North Korea: Preparing To Launch?

By Thomas Nagorski

Mar 25, 2009 3:57pm

Tensions are ratcheting way up on the Korean peninsula at this hour…after word that North Korea may have moved a Taepodong-2 missile to the launch pad at Musudan-Ri. U.S. officials now believe that the North Korea is planning a launch in the next ten days or so. Those officials say there has been no fueling of the launch vehicle as yet, but that the schedule can be accelerated easily if the North Koreans wish to do so. "This whole thing’s political," an official tells ABC News, because the longer the missile stays on the pad, the more attention the North receives. "It’s all about attention," the official said.

It’s about something else, too. The Obama administration has yet to face a major, direct challenge on the international stage; a North Korean missile launch would present exactly such a challenge. Not long ago a top military official told ABC’s Martha Raddatz that the U.S. was prepared to shoot down a North Korean missile if need be. That decision — to go after the missile or not — will be a major decision for the new president.

Stay tuned…

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