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

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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. www.agi.com)

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

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. www.agi.com)

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

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. (www.agi.com), where detailed analysis and visualization of the N. Korean launch.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
marcellus
Guest
marcellus
April 4, 2009 12:40 AM

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.

Jon Hanford
Member
Jon Hanford
April 3, 2009 7:28 PM

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

Daniel J
Member
Daniel J
April 3, 2009 7:33 PM

Scary times we live in.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
April 3, 2009 7:51 PM

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.

Maxwell
Guest
Maxwell
April 3, 2009 8:06 PM

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.

pantzov
Guest
pantzov
April 3, 2009 8:44 PM

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. sad

Wowbagger
Guest
Wowbagger
April 3, 2009 8:46 PM

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.

Frank Glover
Guest
Frank Glover
April 3, 2009 9:35 PM

“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…

BAUTian clueless
Guest
BAUTian clueless
April 3, 2009 11:23 PM

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!

ruf
Guest
ruf
April 3, 2009 11:36 PM

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.

Surak
Member
Surak
April 3, 2009 11:41 PM

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.

ruf
Guest
ruf
April 3, 2009 11:56 PM

“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.

Surak
Member
Surak
April 4, 2009 12:30 AM
@ruf 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… Read more »
marcellus
Guest
marcellus
April 4, 2009 9:14 AM

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

S.Korea
Guest
S.Korea
April 4, 2009 2:30 AM

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

Feenixx
Member
April 4, 2009 2:40 AM

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.
wink
Imo, nobody can handle WMDs… and they don’t come in “friendly” and “hostile” varieties.

dave
Guest
dave
April 4, 2009 2:40 AM

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.

InvaderXan
Member
April 4, 2009 10:34 AM

*sigh*

Maxwell
Guest
Maxwell
April 4, 2009 3:52 AM

I think nobody should be allowed them, fullstop.

Karjalainen
Guest
Karjalainen
April 4, 2009 4:09 AM
“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… Read more »
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