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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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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...

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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