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North Korea also wants to launch its own space program, which will not ease international concern regarding the country's ability to launch missiles

As South Korean and U.S. officials believe North Korea is prepared to test fire a long-range missile, North Korean officials have announced the nation is looking forward to developing a space program in the near future.

"The DPRK's policy of advancing to space for peaceful purposes is a justifiable aim that fits the global trend of the times," government officials said in a state-run newspaper.  "There is no power in the world that can stop it.  As long as developing and using space are aimed at peaceful purposes and such efforts contribute to enhancing human beings' happiness, no one in the world can find fault with them."

Despite international concern, North Korea has been involved in space research and development, but hasn't launched its own satellites or rockets into space.  Several nations -- and possibly NASA in the near future -- fuel their space programs through military funding, and there is a concern North Korea would use its satellite launch technology to develop more sophisticated rocket technology for missiles and weapons of war.

During a launch in 1998, North Korea launched a missile that sailed over Japan and splashed into the Pacific Ocean, with government officials saying the missile helped put a satellite into orbit.

Along with a possible entrance into space, North Korea is almost ready to test launch the Taepodong-2 missile, which has an estimated range of 4,100 miles.  Pyongyang would like to test launch the missile to garner international attention, especially from new U.S. President Barack Obama.

North Korea first tried to launch Taepodong-2 in 2006, but the missile failed 40 seconds after launch, U.S. security officials said.

The United States and numerous other western nations have become increasingly concerned by a growing number of nations looking to develop space programs. 

Iran recently launched a satellite into orbit despite international concern its space program could be used for military purposes.



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say wha???
By Lifted on 2/8/2009 9:29:07 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
As long as developing and using space are aimed at peaceful purposes and such efforts contribute to enhancing human beings hapiness...


Irony overload.




RE: say wha???
By Shig on 2/8/2009 10:04:33 PM , Rating: 5
A quazi-dictatorship with ICBM's doesn't sit too well with me.


RE: say wha???
By Spuke on 2/8/2009 10:25:28 PM , Rating: 5
I say, let them have it. They nor anyone else will ever launch one because they'll be instantly pounded back into the Paleolithic age. The US and its allies still have more nukes than all of the crazy countries cubed and they ALL know if one leaves the ground, that country will cease to exist.


RE: say wha???
By wordsworm on 2/8/09, Rating: 0
RE: say wha???
By Etsp on 2/9/2009 12:45:31 AM , Rating: 2
I think that S. Korea and Japan might publicly protest the act, but they wouldn't take any action in retaliation, that's for sure. Japan and S. Korea aren't exactly friendly with N. Korea, if I remember correctly...


RE: say wha???
By Amiga500 on 2/9/2009 2:24:09 AM , Rating: 4
You are right in that Japan and S. Korea are not friendly with North Korea.

Unfortunately for them, fallout does not adhere to national boundaries.


RE: say wha???
By Gul Westfale on 2/9/2009 2:36:21 AM , Rating: 3
so when will we see pictures of an emaciated north korean astronaut floating over the earth in his wooden craft?


RE: say wha???
By afkrotch on 2/9/2009 1:41:33 PM , Rating: 2
Tactical nukes. Minimalize fallout to just N.korea. No need for strategic nukes. Better yet, nuclear bunker busters. Keep the fallout in the ground.


RE: say wha???
By ekv on 2/9/2009 2:38:42 AM , Rating: 2
Whoa. Not so fast.

I'd agree about Japan, maybe. However, while the S.Korea and N.Korea governments are at odds, the people are closely related. There are issues. I hope I get to visit there again, real soon. It is common for a younger person to address an older person as "Uncle" ... the likelihood of being a relative, however distant, is rather likely. Etc. The border that separates the N. & S. Korea is very real but very painful for people with families on the other side.

While I agree that retaliation on N.Korea would be swift -- indeed, while their attack would have unfortunate victims, it would actually wind up helping US remove a pesky thorn in the side -- I'm not so sure I want N.Korea to have anything in the way of technology. Very difficult to stop, of course, especially if China is simply feeding them some of their espionage. I'm not saying that's the case, though wouldn't N.Korea make a good pawn for them?

So, lots of dynamics. We're better off putting the screws to a terrorist sponsoring N.Korean gov't, however possible. Do not negotiate with terrorists. [Unless you plan to stab them in the back ... before they stab you.]


RE: say wha???
By Etsp on 2/9/2009 3:44:24 AM , Rating: 2
Who ever said that government was representative of public opinion. :) But, you are correct, I did neglect the feelings of the public of S. Korea in the event of an attack on N. Korea...


RE: say wha???
By wordsworm on 2/9/2009 2:17:40 PM , Rating: 2
Amiga caught what I was saying - the fallout would be something that these nations would get upset over. The other thing is that whatever one might want to say of N. Korea, one cannot say that their weaponry is lacking. Whatever attack is made will carry with it severe repercussions, with the most likely candidate being S. Korea.

Don't forget that N. Korea has nuclear and impressive ballistic capabilities. They will not be the walk in the park that Iraq was. I suppose the Geneva Convention is really just used for executing enemies of the Allies, and does not apply to the Allies, but a nuclear attack would be the same as opening up the door to nuclear war for all the super powers. Only a complete idiot without a conscience would open the door to that, and fortunately he's no longer the president of the US.

As arrogant as America is about being the world's only super bully, Japan, and Russia are all countries which could quite severely retaliate if they felt an attack on N. Korea was a threat to them. Fortunately for America, there's another country who would likely object to N. Korea having too much - and that's China. China's resources for attacking N. Korea are actually much better than the US, yet still in no way would it be a walk in the park. One million standing in the military, a big military, right on their doorstep. If China doesn't want the US to attack, and the US presses an attack on N. Korea, that would be the kind of thing that would lead to WWIII.

One of the reasons why America has been so successful as a military power has been its manufacturing capabilities. In those days, all the big automotive manufacturers were in the US, Canada, and the wealthy European nations. Turning automotive manufacturers into tank and other military type vehicles is relatively easy. Now, more than fifty years have passed, and things in Asia have changed. China, Japan, and South Korea are all mega manufacturers today, thanks to global trade and western consumerism. That means that they have everything they need to manufacture a war machine that is every bit competitive with the US on non-nuclear and nuclear fronts.


RE: say wha???
By Spuke on 2/9/2009 4:11:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not talking about an offensive attack, I'm talking about a RETALIATORY attack. If someone launches a nuke against another country, that country WILL be nuked by the US and/or its allies. Not one country is going to use diplomacy to counter a nuclear strike. The US would likely not be a target of N. Korea but China or Japan (or both) would be and neither would sit there and yap their gums about it. I wouldn't be surprised at all if China AND Japan nuked N. Korea if either country was attacked (with nukes).


RE: say wha???
By wordsworm on 2/9/2009 11:20:18 PM , Rating: 2
Where do you suppose Japan would get its nuclear weapon from?


RE: say wha???
By Spuke on 2/12/2009 6:40:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Where do you suppose Japan would get its nuclear weapon from?
Who says they don't have any?


RE: say wha???
By theArchMichael on 2/9/2009 4:41:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
they ALL know if one leaves the ground, that country will cease to exist.

I HOPE you are absolutely correct, but do you think it is wise to cede that type of power to a dictator that starves and tortures his own citizens.
I guess that 'shoot from the hip' talk is fine is you're living way out in the cornfields somewhere but if you are one of the 84 percent of Americans living in and around a major metropolitan area I would think a more careful approach would be warranted. We can't allow an extremist leader to dictate the lowest common denominator of what are acceptable losses. If pyongyang is leveled then perhaps, the n. koreans may think somehow they would have made an impression on the world (no pun intended) and they would be successful, but if we lost DC, NYC, Boston, San Fran or LA, America would be devestated. They do not only serve our practical needs but are the bastions of American greatness.
So all that to say that perhaps we shouldn't so readily jump to our last line of defense, and we should explore other options diplomatic and otherwise.


RE: say wha???
By Spuke on 2/9/2009 4:22:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I HOPE you are absolutely correct, but do you think it is wise to cede that type of power to a dictator that starves and tortures his own citizens.
No it's not wise but ultimately, what can we do? Give them a few billion not do it only for them to take that money and develop the tech anyways? It's their country and, quite frankly, they can do what they want. But there are consequences to contend with and if N. Korea wants to launch a nuke at someone, then they face the consequences of getting turned into a glass parking lot.

quote:
I guess that 'shoot from the hip' talk is fine is you're living way out in the cornfields somewhere but if you are one of the 84 percent of Americans living in and around a major metropolitan area
First, it's not 84%, it's more like 50%. Second, I and many other millions of Americans lived under the nuclear threat from the former Soviet Union. Imminent death is not desirable but sometimes you just have to grow a pair and accept fate. Third, N. Korea doesn't have enough nukes to launch a successful attack on the US. As far as we are away from them, we would simply launch a few interceptors and a few more retaliatory nukes. China and Japan have virtually no protection from first strikes from N. Korea. They would get f$%ked but N. Korea would no longer be a country.


RE: say wha???
By PrinceGaz on 2/9/2009 8:17:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
if we lost DC, NYC, Boston, San Fran or LA, America would be devestated


They didn't seem too devestated when New Orleans was all but lost a few years ago. That was a fair sized city and well known world over for its culture, long before the wind and water incident.


RE: say wha???
By freeagle on 2/9/2009 5:34:46 AM , Rating: 2
Well, it's only reasonable for them to try to arm themselves. North Korea doesn't have many foreign friends, and much more enemies. If they didn't arm, they'd become an easy target for military takeover in case the unfriendliness escalated. So they are trying to play the same game US and Russia did during the cold war - both of them arming to the teeth and showing off their weapons, so the other one would know their capabilities. And this lead to a state where none of them would start the attack because the other one would retaliate with the same power, leaving both countries in dust. So I think NK understands that the more weapons they have, the less chance is there for a military action against them.


RE: say wha???
By Darkskypoet on 2/9/2009 7:07:50 AM , Rating: 2
This is it exactly. NK would never launch a nuke against another country, unless they were brutally invaded. The 'cold war' lessons learned guidebook (lol) has taught many nations one important fact; If you have nukes, other nations, even super powers, don't invade you. Conversely, if you don't have nukes; you had better spend your self into near oblivion supporting a massive conventional armed force, or you will be on the target list.

Their are 2 reasons the United States did not go after North Korea, 1) China 2) The losses in Iraq would have looked like a bubble bath in comparison. As NK can't depend on China to protect them, they feel they are in a position where they have to divert every penny of their GDP (that they possibly can, and even some they can't) to maintaining a large battle ready Armed Forces. Nukes and a delivery platform change that equation and allow them to curtail some of their conventional force spending.

Its that simple. Its that rational. Nukes = less extensive conventional forces. Especially when you aren't trying to police the world, but simply defending your borders.


RE: say wha???
By kellehair on 2/9/2009 12:29:09 PM , Rating: 2
NK would have been a pushover compared to Iraq. Their conventional military would have fallen in a matter days to airstrikes. The problem in Iraq is the nonmilitary, multinational resistance. I don't think that problem would have existed in NK.


RE: say wha???
By Bateluer on 2/9/2009 7:30:59 AM , Rating: 3
The thing is, these countries don't care what happens to their people or their countries. The suicide bomber who kills a dozen innocent children thinks he's going to heaven.

They only care that they hurt the 'enemy'.


RE: say wha???
By nafhan on 2/9/2009 8:18:01 AM , Rating: 2
What you're talking about is mutually assured destruction (MAD), and it only works if both sides are reasonably logical. In other words, both sides need to be thinking "If I blow him up, he'll blow me up, so I won't do it." If the guy in control of the nukes has absolute power in his country AND he's kinda crazy, MAD means nothing. This is the case with North Korea.


RE: say wha???
By Darkskypoet on 2/9/2009 9:08:40 AM , Rating: 2
Well.. Considering that for a few years at least, the man holding the keys to the Nuclear Arsenal in the United States was kinda loopy (Reagan) and not quite all there... Or just recently, he was sure that God was leading him on a Holy mission (Bush Jr.). Perhaps we should be careful who we call crazy. Much like in the United States, NK too has an inner circle. As crazy as Dear Leader is purported to be, there is no way the inner circle in NK, or that which 'guides' the President of the United States, would let such an event occur.

Instead, here a simple mental medical fitness assessment could remove him from power, and there something similar (although hidden from the 'adoring public's eyes') would be arranged. To honestly believe Dear Leader governs in a vacuum without a power seeking supporting cast, is stupidity. Much the same as many strong men have their inner circles; unbelievably loyal, until the prize they hope to eventually wrestle away is facing absolute destruction, or they catch their 'Dear Leader' on an off day.

To argue that somehow NK is beyond realizing what launching a nuclear weapon would do to them, again, is stupidity. Are you really that caught up in your feelings of superiority that you would deny all such regimes the ability to act for their own survival? Nothing from NK suggests that the regime is stupid enough to end itself in such a fashion, regimes such as that do not last . Whereas this one has.

Hell, China would more then likely deal with NK itself if they were stupid enough to launch. It would gravely inform the world, that it sees retaliation as the only logical recourse to such a despicable act, it would then assure the world that it would handle NK, and would even cover the costs. Simply, they would ask for the world not to send troops into NK, nor near China's borders, as it is a matter best dealt with by Chinese forces who share a land border with NK. Instead, it would ask that efforts be made to direct resources to assist <insert target city here>, and that China would gladly shoulder this burden as befitting the expectations of a <rising> global power.

(Perhaps a bit thick in rhetoric, but make no mistake, a return nuclear exchange would piss off too many Nuclear armed states, and the United States would not be able to handle a massive rescue / rebuilding event such as the torching of one of her cities, and taking NK. As clearly evidenced by her inability to rebuild New Orleans, while fighting two small conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The question being, could China actually diplomatically stop the US from launching, and would the sacking of Pyongyang be enough for those wanting direct retribution in the US?)


RE: say wha???
By afkrotch on 2/9/2009 2:15:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
(Perhaps a bit thick in rhetoric, but make no mistake, a return nuclear exchange would piss off too many Nuclear armed states, and the United States would not be able to handle a massive rescue / rebuilding event such as the torching of one of her cities, and taking NK. As clearly evidenced by her inability to rebuild New Orleans, while fighting two small conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The question being, could China actually diplomatically stop the US from launching, and would the sacking of Pyongyang be enough for those wanting direct retribution in the US?)


I don't think the US can't quickly rebuild a city. Just New Orleans is a waste of time and money. WTF is the point of rebuilding a city that is below the sea level, while being right near the fcking ocean.

Better yet, what fcking moron thinks it's a good idea to move back in, when a hurricane happens every damn year. Nothing in my mind screams "let's move to New Orleans."


RE: say wha???
By ekv on 2/9/2009 6:35:44 PM , Rating: 2
Passing over your snide, inflammatory remarks of non-Democrat former presidents...

What makes you think China

quote:
would deal with NK itself
?
China already supports NK financially. Where does the technology for starting a space program come from? Do you not recall Iran just launched a satellite? Is there a connection tween NK and Iran, beyond the mere fact that both are state sponsors of terrorism? Your entire paragraph of analysis here is just ... la-la-land.

Is there really any question about the USA's ability to crush somebody, anybody, militarily? The key of course is "ability". You have no idea, nor does anybody else know anything about what Obama would or would not do. Seriously. I would hope he acts in the best interest of the US. But current events suggest otherwise. He is busy rescuing Chris Dodd and Barney Frank from the Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac debacle. Is Socialism in our best interest? I think not. He is busy placing limits on the USA's ability to conduct defense. He is busy picking diplomats that have accepted contributions from foreign interests [China and Dubai], and hence they have a vested interest in listening to China's wishes, rather than our own.

My point is that miliarily there's no question the USA can respond ... appropriately. There's no question. None. The question is what will happen politically. Does the USA have the will power to respond?


RE: say wha???
By Dreifort on 2/9/2009 4:06:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I say, let them have it. They nor anyone else will ever launch one because they'll be instantly pounded back into the Paleolithic age. The US and its allies still have more nukes than all of the crazy countries cubed and they ALL know if one leaves the ground, that country will cease to exist.


Well, it won't be the US that pounds them... don't forget our current administration wants the US to rid themselves of all nukes. And just incase we still come across as being overbearing or as an oppressive country, we will have no defense system (like Reagan's star wars prog) to defend us against weapons traveling through the upper atmosphere to reach us from N. Korea.

The only pounding that would be done is by Russia... and do you think having the opportunity of a weakend America (by N.Korean strike) or acting against N.Korea, which will Russia choose?

Don't forget our military will be weakend in a few years.(either by our curr administration or by liberals who by party belief and nature oppose funding the military beyond minimal means).


RE: say wha???
By Spuke on 2/9/2009 4:43:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well, it won't be the US that pounds them... don't forget our current administration wants the US to rid themselves of all nukes.
You're answer is deluded by politics. We've been ridding ourselves of our nuke stockpile for decades. It's not a recent thing and it's not a democrat thing. Irregardless, we have MORE than enough for virtually every country. NK does not have the capability to weaken anyone. They would get one launch (maybe two) on China or Japan and that would be their demise. The US more than likely would not need to launch unless directly launched on. Either case, we have thousands of nukes and NK might have one in the future. We could pound them into insignificance with just one nuke submarine. No launches from the mainland would be needed.

Also, do you really think that nuke armed countries like India or Pakistan would just let a nuke fly over their airspace? Do you think that any nuke armed country would just sit there and let a nuke fly towards anyone? Especially if they were taken by surprise (most likely would be the case).


RE: say wha???
By Dreifort on 2/10/2009 9:30:37 AM , Rating: 2
I doubt my observations of my country's military is clouded by politics. If you haven't noticed, our military is run and managed by these so-called "politicians". And one of these politicians is commander over all of them.


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