Ships deployed to monitor N.Korea launch
SEOUL - Japanese, South Korean and US missile-destroying ships set sail to monitor North Korea's imminent rocket launch, as Pyongyang stoked tensions yesterday by detaining a South Korean worker, alleging he denounced the North's political system.
North Korea has said it will send a communications satellite into orbit sometime between April 4 and 8.
The United States, South Korea, and Japan suspect the regime is using the launch to test long-range missile technology, and warn that it would face UN sanctions under a Security Council resolution banning the country from any ballistic activity.
North Korea has threatened to quit international talks on its nuclear disarmament if it is punished with sanctions. The communist regime's main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, reiterated that warning Sunday, saying the talks will "completely collapse" if taken to the Security Council.
Further heightening tensions on the divided peninsula, North Korean authorities detained a South Korean worker at a joint industrial zone in the North for allegedly denouncing Pyongyang's political system and inciting some North Korean workers to flee the country.
North Korea assured Seoul it would guarantee the man's safety during an investigation, according to the South Korean Unification Ministry, which handles relations with the North.
The detention was announced as two American journalists working for former vice president Al Gore's Current TV media venture remained in North Korean custody after allegedly crossing the border illegally from China on March 17.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency said early today that the two reporters would be indicted and tried for illegal entry and "hostile acts."