"Launch by North Korea"
The U.S. Embassy in Seoul is transmitting the following information through the Embassy's warden system as a public service to all U.S. citizens in the Republic of Korea. Please disseminate this message to U.S. citizens in your organizations or to other Americans you know.
North Korea has announced that it will attempt a rocket launch between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on one of the days during April 4-8, 2009, from a site in northeast North Korea. This possible event has received much media attention. At this time, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul sees no potential danger to American citizens in South Korea as a result of the possible launch and does not believe that any special actions are warranted by American citizens other than to pay close attention to local news reports during this time period.
The Embassy is monitoring the situation very closely. We will apprise the American citizen community of any important information via this email system and the Embassy websites at http://seoul.usembassy.gov and www.asktheconsul.org.
So far, this is the first such message I've gotten from the Embassy-bot. Usually, there is a monthly mailer, which I previously blogged here.
Chris in South Korea is making odds on various potential outcomes of the planned missile test/satellite launch, including this one: "That the rocket will self-destruct, blow itself up, fall harmlessly into the ocean, or otherwise not reach whatever target it's aiming for: 3:1" I'm not a betting man (well, other than the horses) but if I were, I'd take that action!
The New York Times has a reasonably good summary of DPRK's brinksmanship in today's editions, including this salient graph:
Whenever it failed to get concessions in negotiations or there were changes of governments abroad, the North raised tensions, wangling an invitation to talks and extracting fresh aid while never giving up its trump card, its nuclear weapons program.
Then there's this from the top headline story in today's Korea Times: "The unification ministry asked civic organizations which have plans to travel to the North to postpone their schedule. 'We will take measures necessary for the security of South Koreans,' ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo told reporters. `We advise them to deeply re-consider their visit to the North.'" Uh, how about 'advising' North Korea to quit playing games?