04-04-2013, 11:42 PM
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Former US UN envoy says any missile launch by North Korea would be 'suicide'
A NORTH Korean attack on the United States would be "suicidal", a former United States ambassador to the United Nations has declared.
Former diplomat Bill Richardson said there had been a lot of heated talk from all sides.
"There's been a lot of rhetoric and not a lot of action ... but I think our response has been appropriate: Cool, calm and at the same time putting our military resources ready in case there's an emergency," Mr Richardson said.
"But if they try anything with the United States, it's suicidal. That's not going to happen."
Richardson sparked controversy when he joined Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt in a visit to North Korea earlier this year.
He today once again emphasised the need for careful diplomacy.
"Something is needed to cool things down. I think there has to be an end game to the administration's policy, and the end game in my view is diplomacy some kind of special envoy, some kind of South Korean diplomat."
The declaration comes as Julia Gillard's second visit to China takes place in the shadow of heightened regional tensions that Australia needs to see resolved.
As a member of the UN Security Council, Australia is a player in the unfolding situation, and the prime minister and her senior advisers will have opportunities to push the case for peace and stability.
One approach may be to urge China to enforce UN-backed sanctions on the flow of military technology across its border into North Korea, which may be being used to enhance its nuclear weapons program.
Gillard and Carr, during their six-day mission which began today, will raise the idea of further sanctions on financial and trade links with North Korea.
A file photo, a North Korean vehicle carrying a Musudan missile passes by during a mass military parade in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the late North Korean founder Kim Il Sung.
Before leaving, Gillard spoke by phone to South Korean president Park Geun-hye to express Australia's strong concerns over the provocative actions and statements by North Korea, which she said ''pose a serious risk to regional security''.
Australia continues to call on North Korea to stop the provocation.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott urged Gillard to raise the North Korea issue with China's leaders.
''China is probably the only country that does have serious influence on that rogue state,'' he said this week.
Meanwhile, a psychological profile of Kim Jong-un compiled by United States military intelligence agencies assesses him as an uncertain and inexperienced young man who feels compelled to prove how tough he is.
And, intercepted military communications indicate North Korea could be planning to launch a missile spotted being moved by train yesterday.
CNN has reported a United States official as saying the communications revealed the launch was planned for the coming days.
The US is reportedly seeking the location of a secret North Korean launch facility or hidden launch vehicles on the nation's east coast.
The location is of particular concern as any launch would likely go over the coast of Japan.
The revelation comes after South Korean officials yesterday said a medium-range "Musudan" missile had been spotted being loaded on to a train and transported towards the coast of the Sea of Japan.
The Yonhap news agency reported speculation that the missile may be "test fired" on April 15, the birthday of the nation's founder Kim Il-sung.
The range of the "Musudan" is unclear, but some analysts have placed it at up to 4000km - enough to reach bases in Japan and the United States controlled island of Guam.
South Korea's defense minister said that the missile was not capable of reaching the United States and that there are no signs that the North is preparing for a full-scale conflict.
North Korea has been railing against US-South Korean military exercises that began in March and are to continue until the end of this month. The allies insist the exercises in South Korea are routine, but the North calls them rehearsals for an invasion and says it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself. The North has also expressed anger over tightened UN sanctions for its February nuclear test.
Analysts say the ominous warnings in recent weeks are probably efforts to provoke softer policies from South Korea, to win diplomatic talks with Washington and solidify the image of young North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Many of the threats come in the middle of the night in Asia - daytime for the US audience.
The report of the movement of the missile came hours after North Korea's military warned that it had been granted approval to attack the US using "smaller, lighter and diversified" nuclear weapons. The reference to smaller weapons could be a claim that North Korea has improved its nuclear technology, or a bluff.
The North is not believed to have mastered the technology needed to miniaturize nuclear bombs enough to mount them on long-range missiles. Nor has it demonstrated that those missiles, if it has them at all, are accurate. It also could be years before the country completes the laborious process of creating enough weaponized fuel to back up its nuclear threats.
South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said he did not know the reasons behind the North's missile movement, and that it "could be for testing or drills."
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/world-news/in...-1226612936097