Tensions Rise on Korean Peninsula

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

PANMUNJOM, Korea (AP) - North Korea's neighbors are anxiously
awaiting its next move, after South Korea spotted possible signs of
preparations to move a long-range missile to a launch site.

Last month, the North launched a rocket that might be capable of hitting Japan or even the United States. And it has demonstrated twice that it can detonate a nuclear device.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says North Korea's nuclear program isn't a direct threat yet, but it's a "harbinger of a dark future." And he says the U.S. won't "stand idly by" as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on Asia or the United States.

Gates is asking South Korea and Japan to begin considering new steps should the North continue to escalate its nuclear program.

Some experts speculate that North Korea is trying to get the world's attention, but won't provoke a war it can't win. They say even though it has more than a million troops, the country is so impoverished that its weapons are outdated and in poor shape.

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