According to reports emanating from NASA the North Korean attempt to launch a satellite into orbit failed. If this is propaganda, one wonders what the North can do to counter it. If this isn’t propaganda, one wonders what the North can do to counter it. Materially, whether this effects any new assessments of the North’s ICBM capabilities remains, like Kim Jong-il’s maternity, a mystery.
KBS 1 is demonstrating its ballistic media capabilities with by far the best interactive map of the region, although the problem with scale in annotating such things renders the missile the length of Sweden, which is, as might be their wont, overstating the North’s threat. The presenter is appropriately semi-grave in his commentary and just occasionally befuddled enough to convey the sense that this is happening now and there’s an outside chance that everyone in the building might die. I have no link.
The rocket reached airspace over the Pacific.
The Japanese cabinet is holding / has held a briefing session.
South Korea says the launch is “reckless.”
Japan requests emergency UN security council meeting.
Happy people live longer.
Joseph Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund takes a bit of the gloss off the North’s achievement by pointing out:
- It took the US five years to miniaturize a nuclear warhead. No need to panic.
- They don’t have the heavier launch vehicle needed to go the real distance. In other words, they can’t get much off the ground.
- They don’t have re-entry capability.
But: they are in the export business and this is a sales demonstration. He says, “We need to get them back to the negociation table,” and I don’t paraphrase.
They’ve launched their own satellite into space. They successfully got a kick off the Earth’s rotation and put something hundreds of kilometers high above us all at 11:30 on Sunday, April 5th, 2009. A thinly disguised missile test simultaneously brings them into the family of peace loving nations with a presence in space -allbeit in low orbit. As was recently pointed out, Kim Jong-il knows that accepting American aid and opening a US embassy in Pyongyang in return for the sacrifice of nuclear development and threatening missiles renders them “a poor man’s Korea.” They need this.
and having missed the first opportunity to launch yesterday Kim Jong-il has launched. Japan announced it first. It “passed over their territory.” It looks like its first booster has dropped into the Sea of Japan/East Sea, meaning that the Japanese could recover it and check on the progress of the North’s rocket research and development progress. BBC following it live here…
At 12:16 today, elements of the Japanese media reported that the North Korean missile had been launched. Residents of the notionally effected prefectures later made their anger known when it was discovered to be a false alarm. Hearing that now makes me question whether the rumours of a second bust-up between Brad and Angelina are in fact true.