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North Korea Missile Crisis; Space Shuttle Launches; Italian Football

Aired July 4, 2006 - 23:00   ET


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, I'm Kitty Pilgrim in New York. The U.S. and its allies tonight are strongly condemning North Korea for its surprise missile test today.
U.S. military sources confirm North Korea test-launched a total of six missiles. That includes the Taepodong-2, which is a long-range missile with the potential of reaching the United States.

The Bush administration calls these tests a provocative act on the part of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-il. But the White House says these tests pose no immediate military threat to the United States.

Tomorrow morning, the United Nations Security Council will meet in emergency session to discuss this escalating crisis. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, says the U.S. is urgently consulting with security council members about the next diplomatic step against North Korea.

A CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr continues to follow developments tonight and she joins us now with the very latest -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kitty, it may be no immediate threat to the United States, but the U.S. military at this hour is continuing to monitor the situation very closely from the Pentagon in Washington out to Norad, the North America Aerospace Defense command in Colorado all the way out to the Pacific command in Honolulu.

Officials say a total of six launches, one taepodong longer-range missile, five scud variance shorter-range ballistic missiles, launched by north Korea. All of them fell into the Sea of Japan.

U.S. intelligence, U.S. satellites and reconnaissance watched the launches as they happen. They do have that capability to instantly determine a launch has occurred. And according to military officials, they very quickly determined that these launches were not a direct threat to the United States.

U.S. missile defense capabilities were alerted, were on standby, were ready to go to try and shoot the Korean missiles down if it did pose a threat to the United States. But that order did not come from President Bush.

The military, again, quickly determining there was no immediate threat. But nonetheless, the situation being regarded very seriously, obviously. Kitty PILGRIM: Thanks very much, Barbara Starr.

Well, the United Nations Security Council is preparing an urgent meeting on this crisis. U.N. Correspondent Richard Roth has the very latest.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: The United Nations Security Council decided not to meet tonight. Instead, discussions will take place Wednesday morning. North Korea, topic number one.

The U.S. and Japan are likely to press for a criticism and condemnation of the North Koreans for the missile launches. After that, the tough part.

Will there be progress on a statement or resolution regarding sanctions? That may be up to China. In the past, a defender of North Korea, Beijing has managed to keep the North Korea an item off the agenda the security council when things have got hot before.

But Chinese diplomat telling us, they're going to take a cautious approach at first. Many countries are still scrambling for information on just what happened in the skies in the far Pacific -- Kitty.


PILGRIM: Thank you, Richard. CNN United Nations Correspondent Richard Roth.

Well, joining me now is Gordan Chang, one of the nation's leading experts on North Korea, and he is the author on of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World."

And Gordon, thanks very much for joining us.


PILGRIM: You know the administration response, they called it provocative, and yet it was very measured, very cool. Let's listen to what the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee had to say, Duncan Hunter.


REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: He hasn't accepted North Korea's emergency. They like to create emergencies. He hasn't accepted that, but he has moved ahead robustly with our missile defense.

We're keeping our powder dry as a nation. I think they need to know that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PILGRIM: Now is the response by the Bush administration, in your estimate, the right one? Is this the right way to go about it?

CHANG: Well, I think that it is right for the Bush administration not to get rattled and not to overplay it.

But we have to remember that the White House wants to downplay this because they don't want to highlight the failure of American policy for the last five years.

This is not just a Bush failure. This failure evident from administration to administration. The United States is large and North Korea is small, but they always seem to be one step ahead of us.

PILGRIM: What is the nuclear capability of North Korea?

CHANG: They probably have enough plutonium which can set off a nuclear weapon for somewhere between eight and 12, perhaps 13 bombs. But what we don't know is whether they are able to build warheads, which is put on top of a missile. We know they can drop them from planes.

But the other thing that we do know, and this is absolutely crucial, and that is, whatever their capabilities are today, within five to seven years, they will be able to shrink their missiles, put them on top of missiles that will be able to hit anyplace in the United States. So this is important.

PILGRIM: You know, the rhetoric has been rather heated and we've watched this taepodong missile be fueled up in the last week or so. How serious is it right now?

CHANG: Well, you know, the long-range missile didn't work this time. But it really did work in 1998. So, you know, in a sense, we shouldn't really take too much comfort from their failure because if the first stage did work, they probably would have been able to do this year what they did six years ago. And that is, they're able to put debris across the coast of Alaska. So, you know, we've got to be very careful about this because they do have the capabilities to hit the United States.

PILGRIM: The timing here is remarkable. It's on the fourth of July. We also put up the space shuttle today. Sort through the motivations of North Korea, if they are at all discernible.

CHANG: Well, you know, one of them is, I suppose, that they want to do something while everybody is on vacation in Washington. And, of course, there is a shuttle launch and they said, well, we've got missiles too.

But I think there are other aspects to this. Because you know, the United States had a very successful summit with the Japanese. And probably what the Chinese are lurking in the background, because they could have stopped this if they wanted to, but they didn't. And I think essentially what Beijing is saying is that, yes, President Bush you can have good relations with the Japanese, but at the end of the day, you really need us Beijing. And so I think that there is a little bit of that in it as well. You know, North Korea can have a lot of intentions, so can China.

PILGRIM: We have just a minute or so. But what can we expect from the U.N. Security Council? Can we get help at all?

CHANG: I think that if the Chinese are really embarrassed by this, then maybe we'll be able to get some sort of mild statement out of the security council. But you know I just don't think that's really going to be the avenue where we're going to find a good solution.

PILGRIM: And so, we may have to start talking directly with North Korea?

CHANG: Well, that's one possibility. But the other thing is that we should work more closely with South Korea and try build up a united front because that's going to be really important.

PILGRIM: All right, thanks very much. Gordan Chang, thank you.

Now do stay tuned to CNN for continuing coverage of the North Korea missile crisis. After this short break, our coverage will continue with CNN INTERNATIONAL.


HUGH RIMINTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Back to our continuing coverage of North Korea's missile launches. I'm Hugh Riminton in Hong Kong.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Kristie Lu Stout. We would like to welcome the audience joining us at our sister network, CNN USA.

RIMINTON: Let's take a brief recap now. On our main story, U.N. officials say the security council will begin talks on North Korea's missile tests when it opens meetings on Wednesday, New York time.

U.S. officials say North Korea test-fired six missiles a few hours ago. At least four of those missiles are believed to be of the short-range variety. But at least one is believed to be a long-range Taepodong-2 missile that U.S officials say failed just after it was launched.

STOUT: Let's get more now on Japan's reaction and the complications these developments pose for Tokyo. Atika Shubert joins us by a broadband from the Japanese capitol.

And Atika, a moment ago, we replayed that interview I had with the spokesperson of the Japanese foreign ministry. He expressed grave concern concerning North Korea's actions. And he's taking those concerns to the U.N. security council.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Japan is really taking the toughest stand out of all of the neighboring countries here in Asia. It is asking for an emergency meeting of the security council. And Japan is already discussing the possibility of economic sanctions. There's some discussion here about whether or not North Korean ships, for example, will be restricted from entering Japanese waters.

These are all possible options for the Japanese government, but no definite decision has been made. They're still waiting for some more details of those missile launches to come forward.

In addition to that, obviously they put out a strong statement, a strong protest to the north Korean government that's being transmitted to their embassy in Beijing. So Japan, taking this very seriously for a number of reasons, but obviously Japan is a prime target for North Korea. And all of these missiles landed closest to Japan, in the Sea of Japan. Although, it should be noted, all the missiles landed harmlessly without any damage to Japanese territory.

STOUT: And, Atika, before any action to be pushed forward at the United Nations, Japan needs the support of China, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. And not at this moment at least a very close friend of Japan's.

SHUBERT: You're absolutely right, Christy. Japan and China do not have good relationship right now. Japan's relations with its neighbors are not on a very good standing. And that puts Japan in a very difficult position. It's a prime target of North Korea. And yet it has no bargaining power with North Korea. Its options now are very limited. It's trying to rally the international community to its cause. And it's threatening to impose economic sanctions. Other than that, however, it doesn't have much leverage. And for that, it's going to have to go through China and South Korea. Those two countries obviously have the most closest relationship to North Korea, both of them being major economic partners.

However, again, if Japan tries to go through the U.N. Security Council, it has the stumbling block of China, which has veto power. So Japan is going to have to find a way to hatch up its relations with China if it wants to be able to influence North Korea.

STOUT: And in the meantime, Atika, Japan has to rely on the United States, not only for diplomatic pressure, but also for, let's face it, for protection. In fact, recently there was an alliance that was announced between Japan and the United States about interceptor missiles being stationed at U.S. bases in Japan.

SHUBERT: That's exactly right, Kristie. In fact, Japan has only strengthened its alliance with the United States. Actually, ever since 1998 when North Korea launched its first long-range missile, the Taepodong-1. That really jolted Japan into action, and really prompted the country to begin a missile defense system with the United States.

And as part of that over the years, Japan and the United States have worked very closely to build up their Aegis tracking system, which tracks incoming missiles, particularly, obviously, from North Korea. And there's been some discussion of whether or not Japan will be getting several interceptor missiles at the end of the year.

So you're seeing a lot of that activity here. And Japan, clearly saying that it will stand by its alliance with the U.S., not just diplomatically but also militarily.

STOUT: All right, Atika Shubert joining us from Tokyo. Many thanks, indeed.

RIMINTON: Longtime North Korea Watcher Mike Chinoy has filed a report. He says the launchers will have implications across the globe.


MIKE CHINOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Kim Jong-il, testing the limits, brinksmanship is standard operating procedure. This latest missile test fits into that pattern. But as usual with North Korea, there's more speculation than hard fact about Kim's real motives.

One view links the test to the crisis over Iran's nuclear program. Sung yang (ph) has watched, as the U.S. and the European Union have offered concessions to Tehran for simply suspending uranium enrichment.

These concessions have included acknowledging Iran's right to a civilian nuclear program. And even talk of providing proliferation resistant light water nuclear reactors.

The North, in contrast, has been pressed by the U.S. to abandon its nuclear ambitions altogether. While Washington has been vague on the specifics of any concessions.

And the Bush administration shut down a project set up by the Clinton administration that would have given North Korea two light water reactors. So the test now, as was the case when North Korea tested its first missile eight years ago, could be a way saying to the U.S., we can cause trouble if we don't get better terms.

But in political terms, the test may backfire. In Washington, it's likely to strengthen the hand of administration hard-liners opposed to any nuclear deal with the North. In Japan, it's likely to cause widespread anxiety, and could influence the outcome of the race to succeed Prime Minister Koizumi in a few months, fueling support for a tougher line towards Pyongyang.

In South Korea, too, the test won't win Kim Jong-il any friends, but it place places South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun in a difficult spot. Roh has staked his political future on engaging North Korea.

It's hard to imagine him abandoning that position even after this test. Indeed, some observers believe Roh may feel compelled to redouble his efforts to deal with Kim's regime. That in turn could cause tension between South Korea and the United States, further weakening a security alliance already under strained because of the two governments' sharply differing approaches to handling North Korea. And the test may anger China, the North's key backer. Possibly prompting Beijing to intensify pressure on Kim Jong-il to return to the six-party talks on the nuclear issue. Talks the North has boycotted for almost a year.

But North Korea always goes its own way and the underlying message from the test may be that Kim Jong-il isn't going to bow to pressure from anyone, friend or adversary. And that North Korea, despite its internal problems, remains a power to be reckoned with.


STOUT: The last hour I spoke with Mike Chinoy to get his take on North Korea's latest actions.


CHINOY: The North Koreans have for a long time, at least in their official statements and conversations that people have visited Pyongyang have had with senior officials, myself included, said that they don't want a hostile relationship with the United States.

You read their official media and over and over they say, if the U.S. is willing to end of what Pyongyang calls its hostile attitude, is hostile policies, then all things become possible including a negotiated deal to eliminate their nuclear program and their missile program.

I think one big question mark now is that might have been true previously, but in 2005, North Korea formally declared itself a nuclear power. Now they've had this test. It's possible that the absence of diplomatic progress and the unwillingness of the Bush administration to negotiate directly may have strengthened the hand of the military and North Korea, so that it may now be the case that they are determined to keep those programs. But we simply don't know and we won't know unless a diplomatic process of real give and take gets under way.

My sense is the North is hoping when the shock waves subside that there will be pressure on Washington to reengage because the other alternatives are so unattractive. But whether that will happen or not is still anybody's guess.

STOUT: Now if the diplomatic process continues, either through the framework of six-party talks or through the United Nations, will there be a united front? There's a lot of talk about a growing divide between for example, South Korea and the United States, Japan and China.

CHINOY: I think it's very unlikely whatever the diplomats say publicly that there will in fact be a united front. Clearly, all the other participates in the six-party negotiations, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, China, Russia, are not happy to see these missiles launched.

On the other hand, the south Koreans are very heavily engaged with North Korea and President Roh Moo-hyun has made continuing engagement the centerpiece of his whole strategy and his whole presidency.

The Chinese, for their part, have clearly made -- indicated they're not interested in squeezing North Korea to the point of collapse. They don't want to see that happen. And it's interesting that the language Chinese officials used in the run up to these tests, warning against the tests being held, significant -- were significant. In it, they mentioned urging boat size to exercise restrain, rather than simply singling out North Korea.

That other side, of course, being Washington. So it's highly unlikely that the South Koreans and the Chinese and Russians for that matter will embrace a really get-tough approach to Kim Jong-il at this stage of the game.

And the question, then, becomes what will the U.S. and Japan do, whether Washington will push ahead. And if that happens, what we'll end up with his stalemate, no diplomatic progress. And North Korea continuing to churn out weapons grade plutonium from the reactors that it activated a few years ago when this current crisis erupted.


STOUT: And that was Mike Chinoy, at the Pacific Council on International Policy.

RIMINTON: Well, North Korea, of course, is now back at the center of international attention.

STOUT: Ahead on "World News," we'll have much more on Pyongyang's actions as well as analysis of what North Korea's intentions may be.


STOUT: Live from Hong Kong, you're watching "World News." And now a brief recap our main story.

U.N. officials say the security council will begin talks at North Korea's missile tests when it opens meetings on Wednesday. U.S. officials say North Korea has test-fired six missiles. At least four are believed to be short-range varieties. At least one is believed to be a long-range Taepodong-2 missile that U.S. officials say failed just after it was launched.

RIMINTON: Let's get a look now at how these developments are being received across the border in South Korea.

Sohn Jie-Ae joins us by broadband now from Seoul.

Jie-Ae, many people in South Korea waking up this morning to the news of these missile tests by North Korea. What was the reaction?

SOHN JIE-AE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, many South Koreans are waking up and seeing the news on TV, were expressed concern and consternation that North Korea has once again managed to crank up tensions here on the Korean peninsula.

Although it had been anticipated for quite some time, the fact that North Korea actually tested the missiles, that has raised concern here that the international community might move towards some type of sanctions towards North Korea, might isolate North Korea even further. And therefore, cranking up tensions here and having a detrimental affect on South Korea and its thriving economy. So there is a lot of concern here this morning -- Hugh.

RIMINTON: Well, South Korea is in a key position because it and China are really the only two nations, both on the border of North Korea, of course. But the only two nations really with a kind of economic muscle to affect any real change, or put any real pressure onto North Korea.

How much do you think there will be a turn away from the traditional approach of the South Koreans, which is to essentially go pretty easy on the North Koreans?

JIE-AE: That is true, Hugh. Over the past decade or so, South Korea has had a policy of engaging North Korea. So there has been a significant amount of economic exchanges as well as human exchanges between south and north, more so than in the five decades since the two Koreas fought in a Korean war. So there is a significant amount of economic exchanges between the two Koreas.

Now, how far the Seoul government is willing to go to jeopardize that is a big question. South Korean government officials have said that if North Korea fires its missile, then they cannot just ignore it. So there has been talk of maybe making it more difficult for the two governments to negotiate rice or fertilizer aid to North Korea, as well as there being some consternation about the private exchanges.

South Korea has a major tourist attraction in North Korea. There's a major economic trade zone in North Korea. So these could be affected as well. But so far South Korea officials have not outlined any type of specific measures yet -- Hugh.

RIMINTON: Give us some insight into the feeling on the streets in South Korea. I mean many people might imagine that when you've got North Korea on your border, nuclear armed, ready to fire off missiles despite international warnings not to do it, that people there might be feeling actually under military threat.

Do worry South Koreans wander around thinking the North Koreans are a danger, imminently, to us in our daily lives?

JIE-AE: Well, South Koreans have lived for decades thinking that North Koreans are a danger. But in recent years, South Korea has been affected by a reconciliation policy towards North Korea as well. So they are looking upon North Korea, not so much as a non-threat, but a threat tiger without sharp teeth, to say it in one word. And they are looking at North Korea not so much as threatening South Korea in itself, but threatening South Korea's economic future in cranking up tensions here on the Korean peninsula or in this region. So they are looking at North Korea as a threat. Of course, if North Korea collapses, South Korea doesn't know if it can bear the burden of trying to absorb the North Korean economy.

So there are many threats that South Koreans feel towards the North Koreans, but not the ones that the Japanese feel. Not that the missiles are aimed towards South Korea. Because actually North Korea doesn't really need to aim missiles at the south. There's a lot of people up on the border that are ready to come down. And they don't need missiles -- Hugh.

RIMINTON: A need to talk about in South Korea today. Sohn Jie-Ae, thanks very much for joining us there from Seoul.

Well, earlier we spoke to CNN's Senior U.N. Correspondent Richard Roth about the diplomatic response to this situation.


ROTH: The North Korean missile launches, topic number one, for the U.N. Security Council later today. The council is likely to hear from Japan and the United States, pressing for firm condemnation of North Korea for its actions.

Council ambassadors have been warning North Korea through the press and through capitols, if they were to launch any missiles. Now North Korea, with a provocation according to many diplomats. China in the past has blocked firm action at the security council, defending North Korea. Now Beijing will have a harder role to play.

The Russians, the other day, called in the North Korean ambassador in Moscow, warning of any such military action.

The United States thinks Japan may be in the lead. It's the country on the security council most affected in the region by North Korean missile launches.


STOUT: The word from the U.N. there with Richard Roth.

U.S. lawmakers are also weighing with reaction to the missile launches.


REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: The worst thing we could do is overreact. Right now, the world understands that North Korea's a rogue nation. They've exported their missile technology up until now. We need to make sure that they don't continue to develop it. We need to make sure they continue to be isolated.

The six-party talks will continue. The real bottom line is the United States is using the United Nations and its other allies in the main world to isolate North Korea. REP. BOB FILNER (D), CALIFORNIA: We are bogged down in Iraq. We are spread too thin. We should be worried about Iran. We now, obviously, have to be more worried about Korea. And yet nobody takes us as seriously as they should because of our military weakness that has stemmed from Iraq.

We should be negotiating with them, but we should have a credible threat available. And we simply don't.


STOUT: The reaction from the U.S. You're watching "World News."

RIMINTON: Still plenty of diplomatic action there over the North Korean missile test. We'll have more when we return.


PILGRIM: Good evening. I'm Kitty Pilgrim in the CNN studios in New York. The White House, tonight says it quote, "strongly condemns" today's North Korean missile tests.

As the United States celebrated Independence Day and as NASA launched the space shuttle "Discovery," North Korea test-launched a total of six missiles over a four-hour period, including its most advanced missile, the Taepodong-2.

Now, the U.S. says this missile broke up in mid-air less than a minute after launch.

Tomorrow morning, the United Nations Security Council will meet in emergency session to discuss this escalating crisis.

The White House tonight is trying to assure Americans that there is no immediate military threat from these missile tests, but the White House says it will take, quote, "all necessary measures to protect this nation and its allies in crisis."

Ed Henry is at the White House with the very latest -- Ed.


ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Kitty, White House Spokesman Tony Snow denounced these tests by North Korea as a provocation, and declared that Dictator Kim Jong-il has further isolated himself. And Tony Snow, stressing the White House believes there is no quote, "immediate threat to the United States." Nevertheless, President Bush has been in consultation with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Rice, and his National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley about the matter.

When asked if the U.S. is considering military action, Tony Snow stressed this is not U.S. versus North Korea matter. This is North Korea versus the rest of the world. And it's up to the regime to come back to the six-party talks. This White House that has faced so many allegations that it did not give diplomacy enough of a chance before the war in Iraq, stressing they are very eager in this situation to tamp this down, work through diplomatic channels.

In fact, the president is sending a Senior State Department Official Chris Hill to the region on Wednesday, to work on the diplomatic process. The president is sending this representative because he does not want to be drawn into a tit for tat with Kim Jong- il.

In fact, the president went ahead on Tuesday night to watch fireworks from the White House, going off over the national mall for Independence Day and he also went ahead with a small birthday bash with family and friends two days early. The president turns 60 on Thursday -- Kitty.


PILGRIM: Ed Henry.

Well, joining me again is Gordon Chang. He's the author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World." And Gordon, thanks for being with us tonight.

CHANG: Thank you.

PILGRIM: You know, this crisis with North Korea has been a long simmering crisis that stretches through several administrations. Let's listen to what the former Clinton Adviser Wendy Sherman had to say earlier on ""LARRY KING LIVE."


AMB. WENDY SHERMAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISER ON NORTH KOREA: I think it's very concerning. America is not at risk tonight, immediately. But there's no question that not only long-range missiles, but having nuclear weapons and they now have probably six to eight nuclear weapons on a head of long-range missile is about as lethal as it gets.


PILGRIM: Now the Taepodong-2 missile was test-fired for the first time. It did break up almost immediately after launch, within minutes -- or the first minute. Where do we stand on this? How concerned are you about this missile?

CHANG: Well, we have to be concerned. Even though this particular test failed. We know they've had successful tests in 1998 on a three-stage missile.

You know, they can have a mistake every once in a while. But they are progressing towards the point where they will be able it put a nuclear weapon in the United States, perhaps within five to seven years. So this is a question of where time really works against us. As Wendy Sherman says, we don't have to be concerned about it this very moment. But over the long term, we certainly do have to be.

PILGRIM: All right, let's take a look at what Japan is saying tonight. Because it really is important that our allies in the region backup the U.S. position. Where do we stand with our ally Japan?

CHANG: Well, the most interesting thing that happened today, apart from North Korea firing the missiles, is that the Japanese said that they want to take the lead to go to the U.N. Security Council, to try to resolve this.

You know, since the end of World War II, Japan has taken the lead on virtually nothing. And so this is a real sea change in the Japanese attitudes towards its neighbors.

PILGRIM: And South Korea is also an important and key ally in the region and yet they have a policy of engagement with North Korea. How might that play out?

CHANG: Well, everybody says that the key to a successful negotiation is China. But the key to China is South Korea. Because South Korea, by supporting the North, gives China cover to do the same thing. If the United States is able to work with South Korea, to peel it away from Beijing and Pyongyang, then China is going to be alone. And it's going to have to make a very clear choice. It's going to have to either go with us or it's going to have to go with North Korea.

PILGRIM: But South Korea and President Roh has not been that helpful to this U.S. position, has he?

CHANG: No, very uncooperative and very supportive Pyongyang. But in South Korea, right now, there's a new right movement and it really means that his party could easily be on the outs in the next presidential election.

PILGRIM: All right, we'll be following this very closely. Thanks for your analysis, Gordon Chang.

Stay tuned to CNN for continuing coverage of this developing story after this short break, our coverage will continue with CNN INTERNATIONAL.


RIMINTON: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of North Korea's missile launches in the last few hours. I'm Hugh Riminton, in Hong Kong.

STOUT: And I'm Kristie Lu Stout. We'd like to welcome the audience. Joining us at our sister network CNN USA.

RIMINTON: Let's take a brief recap now of our main story.

U.N. officials say the U.N. Security Council will begin talking on north Korea's missile tests when it opens meetings on Wednesday, New York time. U.S. officials say North Korea has test-fired six missiles.

North Korean officials have confirmed the missile test to Japanese television stations, apparently without saying how many were fired. At least one of the missiles is believed to be a long-range Taepodong-2 missile. U.S. officials say it failed, though, just after it was launched.

Tokyo says the Navy is searching for remains of he missiles now in the Sea of Japan.

Let's turn now to our Beijing Bureau Chief Jamie Florcruz.

Jaime, first of all, how is this being reported, if at all, in Beijing?

JAIME FLORCRUZ, CNN BUREAU CHIEF: There's very little official reports in Beijing. I mean the media here is silent in part because they missed the cycle, but the official news agency and the Web sites have been reporting it quite promptly, also in a very terse way. Some of which, quoting CNN reports.

Perhaps it's indicative of the fact that the Chinese themselves may have been caught unawares in terms of timing. However, there's still no official word from the Chinese foreign ministry. It's not expected in the next few hours.

But it's very clear that the Chinese still hope that talks, not threats, will be the preferred solution to the crisis -- Hugh.

RIMINTON: Well, China is a U.N. Security Council permanent member, will be drawn into these talks in New York in the next few hours when they open in New York, Wednesday, local time there.

What is likely to happen here? Are we likely to see any change in the traditional position that China takes of pressuring North Korea but not too much?

FLORCRUZ: Yes, I think that's what the Chinese are expected to take, which is pressure North Korea, but not to the point of isolating it or forcing it into a corner.

The Chinese believe that talks, not threats is the best way to engage North Korea. In fact, the foreign ministry spokesman yesterday said that they are trying their best to reconvene the six-party talks.

The Chinese have hosted five rounds of that. It's been stalled for about a year now. And the Chinese are saying that they are hoping that the five other parties will find a way to restart it.

A Chinese vice foreign prime minister is expected to visit North Korea next week. And that may be a good way, a good channel for the Chinese to send a message to North Korea and bring them back to the talks -- Hugh.

RIMINTON: Do you think that China will see the fact that these tests have taken place as a failure in their policy of engagement?

FLORCRUZ: I don't think the Chinese would view it that way. In fact, the Chinese will probably argue that the current crisis, the missile tests, only shows the urgency of the reconvening the six-party talks. They believe that the fact that the six-party talks have stalled, only gives North Korea a reason to stay away and to keep producing, you know, the elements they need for a nuclear weapon. And also to keep their nuclear -- I mean, their missile tests that we just saw this morning -- Hugh.

RIMINTON: Jamie Florcruz reporting in on the Chinese reaction. Thanks very much.

STOUT: And now for reaction, additional reaction from Beijing, we turn now to Yan Xuetong. He's director of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University.

Welcome to the program. The U.S. has strongly condemned North Korea's actions. Japan has said it is gravely concerned. What is Beijing thinking about right now?

YAN XUETONG, TSINGHUA UNIVERSITY (on the phone): Well, I think that Beijing certainly is not very supportive to the North Korea nuclear launch. And I think that China has a clear (UNINTELLIGIBLE) kind of a missile launch will undermine China's efforts to get the six-party talks resumed. And this kind of a missile launch cannot force Americans to give up freezing not clear for capital, (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And so China will, concerning how to reduce the tension caught by the current provocative launch and try to get consideration among all of the six parties, especially between the U.S. and the North Korea, to resume the six-party talk as soon as possible.

STOUT: So no official reaction yet from Beijing. From your analysis, you're saying China is not supportive of North Korea's actions. But will China side with Japan at U.N. during the meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning and jointly criticize North Korea for its actions?

XUETONG: On the first, I think that China did not support the North Korean's nuclear test. And second, China may guess, the reason of the test, not different from what the U.S. and the Japan determined, and that the direct cause the nuclear tester is the American's economic sanctions on freezing North Korean's capitol in the (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

So, the economic sanction is kind of a reason for the test. And also then China will concern that we need to have the six parties stick together to discuss how to make the North Korea to accept the proposal from the other countries and to reduce tensions.


STOUT: Right. But for the six-party talk framework to work, there needs to be united front. But are all parties on board? Do all parties -- China, Japan, along with South Korea, the United States, Russia, agree that this action should be condemned? And stern reaction should come about as a result?

XUETONG: Well I don't think trying to support a U.N. official condemnation on the North Korea. That won't help solve the problem, but China take a critical attitude toward the North Korea's missile test and China considering we need the diplomacy rather than the former political condemnation and the economic sanction.

STOUT: OK, so China, according to your views, preferring the six-party framework as a way to resolve this, rather than through the United Nations.

And North Korea and China, we know, have a very special relationship. Do you think that there was a chance that China knew in advance that Pyongyang was planning to do these missile tests this morning?

XUETONG: Yes, I think that China knows that and China has the largest impact than any other country. And also, trying to notice our impact on North Korea is limited and North Korea has missile test after our prime minister make a clear statement that at least future tests of missiles by North Korea will disservice regional security.

So I think this also shows two sides of the story. One side is China has the largest impact on the other countries. On the other hand, China has limited impact on these countries on North Korea.


XUETONG: So I think that this is really a difficult situation for China to handle with.

STOUT: Yes, indeed. Xuetong told, the director of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University, many thanks, indeed, giving us some word, some reaction out of Beijing. No official reaction yet. But according to his words, China not being supportive of North Korea's latest moves.

RIMINTON: Plenty of insights coming in from all sorts of sources. The Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has appeared on CNN's "LARRY KING," to discuss the latest developments.


LARRY KING, HOST ""LARRY KING LIVE": What do you think will happen tomorrow?

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: At the United Nations, I think that they will have a discussion which will show some of the divisions that your journalist and commentators have talked about.

I do think that there will probably be a lot of action in the capitols in Seoul and in Tokyo. And we also need to know what is going to be happening in Pyongyang. Because I can assure you, Kim Jong-il is watching the reaction to this. The thing I found was that he was not isolated. He actually watches CNN and has e-mail. And I think he is watching to see the reaction to this.

I do think that we do have to see this as a provocation, but not overreact. Because the message out of Iraq is one that, those who do not have nuclear weapons, get invaded. And those who do, don't get invaded. And so he is reading the messages from that. And I think we need to stay calm. I do think that I personally believe there need to be face-to-face talks, but it's hard to do them immediately after this kind of a launch.

But I do think that diplomacy, and I must say, we do need to have an ABM. Nobody is opposed to that. I think, though, that diplomacy is an essential aspect of this. And we should use the United Nations six-party talks and then move face-to-face.


STOUT: Madeleine Albright speaking to Larry King just then.

And that U.N. Security Council meeting she mentioned, it will take place Wednesday morning, New York time, 10:00 a.m., 1400 GMT. You're watching "WORLD NEWS."

STOUT: OK, before we go to break, I understand we have Ed Henry on the line for additional reaction -- actually, a package story from Ed Henry.

Well, just a short time ago, the White House issued a statement, saying it strongly condemns the North Korean missile test and the Bush administration warned it would take all necessary measures to protect the U.S. and its allies.

So Ed Henry now reports with this story from Washington.


ED HENRY: White House Spokesman Tony Snow denounced these tests by North Korea as a provocation and declared that Dictator Kim Jong-il has further isolated himself, but Tony Snow stressing, the White House believes there is no, quote, "immediate threat to the United States."

Nevertheless, President Bush has been in consultation with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Rice, as well as his National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, on the matter.

When asked if the U.S. is considering military action in response, Tony Snow stresses this is not a U.S. versus North Korea matter. This is North Korea versus the rest of the world and it's up to the regime to come back to the six-party talks.

This White House that has faced so many allegations, that it did not give diplomacy enough of a chance before the war in Iraq, now stressing they're very eager to tamp this situation down, work through diplomatic channels. In fact on Wednesday, the president is sending a Senior State Department Official Chris Hill, to the region, in order to work those diplomatic channels. The president, sending this representative, because he does not want to be personally drawn into a tit for tat with Kim Jong-il.

In fact, the president on Tuesday night, went ahead with watching the fireworks from the White House go off over the national mall for the Independence Day celebration. The president also going ahead with a small birthday bash with family and friends here at the White House, two days early. He turns 60 on Wednesday.

Ed Henry, CNN, the White House.


STOUT: Well, intelligence analysts are no doubt pouring over data for North Korea's missile launches. They can glean a lot about the missile's technological difficulties but Pyongyang's motives for the launches remain obscure.

CNN's Brian Todd examines the psychology behind the launches.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before missile test, Kim Jong-il appeared to have some leverage. Analysts said he might have been using the tension generated by the build-up to extract economic concessions from China, Russia, possibly even the U.S. With that now in jeopardy, experts believe Kim had several possible motivations to launch the test. One, simply to see what he had in his arsenal.

JOHN PIKE, GLOBALSECURITY.ORG: The benefits of launching sooner rather than later, are you get test data on this long-range missile.

TODD: Even with the apparent technical failure of the missile, experts believe Kim may have wanted to send a signal, to world and his own people, that his military capability is growing, and that his hold on power is solid.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Kim Jong-il does not have the authority his father did, Kim Il-Son. And in action like this may be one way that he is trying to establish that authority and impress those around him that he's just as tough as his father was.

TODD: Another point, to steal some of the world's attention back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He fancies himself the world leader of the anti-imperialist struggle. But I'd say over the last six or eight months, Mr. Ahmadinejad in Iran has been getting a lot of headlines. Mr. Chavez down in Venezuela gets a lot of headlines. But nobody's been paying too much attention until recently to Kim Jong-il, and he's like everybody else, he likes to get on TV. TODD (on camera): Kim is also likely not intimidated by the possibility now of further sanctions, according to experts. His country is already isolated. His people already starving. And one analyst says, in the end, he probably doesn't believe his best ally, China, will let North Korea fall completely apart.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


STOUT: Live from Hong Kong. You have been watching "World News."

RIMINTON: Back with a lot more in just a minute. Stay with us.


STOUT: Live from Hong Kong, you're back with "World News." And now an update on North Korea.

U.N. officials say the security council will begin talks on Pyongyang's missile tests on Wednesday, and requested the session after North Korea fired at least six missiles a few hours ago. At least one is believed to be a long-range Taepodong-2 missile that failed.

North Korean officials in Japan confirmed the test firings to Chinese TV stations and insisted the tests were Pyongyang's sovereign right.

RIMINTON: Well, after two weather delays, the shuttle "Discovery" took a smooth ride into orbit.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, booster ignition, and liftoff of the space shuttle "Discovery," returning to the space station, paving the way for future missions and beyond.


RIMINTON: And it is just the second shuttle launch since "Columbia" disintegrated on reentry in 2003, killing all on board. The crew of "Discovery" will spend nearly two weeks aboard the International Space Station.

Now, Daniel Sieberg was covering the launch of the space shuttle from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two, one, booster ignition, and liftoff of the space shuttle "Discovery," returning to the space station, paving the way for future missions beyond.

DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Third time was a charm on the Fourth of July for "Discovery," as the nation's fireworks displays got an early start.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Discovery Houston, go at throttle up.

MIKE LEINBACH, SHUTTLE LAUNCH DIRECTOR: It was just a beautiful day, to watch "Discovery" launch on July 4th and see it go for so far and see a separation and see the boosters tumbling back to earth. It was just a great day.

SIEBERG: Preliminary data shows that after liftoff, debris came off "Discovery" at two different times.

WAYNE HALE, SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM MANAGER: Both of those are interesting because they're after the time that we are concerned about aerodynamic transport, causing damage to the shuttle tiles.

SIEBERG: After close inspection with the jerry-rigged camera on the launch pad Monday, NASA said the crack found in foam insulation on the external fuel tank was not a threat to launch.

SCOTT KELLY, BROTHER OF DISCOVERY PILOT: You know if we do have another accident in this program, it's not going to be due to the foam. It's probably going to be due to something that maybe we don't even know about now. But hopefully that won't happen with a number of flights we have remaining.

SIEBERG: The mission is scheduled for at least 12 days. The seven astronauts will rendezvous with the International Space Station, deliver supplies and conduct repairs, then return with one fewer passenger. German Astronaut Thomas Reiter, who will stay aboard the station.


RIMINTON: From the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Well, Tuesday was a huge day for Italian football as the Azzurris took on Germany in the World Cup semifinal. But imagine fixing scandal back home was casting a huge shadow.

A Prosecutor called for four high-profile clubs to be kicked out of the nation's top league over their alleged involvement in the scandal and more trouble for your Juventis, one of the affected clubs. It's now announced that Coach Fabio Cappello has resigned. He's reportedly already been offered a job with the Spanish Side Rail Madrid.

STOUT: And as the Azzurri -- talking about Italy, of course, advances Sunday's final by beating Germany two nil, in extra time. And the country's fans are going crazy.

RIMINTON: Certainly was an extraordinary game. Won in the last couple of minutes for extra time. For many Italians, a much-needed boost, of course, after all that damage to the reputation of football in Italy.

Alessio Vinci has more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN ROME BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): The intensity of the game in Dortmund was felt among Romans watching it 1,500 miles to the south. Italy did not play its traditional conservative game known to football experts as catanacho (ph). The match was, instead, so powerful, hard fought and tight that not even riot policemen in full combat gear ready to intervene in case trouble could stay away from it.

Not to mention the waiters at this pacidia (ph), ignoring clients and peeking through the window of a nearby pub. The goals came in late, at the end of extra time. But it felt just as glorious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's fantastic. Because we wanted it. Because we deserved it. Because it's the first time in the final. Come on. It's the first time with the final. And we are in. Come on. Now we come through. So we can't. We can't. It's impossible.

VINCI: Before the two goals were scored, many here feared the match would be decided by penalty shoot-outs with the Italians never won in a world cup. But in the end, all enjoyed just a great game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a great game. And they both were great, let's say, team. And I'm proud that Italy won.

VINCI: Tonight, the disgrace of the match-fixing scandal that broke out in May felt far away. And yet, only hours earlier, a sport prosecutor had asked judges to relegate some of Italy's best-known football clubs to lower divisions.

Tonight, though, it was all about national team and national pride. Italian fans can dream a bit longer. Sunday's the final. After that, judges are expected to issue their verdicts.

(On camera): Now that Italy has made it to the finals, what a better way than to celebrate in true Italian fashion. But, in the spirit of fair play, instead of riding an Italian (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I will be driving a German motorcycle.

Alessio Vinci, CNN, Rome.


RIMINTON: He's the man of style, isn't he? That's our Alessio Vinci there. And that is "World News." I'm Hugh Riminton.

STOUT: And I'm Kristie Lu Stout. Do stay with CNN for the latest on our top story. After weeks of international warning, not to do it, North Korea has carried out test launches of several missiles, at least six. Now "CNN TODAY" is next.



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