Far East on edge as NoKo's ready rocket launch

Rick Moran
Both South Korea and Japan say they will intercept any rocket shot over their territory from North Korea. And the Philippines have re-routed 20 flights over the next week in anticipation of a rocket launch.

The bottom line: The leadership situation in North Korea is still unstable and no one really knows who is in charge, and what the plans are for the upcoming launch of a North Korean missile:

Pyongyang insists the launch, which is planned for some time between April 12 and 16 to mark the centenary of the birth of late founding president Kim Il-Sung, is its right.

But countries around the globe have condemned the plan, which they say will contravene the UN resolutions.

South Korea has vowed to shoot down the rocket if it strays into its territory. Japan has said it may do likewise.

The South's military plans to deploy destroyers armed with missiles to the Yellow Sea to track the rocket.

The transport ministry in Seoul said it would provide up-to-date information to shipping on the rocket launch.

All 15 maritime traffic control centres will be placed on alert from Wednesday, issuing navigation warnings every two hours to protect vessels operating in the Yellow Sea, it said.

The first stage of the rocket is expected to fall in waters 170km west of Gunsan in the southwest of South Korea, it said.

Japan's coast guard on Tuesday began issuing warnings to ships in the area to be on the lookout for falling debris from the rocket.

"We are announcing by radio the expected time and places where falling objects could appear," coast guard spokesman Yoshiyuki Terakado said.

Coast guard officials will issue the warning every day in Japanese and English until the launch is confirmed, he said.

You have to wonder who is giving orders in North Korea at the moment. The US has suspended an agreement recently signed that would have delivered thousands of tons of food to the famine stricken country because of the threatened missile launch. Is the young Kim Jong-Un so intent on honoring his grandfather that he turns up his nose at 240,000 metric tons of food? Or is the military in control and pushing this launch as a way of threatening the south?

With the prospect of another nuclear bomb test coming soon, the Far East will be on tenterhooks for the next several months.

Both South Korea and Japan say they will intercept any rocket shot over their territory from North Korea. And the Philippines have re-routed 20 flights over the next week in anticipation of a rocket launch.

The bottom line: The leadership situation in North Korea is still unstable and no one really knows who is in charge, and what the plans are for the upcoming launch of a North Korean missile:

Pyongyang insists the launch, which is planned for some time between April 12 and 16 to mark the centenary of the birth of late founding president Kim Il-Sung, is its right.

But countries around the globe have condemned the plan, which they say will contravene the UN resolutions.

South Korea has vowed to shoot down the rocket if it strays into its territory. Japan has said it may do likewise.

The South's military plans to deploy destroyers armed with missiles to the Yellow Sea to track the rocket.

The transport ministry in Seoul said it would provide up-to-date information to shipping on the rocket launch.

All 15 maritime traffic control centres will be placed on alert from Wednesday, issuing navigation warnings every two hours to protect vessels operating in the Yellow Sea, it said.

The first stage of the rocket is expected to fall in waters 170km west of Gunsan in the southwest of South Korea, it said.

Japan's coast guard on Tuesday began issuing warnings to ships in the area to be on the lookout for falling debris from the rocket.

"We are announcing by radio the expected time and places where falling objects could appear," coast guard spokesman Yoshiyuki Terakado said.

Coast guard officials will issue the warning every day in Japanese and English until the launch is confirmed, he said.

You have to wonder who is giving orders in North Korea at the moment. The US has suspended an agreement recently signed that would have delivered thousands of tons of food to the famine stricken country because of the threatened missile launch. Is the young Kim Jong-Un so intent on honoring his grandfather that he turns up his nose at 240,000 metric tons of food? Or is the military in control and pushing this launch as a way of threatening the south?

With the prospect of another nuclear bomb test coming soon, the Far East will be on tenterhooks for the next several months.