Mon, Aug 07, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Japan, US find N Korea missile test successful

STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT The Japanese National Defense Agency's release of its official review is now likely to be delayed because of the need for more discussions with the US


A analysis by Japan and the US has concluded that six of the seven missiles tested by North Korea last month fell within their targets, indicating the tests were successful, a major Japanese newspaper reported yesterday.

Only a newly developed long-range missile, Taepodong-2, is believed to have failed, Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun said, quoting unidentified officials.

Based on initial data from US military early-warning satellites, Japan's Defense Agency had doubted the targeting accuracy of the missiles, but later discovered that the six medium-range missiles actually fell inside the sea zone North Korea had marked beforehand, the newspaper said.

North Korea's July 5 missile tests drew strong international condemnation, prompting the UN Security Council to adopt a statement denouncing the launches and banning countries from missile-related dealings with the North.

Although the Taepodong-2, believed to be capable of reaching parts of the US, crashed shortly after being launched, the targeting accuracy of the other missiles was relatively high, the newspaper quoted the officials as saying.

A US and Japanese analysis based on data collected by radar on AEGIS-equipped warships and other intelligence sources found that the six missiles traveled 400km northeast from the Kitaeryong missile base on North Korea's southeastern coast and landed inside a designated zone within a radius of about 50km, the Yomiuri said.

North Korea set a restricted area -- a triangle about 160km on each side -- in the Sea of Japan off the North Korean coast between July 4 and 11.

The Defense Agency's planned release of its analysis of the missile tests is now expected to be delayed because of a need for further discussions with the US, the Yomiuri said.

North Korea has said that it has the right to test missiles and vowed further tests. But on Friday, a South Korean official said North Korea may have removed a long-range missile from a launch site.

Intelligence reports indicated earlier that North Korea may have moved two Taepodong-2 missiles to the launch site before test-firing one last month.

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