South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took time during the G-20 to stress the importance of a strong international response from the world’s leaders if Pyongyang carries out the planned launch of what they claim to be a rocket carrying a satellite into orbit. The launch is expected to occur some time between Saturday April 4 and Wednesday April 7.
The U.S., South Korea and Japan suspect the North Korean rocket launch to be a cover for a Long range ballistic missile test. The North Korean’s are currently prohibited from any rocket or missile activity under a UN Security Council agreement. The North Korean government has been notified of the possible actions should they persist and proceed with the launch but have answered the warnings of sanctions with threats of war.
North Korea has informed Japan’s Government that if they attempt to interfere with the planned launch, North Korea will consider it an act of war. According to a South Korean official North Korean radio is stating "If the U.S. imperialists dare to infiltrate spy planes into our airspace to interfere with our peaceful satellite launch preparations, our revolutionary armed forces will mercilessly shoot them down,”
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso stated "A launch by North Korea would be a clear violation of a U.N. resolution," and that if they proceed with the launch they intend to take North Korea to the Security Council. Aso also said "On this issue, Japan, Korea and the United States need to work closely together,"
Japan has strategically placed battleships armed with antimissile systems off its northern coast line. They have also stationed Patriot missile interceptors around Tokyo to knock down any wayward rocket debris that might fall in that area. Japan has stated that they have no intention of trying to shoot down the rocket but only any possible debris that might threaten Japans citizens.
Currently South Korea and Japan have been joined by England and Australia but have yet to receive backing from the US, Russia or China. It is widely believed that the US will back the attempt to seek UN sanctions against North Korea if they do launch, many doubt that China or Russia will be on board with the attempt. France’s stance may end up being the deciding factor in the end.
The UN Security Council is made up of 15 members. 10 are elected from the member body and 5 are permanent members.
The 5 permanent founding members are France, England, The United States, Russia and China.