In mid-April, North Korea intends to launch it’s long range Unha-3 rocket into space while carrying a satellite, sparking concerns in Washington and Seoul that an agreement to halt Pyongyang’s nuclear missile program is in jeopardy.
On Monday, the Israel Hayom newspaper reported that the scheduled launch is intended to assist the Iranians in testing their long range rocket technology, because Tehran believes conducting such a launch inside the Islamic Republic would aggravate western nations as the two sides head into negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program next month.
“There’s nothing surprising in this. Iran has, for roughly 20 years, used every ruse possible to avoid it’s international obligations, leaving it’s pledges in bilateral and multilateral frameworks. If they were to test through North Korea, it would just be another example of that,” said Gerald Steinberg of the BESA Center for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv.
President Obama, who is in South Korea for a nuclear security summit, spoke in the capital of Seoul on Sunday.
“North Korea will achieve nothing by threats or provocations,” he said.
“We are preparing measures to track the missile’s trajectory and shoot it down if it, by any chance, deviates from the planned route and falls into our territory,” said South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.