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Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:28 AM


U.S. Deploys Ships to Monitor North Korea Rocket Launch [View all]

By David Lerman & Sangwon Yoon

The U.S. is deploying ships to monitor and potentially shoot down a rocket North Korea plans to fire as soon as next week, as Japan readied its military to destroy any possible debris.

“We’ll move them around so we have the best situational awareness that we have,” Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said at a Pentagon news conference in Washington yesterday. “To the degree that those ships are capable of participating in ballistic missile defense, then we would position them to be able to do that.”

North Korea’s plan to fire the rocket between Dec. 10-22 reflects signs of growing instability in the totalitarian state, a South Korean government official said today. Leader Kim Jong Un has worked to secure his hereditary grip on power since his father Kim Jong Il died a year ago, and last month called for a crackdown on “rebellious elements.”

The regime’s priority is ensuring the success of the launch after a similar attempt exploded in April and not any possible nuclear weapons test, the official said, speaking to reporters in Seoul on condition of anonymity. Locklear yesterday made a similar point.



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