South Korea says weather has delayed N. Korea’s missile launch plan

April 4th, 2009 - 5:02 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama Seoul, Apr.4 (ANI): Weather conditions on Saturday have reportedly prevented North Korea from going ahead with the launch of its missile on Saturday.

“We thought the launch was likely today, but weather conditions at the (North Korea) rocket base may not have been favourable,” South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted a presidential Blue House official as saying.North Korea said Saturday preparations for the launch were complete and liftoff was imminent, as U.S., Japanese and South Korean warships with radar plied waters near the communist nation to monitor what they fear is a long-range missile test.

“Preparations for launching ‘Kwangmyongsong-2,’ an experimental communications satellite, by carrier rocket ‘Unha-2′ have been completed at the satellite launching ground in the east coastal area,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported, citing information from the Korean Committee of Space Technology.

“The satellite will be launched soon,” it added.

North Korea has vowed to carry out its controversial rocket launch between Saturday and Wednesday.

South Korea’s meteorological agency said the location of the missile base was under mostly cloudy skies with occasionally strong winds.

The U.S. and North Korea’s neighbors suspect the launch is a cover for testing the regime’s long-range missile technology.

North Korea is about a half day ahead of the United States. Its stated time window for the launch is 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. EDT.

North Korea has said its rocket will fly over Japan and its first stage is expected to fall in waters less than 75 miles from Japan’s northwestern shore, according to coordinates the government in Pyongyang provided to U.N. agencies.

The other zone where the second stage should fall lies in the middle of the Pacific between Japan and Hawaii.

China, North Korea’s closest ally, said it was working to avert a launch. Beijing has tried to persuade North Korea on several occasions and will attempt to do so “to the last minute,”

US President Barack Obama has said the planned launch has put “enormous strains” on international talks over North Korea’s disputed nuclear ambitions.

The U.S. will “take appropriate steps to let North Korea know that it can’t threaten the safety and security of other countries with impunity,” he said. (ANI)

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