, 2006 Janes: North Korea To Launch Taepodong-2 In the wake of the escalation from Hamas in Gaza this week, the North Korean standoff has received less attention of late. However, Jane’s Defense Weeky reports that the Kim Jong-Il regime s... [Read More]
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Captain's Quarters reports the contents of a Jane's Defense Weekly article on the North Korean missile crisis (JDW is subscriber only). JDW reminds us that intelligence does not clearly indicate what exactly is on the launch pad at Musudan-ri, on the... [Read More]
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