Japan is threatening to shoot down a North Korean rocket that Kim Jong-Un’s regime says could launch as early as next week.
Japan’s prime minister Yoshihiko Noda has indicated his government will shoot down the rocket if it stays airborne and threatens Japanese territory.
The North Korean government insists the rocket — which would fly south over the Philippines and Australia and then into orbit — is only carrying a communications satellite.
Despite this assurance, the United States, South Korea and Japan believe the reality is more sinister.
The three countries say the launch is really a ballistic missile test and that North Korea is attempting to perfect long-range missiles technology that could one day carry a nuclear warhead.
As recently as April, a ‘Unha-3’ rocket launch ended in embarrassment for North Korea when the rocket broke up in the Yellow Sea just 80 seconds after take-off.
Following that humiliation, it was rumored throughout Pyongyang that the two rocket scientists responsible had quietly ‘disappeared.’
Prime Minister Noda said:
“The defence minister has today issued orders to prepare for the interception and defence against ballistic missiles. If they do indeed go ahead with the launch, then it is indeed very regrettable.”
“Not only our country, but the entire international community must take strong measures to deal with this.”
The launch window is set for 12 days from next Monday, during which time South Korean voters will be going to the polls to elect a new president.
A show of defiance by Kim Jong-Un could significantly heat up the race between the New Frontier (Saenuri) Party’s Park Geun-hye and the opposition Democratic United Party’s Moon Jae-in.