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Progress boosts the profile of North Korea's new dictator, but draws international criticism

North Korea, a nation titled by former President George W. Bush as part of "The Axis of Evil", shook the international political sphere Wednesday when it appeared to successfully launch an intercontinental ballistic missile.

I. Kim Jung-un is Boosted by Surprise Success

The Asian nation recently saw power pass from the late dictator Kim Jong-il to his son, Kim Jung-un, 28 (or 29, according to some sources).  The last two decades have taken their toll on Kim Jung-un's isolated kingdom, with a famine in the 90s wiping out an estimated 10 percent of the population, and amidst ongoing struggles with poverty.  A third of North Koreans are estimated to be malnourished, at present.

In short, the nation's young leader has grown desperate for successes to continue his campaign to put a positive spin on the country's direction and quell unrest.

And he got one on Wednesday.  

After a delay due to unspecified launch issues, South Korean and Japanese officials detected a rocket launch just before 10 a.m., which flew out over the Pacific.  Later this morning came word from The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) who said that the missile "deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit."

NK rocket laucn
The launch was North Korea's first successful trip into orbit. [Image Source: Reuters]

North Korean state television station KCNA took to the air in a festive announcement, with its announcer garbed in colorful traditional garb and with propogandist tunes piping in the background.  The announcer said, according to Reuters, "The satellite has entered the planned orbit.  Chosun (Korea) does what it says."

"At a time when great yearnings and reverence for Kim Jong-il pervade the whole country, its scientists and technicians brilliantly carried out his behests to launch a scientific and technological satellite in 2012, the year marking the 100th birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sun."

The confirmation from NORAD (a joint defense effort of the U.S. and Canada) is the first time the U.S. has confirm North Korea's bold claims of successful test launches.  North Korea has seen a string of prior launches end in fiery failures.  For example, during an April launch while North Korea boasted of great success, NORAD and Asian ally states believe that missile crashed only 2 minutes after launch.

II. White House Condemns Launch

The launch brought condemnation from the U.S. and many of its allies.  U.S. officials called it "highly provocative" and suggested the launch inched the hostile nation closer to intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities, which could allow the nation to strike targets in the mainland U.S.  

The White House in its statement comments, "The international community must work in a concerted fashion to send North Korea a clear message that its violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions have consequences."

Japan has already filed a complaint with the U.N. requesting a special U.N. Security Council meeting.  However, the possibility of furth sanctions against North Korea is unlikely, as China -- a key ally of North Korea -- is expected to block any such move.

North Korea defended the launch, saying it merely launched a weather satellite into orbit, and calling the effort a "peaceful project".  KCNA comments, "The attempt to see our satellite launch as a long-range missile launch for military purposes comes from hostile perception that tries to designate us a cause for security tension."

III. Missile Defense Systems Could Block North Korean Nukes

Currently, North Korea is estimated to have enough plutonium to potentially build half a dozen nuclear bombs.  However, technologically it is estimated to be at least several years away from being able to create a functional warhead, which it has expressed a desire to do.

But the nation has received a boost from Middle Eastern ally Iran -- another member of the "Axis of Evil" and persistent thorn in America's side.  U.S. intelligence tracked missile shipments travelling from Iran to North Korea over the last year; it is believed that much of the missile was constructed in the increasingly high-tech Middle Eastern nation.

Iran has denied helping North Korea, but according to intelligence officials Iranian observers were spotted on the ground in the Asian nation, taking notes on the launch.

The Middle Eastern nation has been regularly in the news, after it was also accused of funneling rockets to Islamist militants in the recent conflict between Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and Israel.  In that conflict the Israel Defense Forces are estimated to have shot down between 80 and 90 percent of dangerous hostile rockets using their high-tech "Iron Dome" missile interceptor system.

Japan and South Korea have similar missile interceptors systems -- Patriot-missile based systems co-developed with the U.S. and partially deployed -- to ward off potential threats from China or, particularly, North Korea.  However, they declined to fire test those systems on the North Korean missile, after China issued a warning advising against counter-measures.

Patriot interceptor
A member of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces is seen running to PATRIOT Interceptor Missile battery on Wednesday.  Japan and U.S. declined to intercept the North Korean rocket after being warned by China. [Image Source: Reuters]

Nonetheless, in months to come expect the U.S. and its allies to focus on establishing a strong countermeasures perimeter capable of shooting down North Korean nuclear warheads, should it try to launch them in future conflcts.

Sources: Reuters, The White House



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RE: Priorities
By Pirks on 12/12/2012 2:57:32 PM , Rating: -1
Why not? Japan and Germany were allies in WWII, why can't NK and Iran be the same? Very similar situation - two crazy dictatorships join forces to take on free world. WWII scenario is not likely to repeat of course but similarities are striking.

And don't forget that Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were very close allies too, almost like brothers, sharing intelligence and knowledge on how to suppress internal opposition and improve secret police service (meetings between GESTAPO and NKVD are well known fact now BTW), from the time Hitler took power up until June 22nd 1941 when he attacked Soviet Union. These guys join up like never before, NK and Iran are very close friends I'm sure. Just like Germany and Soviet Union or Germany and Japan. Very different countries but very similar crazy and blood soaked dictatorships.

I see you graduated from a typical American public high school, judging by your knowledge of history. Well, that figures.


RE: Priorities
By Jereb on 12/12/2012 3:30:23 PM , Rating: 5
And don't forget that the Americans were selling arms to the Germans prior to entering the WWII.


RE: Priorities
By Pirks on 12/12/12, Rating: -1
RE: Priorities
By Jereb on 12/12/2012 4:44:42 PM , Rating: 3
*sigh*

America sold weapons, components, fuel and expertise to both sides of the war right up to 1941.

Might not find any "american made" tanks and rifles in germany, but you might find some components stamped "Good 'Ol USA".


RE: Priorities
By Amedean on 12/12/2012 9:05:47 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
*sigh* America sold weapons, components, fuel and expertise to both sides of the war right up to 1941. Might not find any "american made" tanks and rifles in germany, but you might find some components stamped "Good 'Ol USA".


America.....or a merchant? I understand people like to stretch or misrepresent history, create entertaining ironies and there is always a crowd of susceptible "intellects" to consume these campfire tall tales.

Nice of you by the way avoiding credible references. If you are going patronize history at least look like you know what you are talking about!


RE: Priorities
By Jereb on 12/13/2012 12:41:41 AM , Rating: 2
Well i'm digging my info out of "Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler".
http://www.thehiddenevil.com/nazis.asp 'Not a great website but it does list it's sources and no I haven't read all of the sources'

But you're right you could more accurately say it was several powerful merchants/families and not the US government.

But going back to why I even commented, can we determine the same about Iran and North Korea?


RE: Priorities
By Wulf145 on 12/14/2012 7:43:18 AM , Rating: 2
As far as I am aware the only US made weapons the German Armed Forces used were weapons which were captured in large quantities from European countries which they defeated.

Could you site an example of a US Weapon which the German Armed Forces used which was not captured?

I could not find any in my Books on Equipment used by the Germans which were not captured.

Thanks


RE: Priorities
By ClownPuncher on 12/12/2012 3:40:05 PM , Rating: 2
Because this situation has zero to do with WWII, of which I've studied in depth. I appreciate your zeal for history, but it has nothing to do with the topic at hand.


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