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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 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.

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