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2009-04-05
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North Korea Launches Missile

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As discussed previously, North Korea launched their missile just shy of noon (Korean local time) on Sunday. The Taepodong 2 missile (called Kwangmyongsong-2 within the DPRK) represents more than fifteen years of development effort by the DPRK, with each launch test dubiously declared to be an exercise in launching a satellite. Initially, the device was capable of carrying a light payload for a short distance of 4000km but a defector's report indicates the development team was given direct guidance that in order for North Korea to have no fear, the missile's range was to pushed out so the "American bastards" won't bother us anymore. During the test, the missile flew over Japan and dropped booster stages into the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean without interdiction from Japan or the US. Despite a declaration of success by the North Koreans, it has not yet been confirmed or denied that a satellite is in orbit. For the record, the North Koreans also declared a satellite launch in 1998 (to transmit revolutionary melodies) to be a success, too, though no satellite ever reached orbit.

RAND consultants indicated, "Kim Jong-il has been in big trouble internally. He's appeared weak. This is a big success for him. He needs some way to demonstrate to the elites that he's in charge and still a powerful and capable leader." President Obama responded to the launch with condemnation of North Korea, advising them to "refrain from further provocative actions" along with the usual rhetoric urging Japan and South Korea to consult with the UN Security Council. Welcome to the world where nations don't respond to diplomacy Mr. President.



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