Key developments following North Korea's rocket launch

Posted

North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket has drawn sharp condemnations and threats of new sanctions. World leaders say Sunday's launch violated a U.N. ban on Pyongyang's use of ballistic missile technology. North Korea says the launch of a new Earth observation satellite, the Kwangmyongsong 4, or Shining Star 4, is part of a peaceful space program.

A look at the latest developments on Wednesday:

SOUTH KOREA PULLS OUT OF JOINT INDUSTRIAL PARK

South Korea said it was suspending operations at a joint industrial park with North Korea, the first time in the park's decade of operation that Seoul has halted work.

South Korean Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo said the suspension at the industrial complex in the North Korean border city of Kaesong would stop the North from using hard currency earned there to develop nuclear and missile technology.

The park, which started operations in 2004, has provided 616 billion won ($560 million) of cash to North Korea, Hong said.

There was no immediate reaction from North Korea.

The park is the last major cooperation project between the rivals. Combining South Korean initiative, capital and technology with the North's cheap labor, it has been seen as a test case for reunification. Last year, 124 South Korean companies hired 54,000 North Korean workers to produce socks, wristwatches and other goods.

___

This item has been corrected to show that the park began operations in 2004.

___

JAPAN ANNOUNCES NEW SANCTIONS

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said his country will impose new sanctions on North Korea.

He said the sanctions will be approved by the Cabinet later and will require legislative changes in parliament.

The measures will include expanded restrictions on travel between the two countries and a complete ban on visits by North Korean ships to Japanese ports.

___

U.S. CONSIDERS MORE STRINGENT SANCTIONS

U.S. senators are expected to vote on more stringent sanctions against North Korea, targeting Pyongyang's ability to access the money it needs for developing miniaturized nuclear warheads and the long-range missiles to deliver them.

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a similar measure last month.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said in an assessment to Congress that North Korea has expanded a uranium enrichment facility and restarted a plutonium reactor that could start recovering material for nuclear weapons in weeks or months.

Both findings will deepen concern that North Korea is not only making technical advances in its nuclear weapons program, but is working to expand what is thought to be a small nuclear arsenal. U.S.-based experts have estimated that North Korea may have about 10 bombs, but that could grow to between 20 and 100 by 2020.

Clapper said that Pyongyang has not flight-tested a long-range, nuclear-armed missile but is committed to its development.


TALK TO US

If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions