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North Korea Fires Missiles; China Sees Military Benefits In Space: Reports

By | May 28, 2007

      North Korea fired several missiles from both its east and west coasts, according to NHK Online Daily News in Japan.

      The report said Japanese officials termed the weapons short-range missiles, adding that it is unclear how many were fired.

      Japanese officials believe the launches did not involve ballistic missiles and won’t affect the security of Japan, the report stated.

      Speculation is that the launches might have involved surface-to-ship Silkworm missiles with a range of around 62 miles.

      While the report quoted Japanese officials as saying the North Korean missiles might have been Silkworms or some remodeled variant thereof, they also said that they will have to analyze data to confirm that.

      South Korean military sources believe North Korea fired those missiles in prosecuting its annual military exercises, which take place on both coasts of the Korean peninsula.

      But perhaps the North Korean missile display may be more than a routine exercise, according to the report.

      It said South Korean officials said there is speculation that North Korea could have ignited the barrage of missiles after South Korea moved recently to build up its military forces.

      For example, the report noted that South Korea last week launched its first destroyer equipped with the advanced Aegis radar and weapons control system.

      The Aegis involves a radar and weapon control system that is capable of advanced air defense against sub- and super-sonic aircraft, missiles and cruise missiles.

      Separately, in China, the official Xinhua news agency quoted an official as saying space is part of the Chinese military strategy.

      Xinhua quoted Sun Laiyan, chief of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), in a speech as saying that China is able to research, produce and shoot ground-to-ground, air defense and coastal defense missiles, and its strategic nuclear deterrent is a key component of Chinese national defense.

      “As late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping pointed out, if China had no atomic bombs or hydrogen bombs and had not launched its first satellite since the 1960s, China could not be called an influential country and would not enjoy the same international status,” Sun said.

      Military operations rely greatly on information and high-tech, supported by space technologies, Xinhua quoted Sun saying, adding that he cited wars in Afghanistan and Iraq where most intelligence gathering, military communications, navigation, positioning and weather reporting activities for American forces have been provided by satellites.

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