The top U.S. military official says North Korea does not appear to be
preparing to launch a military strike, despite recent threatening
language from Pyongyang as the United Nations prepares to impose new
Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters in Brussels Thursday that
the latest U.S. intelligence has not indicated that North Korea is
mobilizing troops and equipment. But Gates said the unpredictable
nature of the North Korean government makes it impossible to dismiss
Earlier this week, North Korean state media said the reclusive
communist country will use its nuclear weapons to defend itself and as
an offense against those who seek to attack the country.
North Korea claims that its recent bellicose behavior is a response to
hostile U.S. policies. But the U.S. envoy for North Korea, Stephen
Bosworth, this week reiterated that the United States has no intention
of invading North Korea or using force to change its government.
A Russian military source told the Interfax news agency Wednesday that
Russia has information that North Korea plans to launch a ballistic
missile, but does not know the precise timing of the launch.
The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote soon on a resolution that
would expand sanctions against North Korea for its recent underground
nuclear test, which Pyongyang followed with a series of short-range
The draft resolution condemns North Korea's tests as a violation of
previous U.N. resolutions and imposes additional sanctions, including
cargo inspections, a total arms embargo, and stronger financial
sanctions. China reportedly resisted making the cargo provision
The text is the product of weeks of intensive negotiations among the five permanent council members, as well as non-permanent member Japan and concerned neighbor South Korea.
U.S. officials have indicated that Washington may also impose unilateral financial sanctions against North Korea.