Friday, February 6, 2009

North Korea is being a little scary lately....

If you're like me, and you have a Korean national newspaper (albeit in English) as your homepage, you may or may not be convinced that North Korea could strike at any moment. Tensions are high between the North and South at the moment. Lee Myung Bak (S. Korean president) has taken a hard line approach to dealing with the DPRK. He actually expects to North Korea to show signs of denuclearization before they give them the millions of dollars worth of food and economic aid. The North, sort of like a spoiled child, has revolted and taken a F- you stance towards the South... and basically most of the other countries of the 6 party talks that had been going so well til this past summer. So much for their Juche philosophy of self-reliance. Any self respecting country... in my opinion, would just import the food it needs, but... they don't believe in trade. Just hand outs. From the country that they would blow to pieces in a second if they had the chance. Some might argue that they are too poor to buy food for their country... but exactly who's fault is that? Are we suffering from famine and poverty 30 miles away?

Now, this week, satellite data shows that they are preparing a new test launch of their long range ballistic missiles capable of caring nuclear war heads. These missiles take months to set up, and honestly don't pose much of a threat. There's no surprise attack from these missiles. The last time they test fired these missiles in 2006, they lost control of them within seconds of launch, and it broke apart in the air.

Those that follow my blogs know that I have a slight obsession with North Korea. I don't know why.. .maybe it's because they are the closest I've ever known to the threat of war. I mean, let's face it... they are only 30 miles away from where I live. It only takes 1/2 hour to get to the border... Or maybe its the fact that it's one of the only countries in the world where there is essentially no globalism. A country almost completely unaffected by the rest of the world. Maybe it's because, even though it's so close, it's almost impossible for me to go there. Who knows.

But, let's remember to be rational. Let's face it. The North and South have been at odds with each other for the last 50 years. I'm sure there's been worse threats than this before, but no one has come out and attacked... .well, at least not on land... in years.

Here is an article published by Reuters addressing their upcoming missile test launch.

Q+A-Why would North Korea test fire a long-range missile?

Thu Feb 5, 2009 3:00am EST
By Jon Herskovitz

SEOUL, Feb 5 (Reuters) - North Korea may be preparing to test fire its longest range ballistic missile, possibly toward Japan, media reports have said.

Here are questions and answers as to why North Korea might test launch its Taepodong-2 missile:


If the launch is successful, North Korea will have a missile with a maximum estimated range of 6,700 km (4,200 miles), designed to carry a nuclear warhead that can hit U.S. territory but not the continental 48 states. This would for the first time pose a direct security threat by the North to the United States.

The North, which already has hundreds of rudimentary missiles, would be able to test its multi-stage rocket systems and increase its ability to produce long-range missiles.


The only time North Korea has fired the missile was in 2006 when it managed just a few seconds of controlled flight and broke apart in less than a minute.

It has a crude multi-stage design and poor guidance system and takes weeks to prepare for launch. U.S. spy satellites can easily monitor the preparations and it should be relatively easy to destroy long before launch.

Experts have said North Korea does not yet have the technology to miniaturise a nuclear device to use as a warhead. But the North has been working on placing biological and chemical weapons on missiles.


Another failed launch would be a major embarrassment for Pyongyang which has little beyond its military threat to win concessions from the outside world. That, and the high cost for the impoverished state, may make it reluctant to risk a second launch.

Its leaders may be happy to simply imply a threat by moving around missile-related equipment, knowing it will be seen by U.S. intelligence and raise alarm with the new U.S. government.

On the other hand, the international community has few options left to punish the North for a launch. North Korea is already subject to U.N. sanctions stemming from its 2006 ballistic missile test in July and nuclear test a few months after that. The United States has already called for a suspension of aid promised under a six-way nuclear deal while Japan and South Korea have blocked channels that sent cash and food to the impoverished state.


North Korea will likely claim that a launch of the Taepodong-2 is for its civilian space and satellite programme and argue that under international law, it has the right to peacefully explore space. It will argue that its rival Japan already has a rocket programme and its neighbour South Korea is developing one.

A successful launch would be portrayed as a mighty symbol of leader Kim Jong-il's ideas and shore up his leadership after a suspected stroke in August raised questions about his grip on power.

The North would also tell its people that it has launched a rocket to carry a satellite ahead of its rich Southern neighbour while signalling to new U.S. President Barack Obama that Pyongyang should not be ignored.


The North may time a launch to coincide with a meeting on March 8 of its Supreme People's Assembly. Its state media has been heralding the event and the role leader Kim will play.

It would be difficult for the North to launch one by the time of Kim's 67th birthday in Feb. 16. Another possible date is April 25, the anniversary of its Korea People's Army. (Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)

Here is an article from the Korea Times addressing the DPRK's latest military stance.

01-17-2009 21:22
N. Korea Military Threatens to Wipe Out South

North Korea's army Saturday threatened to take an "all-out confrontational posture" against the South and wipe out the conservative government in Seoul for refusing to cooperate with them, according to Reuters.

"Now that traitor Lee Myung-bak and his group opted for confrontation, denying national reconciliation and cooperation, backed by foreign forces, our revolutionary armed forces are compelled to take an all-out confrontational posture to shatter them," the North's army spokesman was quoted as saying.

The spokesman said Lee and his "puppet military warhawks" have driven "our revolutionary armed forces to take a strong military retaliatory step to wipe them out," in comments carried by the official KCNA news agency.

Ties across the heavily-armed border between the two Koreas have turned sour since President Lee took to office last February on a promise to get tough on his communist neighbor after 10 years of liberal leaders' efforts to engage Pyongyang.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff immediately issued an order to its entire military to intensify its guard against North Korea, Yonhap News reported.

A North Korean soldier shot dead a South Korean woman in a tourist enclave run by a Hyundai conglomerate affiliate in July and North Korea all but froze border crossings since December, blaming Lee for dragging Korean relations to a dangerous low.

The North has also been angered by a cut in aid that poured in from the wealthy South. It has threatened to reduce its neighbor to ashes, but there has not been a major military clash since naval skirmishes killed dozens of sailors on both sides in 2002.

The army spokesman, appearing in full uniform on North Korea's state television, said provocations by the South's military including naval intrusions have cross the "danger line" and it could "no longer remain an onlooker to them," according to Reuters.


  1. that's scary, you should come home now! got your postcard today!!! i miss you too, when you get back we have to have some quality catching up time.

  2. I know... I'm gonna have to make a trip up to Newport... or you're gona have to make a trip down to boston when I come home!!!