The possible path of the N. Korean launch, passing over Japan. First stage will drop into the Sea of Japan (AGI)

North Korea Threatens War if Rocket is Shot Down

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015


Some time between April 4th-8th, North Korea will launch a communications satellite into orbit. Unsurprisingly there is huge scepticism being voiced by Japan, South Korea and the United States that the secretive military nation is in fact carrying out a test-launch of the Taepodong-2 ballistic missile system, mounting a “peaceful” satellite to disguise its real intention. If the world’s suspicions are correct, if successful, North Korea will have a means to deliver a possible nuclear strike as far as Hawaii or Alaska. Now the North Korean army has warned that if the launch is interfered with, they will attack “major targets” in Japan.

Oh dear, it sounds like it’s going to be a rough few days in the west Pacific

A visualization of fairing separation after N. Korean rocket clears the atmosphere (Video courtesy of Analytical Graphics, Inc.

A visualization of fairing separation after N. Korean rocket clears the atmosphere (Video still courtesy of Analytical Graphics, Inc.

North Korea’s neighbour, Japan, has warned that should the rocket start to fall toward the nation, they will attempt to intercept it using anti-missile Aegis destroyers at sea and Patriot guided-missile units on the land. This is what appears to have riled the North Koreans, prompting the Korean People’s Army (KPA) to issue a sabre-rattling statement saying, “If Japan recklessly ‘intercepts’ the DPRK’s (North’s) satellite for peaceful purposes, the KPA will mercilessly deal deadly blows not only at the already deployed intercepting means but at major targets.”

Unfortunately, North Korea has not proven itself to be a particularly “open” nation, so there is huge doubt that one of the nations in the “Axis of Evil” (a phrase coined by George W. Bush in his State of the Union Address on January 29, 2002) is simply deploying a peaceful satellite. N. Korea has long been developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, but any attempt by international inspectors to understand the scope of these claims have been unsuccessful. Also, previous rocket tests have provoked international outrage as they are seen as obvious attempts to intimidate neighbouring countries (principally Japan and South Korea) and demonstrated the nation is working on more sophisticated means to increase their military reach.

The satellite-carrying rocket will be directed to fly over Japan (Video courtesy of Analytical Graphics, Inc.

The satellite-carrying rocket will be directed to fly over Japan (Video still courtesy of Analytical Graphics, Inc.

Tensions are understandably high ahead of the launch, and some sources suggest that could be as early as Saturday (April 4th) as there are indications that fuelling activities are being carried out by Pyongyang. Spy satellite images appear to show there is indeed a satellite attached to the rocket, but the US and regional allies are under no illusions that such a launch would also test ballistic missile technology, violating the UN resolution passed in 2006 in response to the underground nuclear test and repeated missile launches. North Korea can expect severe treatment by the international community should this launch go ahead.

The US and regional allies will push for more sanctions will be put into place, further damaging international relations with North Korea. However, having signed an international space exploration treaty, North Korea appears to be hoping China and Russia will block any sanctions after launch, even though the launch directly violates the UN resolution. Russia has even urged North Korea’s neighbours not to take military action against the rocket launch.

Like most actions threatened by Pyongyang, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens, but this is certainly a volatile situation…

Source: Space War

Images courtesy of of Analytical Graphics, Inc. (, where detailed analysis and visualization of the N. Korean launch.

65 Responses

  1. marcellus says:

    From Ken’s post, he probably gets all his current events from CNBC and the New York Times. I bet he gets behind Barney Frank on a regular basis.

  2. Jon Hanford says:

    I wonder what starving North Korean civilians think about this NK ‘launch’ of a “satellite” & how it might help their future stake?

  3. Daniel J says:

    Scary times we live in.

  4. Ryan says:

    Why does none of the coverage mention that the technology required to launch a satellite is more complex and difficult to master than the technology behind launching ICBMs? If they can launch a communications satellite then they can probably do the other as well.

  5. Maxwell says:

    And thats the big two letter word Ryan…IF.
    The one thing ICBM’s and launching a satellite have in common is….a rocket. Which is exactly what this launch is about….testing the rocket. And using the Taepodong-2 as an ICBM is exactly what NK is wanting to do…launching a satellite is of minor concern to them.

  6. pantzov says:

    it’s just one more step towards a world in which *many* nations will have access to nuclear weapons and long range missles.

    better get used to it. 🙁

  7. Wowbagger says:

    Is there a country funnier than North Korea? It’s like an hyperbole of a villain nation. Pure comedy.

    It’s sad that people suffer from it tho.

  8. Frank Glover says:

    “I wonder what starving North Korean civilians think about this NK ‘launch’ of a “satellite” & how it might help their future stake?”

    I doubt it matters.

    At any rate, you may safely assume we’ll use that launch as a full-scale exercise in *tracking* the rocket with missile-intercept radars and learning everything we can about the radar, infrared and any other signature of a Taepodong-2, so we’ll know exactly what to expect, if they should ever actually make strategic use of one…

  9. BAUTian clueless says:

    I wonder what starving and homeless citizens of U.S.A. think about
    endless “war on terror” with thousand of billions of dollars wasted in
    Iraq, Afghanistan, endless huge donations to Israel?

    Do you, North Americans, really believe it is only YOU who have the
    right to launch satellites into orbit, only YOU have the right to
    build nuclear power plants?!

    Moronism “made in America” is truly amazing thing!

  10. ruf says:

    This is exactly why so may people were in a panic when Sputnik was launched in the 50’s. Unfortunately, history seems to be lost on the present generation. Anything that happened more than 20 ears ago seems to be not worth knowing.

    I would rather we deal with No.Ko. now, instead of waiting until the job becomes much more difficult. Hope they have the guts to bring it on.

    Lastly, no-one in America starves unless they want to.

  11. Ken says:

    North Korea barely made a puff of smoke with their puny 1/4 kiloton test blast. The idea that they could nuke someone is quite laughable.

    Let them test it. If it has a dangerous trajectory, even if by accident, all the better … if it is just a satellite, the ensuing war would be far more legitimate than the war in Iraq.

    … and the problem of North Korea would vanish in a much bigger puff of smoke.

    I’m glad that at least someone sees the irony of the biggest owner of WMD’s in the world telling other countries that they can’t have their own.

  12. ruf says:

    “I’m glad that at least someone sees the irony of the biggest owner of WMD’s in the world telling other countries that they can’t have their own.”

    This is not irony. Not everyone in the world is responsible enough to have kids — Not everyone in the world is responsible enough to own firearms, and not every country in the world is responsible enough to own WMDs.

  13. Ken says:


    You think america is resonsible enough to handle all that? Despite the endless proof against it we see every day? Now THERE’s irony.

    Was it responsible for America to use lies about a plot to buy yellowcake uranium, a plot that had been entirely foiled 8 years before, as justification for invading Iraq?

    Was it responsible for the american government expose one of their own spies, jeopardizing her life in order to punish her husband for exposing the yellowcake fraud?

    Is it responsible for americans to kill 10x more of their own people per capita with firearms each year than Canadians do? Canadians own more guns per capita, what’s your problem?

    america wasn’t even responsible enough to have the most basic of financial regulations in place- not giving mortgages to people who can’t afford them.

    You blindly let your banks severely damage the global economy for quick unsustainable profits, destroying the savings of millions of people … but you think you’re responsible enough to handle WMD’s????

    Are you even aware of current events or do you get all your news from Rush Limbaugh?

  14. marcellus says:

    I’ll bet an ice cold Schmidt that it blows up on the pad.

  15. S.Korea says:

    Ken,would ‘puny’ 1/4 kiloton weapon be puny if it lands in your neighborhood!!!??? You sound like a very sore sorry man!!!!!

  16. Feenixx says:

    Every once in a while I wish I was an omnipotent deity. This is one of those moments. My actions wouldn’t need to conform to any physics or logic.
    Just like power politicians and military heads, Gods need to show off. An omnipotent deity could create a stone which is too heavy for him to lift, and then he would lift it…. But I’d do something better than that: I’d make it so that nuclear fission beyond a certain energy output simply doesn’t work.
    Imo, nobody can handle WMDs… and they don’t come in “friendly” and “hostile” varieties.

  17. dave says:

    ruf represents everything that is terrifying about the US, you think no one in your country starves unless they choose it? Be real. And you think the US is “responsible” with nukes, you’re the only people in history who ever dropped one on an enemy, that is reason enough to say the US should not be allowed to have any.

  18. Invader Xan says:


  19. Maxwell says:

    I think nobody should be allowed them, fullstop.

  20. Karjalainen says:

    “Do you, North Americans, really believe it is only YOU who have the
    right to launch satellites into orbit, only YOU have the right to
    build nuclear power plants?!”

    What do you mean only americans can launch satellites? I thought Japan,Russia,China,ESA and NASA launches them.

    Not only Americans, tens of countries does have them.

    I mean seriously have you been living cold war times?
    Everyone has rights to launch satellite, but I would deny N-K to launch any kind of satellites, they just want to test patience of West hoping that they have China and Russia backing them up…

    I’ve been reading all about this N-K launch and yes I believe it’s not satellite launch, they just want to show what they’re capable of. It’s their choice to get into more trouble with West, if they want war they probably get it pretty easily. More sanctions are needed for that tiny communist country, to learn how to behave in the modern world.

    -An guy from Russia neighboring Finland-

  21. Max says:

    North Korea’s antics are childish.
    The problem is the US cant put pressure on them and no who can seems to care for doing so.

    All this is really good for right now is the US arguing to expand development on its missile defense systems in response… which, in a roundabout way, could work nicely.

    If Russia and China don’t want to see us enhance and extend our missile defense systems, they should do what they can to reign in the little dictator who is our primary excuse for doing so.

  22. Jon Hanford says:

    @Dragster, I could only hope that A.Q. Kahn supplied blueprints for an atomic bomb. If it’s similar to the one supplied to Libya (who have since turned them over to IAEA folks), it appears to be based on China’s first bomb (detonated in 1964) and is about the size of a small truck & weighs many, many tons. It would need a Saturn V to deliver this to US soil. And while NKs first and only test was a low yield (under 10 kT), it is probably too heavy to even make it to Japan on its current rocket. Miniaturization of a warhead is even more complex than building a device in the first place (ask the Chinese). And the rocket itself doesn’t have a stellar record when it comes to being flightworthy, much less able to deliver any payload. But these are North Korean tests, and they appear willing to keep trying to improve their weapons and rockets for their own use or to sell to the highest bidder. I’ve also read that a small contingent of engineers from Iran will be on hand (I wonder why?). @ Frank Glover: I doubt they know.

  23. R2K says:

    Keep isolating them, that will help…

  24. Yan Luz says:

    I don’t believe for a moment that North Korea really would declared war on Japan if their missile was shot down. What does N.K. have to bring to the table?

    Old T-55’s and outdated MIG’s? A navy that can’t even reach the other coast? Kim Jong Ill is a joke.

  25. Max says:

    Don’t forget that across the barbed wire from their Northern mud hole is some of the most valuable real estate in Asia today.
    North Korean artillery (missiles and cannon, such as they are) can be in a position to cause several billion dollars worth of damage to south Korea before we can formulate a decent response.
    That the north would be trounced in the aftermath is not as big a problem to the US as preventing the loss of life and property from another war.

    I think that N.Korea is caught between wanting to appear powerful and dreading the shoot down their missile as proof of the western nations advanced abilities with missile defense.
    It would totally upstage their show… and in their mind that’s worth destroying a city or two.

    Of course no one can be trusted with the lethal combination of WMD and long range missiles… but some are far less trustworthy than others.

  26. Stephanie says:

    Reading stuff like this is exactly why I don’t watch the news. It’s always about war, death, and our possible global destruction through nuclear weapons. -_-
    Can’t we all love each other and wait patiently for our demise by the 2029/2035 asteroid? =)

  27. Layman says:

    The US does not need nukes nor does anyone else- as we all know they are a ticking time bomb.
    A North Korea with Nukes on the top of a ICBM- this would even be worse.
    I think that this missile will be shot down, perhaps by the Japanese. They will say that it was off course and headed toward Tokyo.
    Nukes are to protect ones self from others- does anyone out there really wish to take over North Korea? Not the Americans.

    And I agree- I would rather go to the celestial realm knowing that it was a comet that took me out.

  28. Jack says:

    Please note: This was just on the News and it was a Hoax. Sorry. The News said it was a Hoax. It’s a Hoax… Don’t worry!

  29. Jack says:

    It’s a Hoax. Dont worry.

  30. Paco says:

    Every sovereign nation has a right to a satellite launch capability.

  31. Thomas says:

    There seems to be a lot of confusion here about the satellite collision.

    There are computers that search for that sort of thing, but this collision was not detected because the odds of the two impacting were calculated to be too low.

    Given enough 1-in-100,000-chance-of-impact scenarios, one of them will turn up with an impact. Even if 1 in 100,000 is too low for concern.

  32. RK says:

    Hmm…I don’t see any problem with NK launching a missle. If: They were more transparent with their issues. If: They would stop all their sabre rattling. If: That Kim ILL wasn’t such a fool. I could care less what kind of government they had, if they did a better job at taking care of all their people, not just their armies. I think that America or any country that has the ‘bomb’ and or the capability to launch it should be responsible for that burden. Those of you that quickly point a finger at America, remember 3 are pointing back at you. Blame belongs to everyone. NK is a relic of the cold war..and those who comfort NK discontent should be aware that 3 players are deeply responsible for the way NK is…Russia…China…and
    America. And today new players are on the field, and many say America is wrong..because they know their way isn’t right either. NK is a threat to that region, Japan and South Korea know it…and even China..[they have been kind of quite about it]. NK is just a very bad actor..plain and simple. And yet no one is willing to stand up against it, or willing to say anything bad about NK. I see a very bad thing about to happen in the future…America was the first to use the ‘bomb’ to end a war. But I think America will not be the first to use the ‘bomb’ to start a war. This I see happening by one of these ‘bad actors’. And the world will turn a blind eye before this event…as they did before World War Two.

  33. Paco says:

    Interesting points…however I would take issue with the sourcing of your statistical finger data. Don’t forget that the UN sanctioned mission under resolution 84 was comprised of many nations, from Canadians, Aussies, and Kiwis, to Ethiopians, Greeks, and Turks to name a few. As well, let’s keep some accurate perspective here. There has been enough ridiculous propaganda providing the foundation for silly scenarios and drum beating. You are correct in identifying responsibility broadly. Isn’t it time to move on from War on Terror fallacies concerning fighting rogue states and insane dictators. Kim Jung-il has done quite the favour for US anti missile technology. Peace out.

  34. Max says:

    “Every sovereign nation has a right to a satellite launch capability.”

    In light of the growing orbital debris problem and the threat it poses to mankinds future in space… I don’t think so.

    A nation intent on launching a satellite should be able to track it, should be able to avoid hitting existing satellites, and should have built in countermeasures against it becoming a new source of high speed space junk.
    To that end they should at least disclose the general nature of the vehicle and its mission plan (number of orbits, activities, means for decommissioning, etc…).

    North Korea has not proven they are capable of doing any of that, and I don’t think their right to threaten Japan by putting a shot across its bow trumps everyone elses right to use space for science and commerce.

  35. Jack says:

    Accept the Fact that this was a Media Hoax. It’s a massive hoax. It even said on the News it was a Hoax.

  36. messager says:

    I worked in Seoul,S.Korea for 2 years 15years ago. I find out from many the people they are scared of N.Korea, not from the surface but from the elaborate tunnel systems they created under the DMZ and into S,K. The N.K. solders have dugged tunnels by hand for many years, and made many large caverns for soldiers then move on. Each cavern holds 500 soldiers and supplies and there are about 1000 or more of these quite comfortable caverns. The soldiers dig more south and create more caverns then move the solders more south. The geology and N.K. knowledge of the abiliity to dig and be silent and to escape detection by current technology to find these thousands of tunnels makes S.K. very nervous. A low estimate has 200,000 living in tunnels under the DMZ and into S.K. The N.K. soldiers are very loyal and they and their families are the only ones well fed. The soldiers practice day after day in tunnels in N.K. to have as many soldiers move as fast as possible out of the tunnels after the pre-planned exit points are punched out by equipment already in place in over 1000 places under SK. This tunneling military project has been going on for decades and the underground caverns have moved further south under S.K.about 1KM every 5 years , so N.K is very patient. Whenever the time comes when the N.K. soldiers are ordered to break throuogh and do their pre-planned missions to destroy and disrupt communications and logistics of S.K. soldiers, I don’t know what any outside forces are capable of doing about this before N.K soldiers destroys S.K. infrastructure as I believe S.K soldiers may not be able to stop N.K. invasion from frontal and from under.

  37. Paco says:

    Well said. Bring them to table. However, they would not be the first nation to conceal mission data and have problematic variables in re-entry trajectories for spent equipment. In terms of perceived threats, that has more to do with the nature of strategic geopolitics. DPRK has a history of using these events for bargaining leverage as well as technological advancement. A tactic used by many nations. All things being equal.

  38. Paco says:

    My response to Max continues. The right to launch is simply that. Ceteris paribus.

  39. ruf says:

    dave Says:
    “you’re the only people in history who ever dropped one [A NUKE] on an enemy, that is reason enough to say the US should not be allowed to have any”

    Point of fact: Nukes (ie nuclear weapons) have never been used by anybody, and have never been dropped on anbody.

    Could NOKO or Iran be trused to have nukes for 60 years without using them? I think not…

  40. Max says:

    They wouldn’t be the first to have a military satellite flying under peaceful colors. That being what it is, the dangers of spaceflight are still a problem to contend with, and all nations try to do the best they can (even on secret launches).

    Other nations choose their launch locations and orbital trajectories to avoid crossing over populated areas.
    Other nations properly announce their launches to reduce tensions with their neighbors.
    Other nations don’t threaten total war in the event they lose an experimental launch payload.

    Even in the US, manned craft are subject to self destruction or interception if they pose a threat to anyone on the ground. The same holds true for Russia and the EU. We all know these are dangerous machines and treat them with the according respect.

    How does North Korea deserve rights and respect above everyone else?
    Just because they are waving a nuke around?

  41. Jon Hanford says:

    Just maybe an accidentally fired Hellfire missile from a rogue Predator just happens to meet up with Taepodong-2 while it’s fueling on the pad. Oops, back to the six party talks to quell the situation. Problem solved.

  42. messager says:

    Most like results of WW2 if the US did not drop the 2 atomic bombs:
    Japan was far more powerful in their home islands than the Allied forces thought. Such information was not released due to the US wanting Japan to be on the West side during the Cold War and to keep hard feelings against Japan at the minimum. For many years, it was thought Japan was finished militariy, and dropping of the bombs was not necessary and cruel, but, this info was not released until after the Cold War was over. Japan still had plenty of fight left and the US still did not fight the heart of the Japanese armies and the Japanese had plenty of deadly surprises for the Allied forces.
    In August9,1945, the Soviet Union advanced south into Japanese occupied Manchuria (at the time, a province of China, now part of China again) and into Korea, the Japanese only had left their lowest grade forces there and sent their best divisions to defend their home Islands. The results of the Soviet steamroller against weak Japanese divisions will probably be the annex of Manchuria and Korea.
    The results of the invasions of Japan would have been at least 1 million American casualties, the destruction of over 2million Japanese soldiers and the deaths of more than 20million Japanese civilians. There was some talk found out later in the freedom of information act, should the US be taking too much casualties during the invasion of Japan, they would have invited the Soviet Union to send their troops in the fight against Japan in there home Islands. Many people did not realize it at the time, or don’t know about it today , Stalin was much into real estate, his blood for land. Stalin would have wanted some real-estate for his armies loses, so the Japanese Island of Hokkaido would probably have been annexed by the Soviet Union.
    Because the genie was out of the bottle for the atomic then hydrogen or Nuclear bombs, the effects on humans would not really been known. A critial situation occurred in Cuba Oct 1962- IMHO, nuclear weapons would have been used by the US and the Soviet Union because these were thought to be just ‘ super large explosives’. Over 100 million would have been killed, and only then, would the results on humans and the effects on the fallout would have been known.. Humans are curious, and would not have believed using a nuclear device would have been far more damaging than thought unless they had proof. Aug6 and Aug9,1945 was that proof,without that proof, there would have been a nuclear war in Oct 1962.
    The world would be a far different place today and some of you may not be alive to read this as it was found later on there was far more Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba than what was told to the public for many years. There was no doubt the Soviets would have used many of their short ranged nuclear tipped missiles to strike major cities in western Europe in Oct1962 in order to prevent western European countries from entering the Soviet Union in order to occupy it when the smoke clears.
    Because sane Nations knows the dangers of using nuclear weapons, will the not so sane feel the same way?!

  43. Ryan says:

    I do not buy the space debris argument. Nobody is doing a good job on that front; just look at the recent U.S./Russian satellite collision.

  44. Max says:

    If anything the accident was a perfect example of what happens when nations do not openly cooperate in space.
    Proof that ones supposed right to launch can quickly violate someone elses right to safe passage, resulting in an international tragedy that makes no one happy.

  45. Jeanell says:

    The lead paragraph regarding the North Korean missile launch sounds like the plot of a “24” episode. Who are the villains that Jack Bauer will have to torture to ascertain the true mission purpose, and how many blind alleys and misadventures will be encountered before the finale? Is life imitating art? No matter the outcome, this matter will no doubt inspire at least one scriptwriter.

  46. Paco says:

    More like the sequel to Team America: World Police.

  47. alan says:

    Once they launch enough rockets we’ll get use to it and go back to ignoring them. Nothing to see here move along people.

  48. pluto60 says:

    yes ,we can ignore them until they launch and land one 8800km westward, then we may have to say something and ask them to please stop……….

  49. Max says:

    Somehow I don’t think a stern letter of condemnation will keep a two ton canister of hydrazine from landing in some poor Japanese mans back yard.

  50. UKDave says:

    Well they launched it, but apparently (an despite claims from NK to the contrary), it failed to put the satellite into orbit, with the rocket + payload coming down into the Pacific.

    The thing is, that under developed countries with nuclear capability, and in particular North Korea (and in the future, Iran), have no intention of using them because they know it would mean their own destruction.

    What the nuclear weapons give them is a place on the ‘top table’ in world affairs. Other countries have to take them seriously. In the case of North Korea – it means sanctions dropped, and the promise to leave them be – look the other way while Kim Jong Ill and his son continue to brutalise an entire nation.

    The fact is – that nuclear capability has averted war since the end of the second world war. India and Pakistan have been forced to back off from war. The US and the Soviets would probably have gone to war in the 1960’s. The threat of mutual annihilation forces an uneasy standoff. This is what North Korea is aiming to achieve.

  51. bse5150 says:

    So the NORK rocket went off as planned.
    Was it for the purposes of launching a ‘peaceful’ sattelite? Ask anyone who has had the luck to escape that country whether the N. Koreans can be trusted.
    Maybe the Norks should unclench their fists!
    So much for B. Hussein and Hillary’s Smart, Tough Diplomacy!

  52. Jon Hanford says:

    Now I’m curious to find out how long it’ll take the US Navy to retrieve as much of the debris as possible for analysis? I’m sure their bringing in all their resources for some sort of search. What was the ‘payload’, after all?

  53. Dang-nabbit says:

    The axis of evil? wow… that was the dumbest thing I ever heard back in 2002. It just keeps on sounding more and more ridiculous. For everyone, please, talk about international politics that affect everyone, but leave out such stupid catch-phrases that were employed for the sole purpose of inspiring a people to unit against a common enemy based on moral points of views. If they really are evil, you will serve your purpose way better in showing why its true, rather than rallying people by quoting such mind-numbingly stupid names.

  54. Frank Glover says:

    “The thing is, that under developed countries with nuclear capability, and in particular North Korea (and in the future, Iran), have no intention of using them because they know it would mean their own destruction.”

    But they may gamble that the US (and the much more accessible South Korea and Japan [the latter already knowing what it is to be on the wrong end of these things]) will not risk even *one* such weapon possibly getting through, even though we can deliver a devastating response.

    And the beliefs of the Iranian leadership may be more inclined to accept such a response, compared to the very secular North Korea, to advance those radical beliefs. The US could survive the loss of one or two cities if it had to. Israel, to put it mildly…not so much.

  55. Ryan says:

    I don’t think it is so much about the policy of MAD being (or not being) applicable anymore. It is that states like North Korea may fail, but there nukes would still be around. Look at Pakistan, that country is barely making it right now and they have nukes. I think they’ll be alright but nobody, knows.

  56. curious visitor says:

    1200miles or 1940KM, I guess they will try again and again and again until they get it right to have orbiting satellite

  57. Astrofiend says:

    This is how NK works – commit a few provocative acts, piss the world off, agree to talks, come to the bargaining table and get paid for disbanding such programs. Then fire it up again in a year or two’s time and repeat cycle. Remember their supposed nuclear tests only a year or two ago? And the transgression before that? And the one before that? They get paid by the world not to act up – the equivalent of buying your kid a toy every time they cry. This sort of handout is the pretty much only thing stopping their entire population from starving to death. So what to do? Of course, you can’t just not give aid – that punishes the population, not the leader. On the other hand, more handouts doesn’t exactly discourage their petty politicking. I don’t have the answer, that’s for damn sure.

    Anyway – of course there is no satellite – I’d be surprised if it even carried a payload, and of course they didn’t have to fire this thing over Japan – but this is how they work. It’s classic little-man syndrome – on a national scale! Not surprising when the country is run with an iron fist by a little man…

  58. Jon Hanford says:

    @ Astrofiend: I was looking forward to your take on this issue. Your posts are on topic, intelligent, and well thought out. One small issue with your last post. You said: ‘Of course, you can’t just not give aid – that punishes the population, not the leader.’ From what I’ve seen and read, most of this food aid goes to the military and the government politicians to prop up the regime. The civilian population proceeds to die from famine and neglect by their own country’s policies. Of course I, like you, don’t have the answer. But this situation will only get worse if left to keep festering. Sanctions and-or aid won’t deter this regime.

  59. Chris says:

    Did anyone check the co-ordinates they provided in the initial “press release”. It was pretty specific, did any amateur astronomers actually check? I prefer real data rather than speculation.

    Secondly, any country has a right to launch satellites, even countries I don’t like! Why worry and stress about it? Wait until they do something wrong, then respond to that, launching (or trying to launch a satellite) isn’t hurting anyone.

  60. Astrofiend says:

    Thanks Jon! Yeah – that the regime takes most of the aid to feed itself wouldn’t surprise me at all. Very sad situation, particularly when you contrast the North with the South, which has gone from strength to strength…

  61. IMSA12 says:

    As others have posted here, Kim Jong Il and his regime specialize in making a lot of international noise, which prompt various negotiations, which prompt food and energy aid for North Korean citizens, which is stolen or resold by the government, which directs the aid to the army and military technology, which is utilized to create still more noise…

    This noise is problematic. Even if one of these rockets can only make it as far as downtown Tokyo, that’s far enough to touch off WW III (much more than anything Dub and his cohorts could gas up about Iraq, Iran, etc.). It wouldn’t take a functional atomic device; all that would be required is a dirty radioactive or biological bomb that would kill millions. No problem…right?

    North Korea is too much like that weird kid in school who nobody wanted to, or could, talk to (except a few others of his ilk). This weird kid has gotten himself a gun, and right now, he’s flashing it around to impress the other kids. He’ll be shooting, and killing, soon. He’s got nothing to lose.

  62. star grazer says:

    IMSA12 Says
    NK is very patient, this is what’s lacking in western countries. This weirdo country will do some sword rattlling, the western countries will start to make complaints and most likely give them more food to shutup. Then NK will just listen to what western nations are saying, and there again will be in-fighting with western nations what to do about NK then forget. NK will just wait, do somemore sword rattling, the western countries will do their usual complaints, then forget about NK. NK will do what it will do when and where they will do what they will do.
    Satillite intelligence, forget it, most of their
    soldiers do ‘manuvers’ underground, patiently digging more passageways, caverns, and thousands of pre-planned entry points inside of SK, underground.!!! The whole tunneling pattern moves south 1KM every 5 years, so NK is very patient. NK will do so rattle sabering some more then quiet again. NK will wait until the world is focused on a serious natural disaster like the Indonesian Tsunami or a meteor strike hitting a major city then invade from underground at thousands of exit points inside SK to disrupt the SK military logistics and destroy SK communications. I hope the SK military can hold NK because this ‘invasion’ will be such as the world has never seen before, mostlly from underground then from conventional frontal assault. This senario may not happen for 20 years,10 years or sooner, but, they will invade when the western countries tires of NK sword rattling and forgets about them to take care of a major natural disaster. Whatever NK show and tell missile launch with a dirty bomb will do will just make things more difficult for forces against NK. Unfortunately for the not-so patient western countries, there’s nothing we can legally do about it now.

  63. Profound says:

    In regards to Star Gazers account and prediction to militaristic actions by North Korea on South Korea, try this scenario on for size.

    North Korea will attack South Korea hard and fast, dumping and throwing everything they have at them. This will undoubtedly prompt attack from the United States, which will “blow the hell” out of North Korea. After three days of intense fighting on both sides, North Korea will surrender.

    Why you ask?

    What does the United States do every time, after every war, to any country we attack?


    In my honest opinion, North Korea will prompt then disengage after being mercilessly attacked. Then sit back and relax as the United States comes in and rebuilds their already appallingly impoverished country. Sure, after the reconstruction they will be under scrupulous watch by any and all countries involved, especially the United States.

    Small price to pay to be brought up from poverty.

  64. jamie says:

    Danngg im so freaked aabout nuclear weapons these days can’t live you know what??/ we should just throw 1billion missles to north korea and make im jung ill pissed off even if north korea throws a bomb to US they will probably throw it in california if they do their just dead

  65. Phil Browder says:

    I thought this was a site by ASTRONOMERS, for ASTRONOMERS?? I think this is supposed to be a forum to discuss astronomy, space, the joy of gazing into the heavens and wondering at the beauty of it all. There are sites for political discussions–how about we keep this site on topic?

    All the rhetoric and saber rattling I’ve read in the previous posts does nothing to promote the science, the profession and the hobby of astronomy, and certainly does not promote the worldwide “family” who want to put the news on the back burner for awhile.

    This site ( and the others like it) should be used by all to bridge our differences and come together in our mutual interest. Perhaps with more tolerance and attempts at understanding, there will be less need for the posturing and vitriol that seems to dominate the world stage.

    I realize there will be some who will accuse me of over simplifying or being naive–that is fine. I would just like to be able to read and learn about my hobby without the insults and ill will.

Comments are closed.