Monday, April 30, 2012

When will it ever end, NK?

It is highly likely that the UEW at Yongbyon is not the only uranium enrichment installation in North Korea. At least one other workshop would have been needed to serve as a test bed for pilot cascades of P-1 and P-2 centrifuges prior to the beginning of semi-industrial scale enrichment operations. Such an installation should have a few hundred centrifuges. While no uranium hexafluoride (UF6) fabrication plant has been located in the North, its existence has been traced as far back as 2000, when subsequent investigations revealed that North Korea had shipped UF6 to the Libyan enrichment program. Concerns over high enrichment were also prompted by the detection of HEU particles from aluminum samples handed over by the North Koreans to a US monitoring team in 2007 as part of the Six Party Talk agreement. As contamination could have resulted from either tainted imported centrifuge equipment or from indigenous enrichment, its source remains unknown.

In any event, work at the UEW site has never been monitored. A glimpse of the facility was revealed when North Korea invited a group of visitors from Stanford University (including Professor Siegfried Hecker, the former Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory) to a brief visit in 2010. If commissioning of the UEW has been successful, North Korea would have at present at least 3.5 tons of UF6, enriched to 3.5% U-235. This output is consistent with the annual needs of the 100 MWth LWR currently under construction. By 2013, there should be enough material, about four tons of uranium dioxide (UO2), for the first core of the 100 MWth LWR.

Such an enrichment plant could also be easily modified to produce HEU for nuclear explosives. If we look at possible future HEU production in North Korea, there are several permutations to consider from a technical standpoint depending on the availability of vital raw materials such maraging steel. The following are three possibilities with regard to operations at the UEW:

Utilize the current LEU cascades and install additional cascades to enrich LEU to weapons-grade HEU;
Modify the existing cascades to produce HEU;
Utilize the current LEU configuration at the workshop and construct additional cascades for LEU and HEU production.
The first, most straightforward option would be to install an additional 1000 centrifuges to convert the annual production of 1.8 tons of LEU at Yongbyon to 40 kilograms of HEU. This is an amount sufficient to generate the necessary fissile material for one to two additional nuclear bombs per year. Such a step-wise scheme was foreseen in Libya by enriching 3.5% enriched uranium first to 20%, then from 20% to 60%, and finally from 60% to 90% U-235. The actual conversion of 3.5% to 90% would take only a couple of months. This scenario would require the availability of additional raw materials and key equipment. Here we are faced with a few unknowns. For instance, we do not know the source and amount of maraging steel—a key raw material for manufacturing additional centrifuges—available to North Korea.

Second, the existing UEW could be reconfigured to produce HEU by recycling LEU. This would be a viable option if North Korea lacks the key materials to manufacture new centrifuges. However, this scenario would not be able to take full advantage of the installed centrifuges since the cascades for HEU production have a different layout, which forces the operator to leave a number of centrifuges unused. Consequently, the time needed to produce HEU would increase under this scenario.

Third, for the DPRK to fully optimize its HEU production following the A.Q. Khan scheme, it would install an additional 2000 centrifuges that could produce 3.5% enriched uranium with an extra 1900 centrifuges for HEU production. This option, using 5900 centrifuges, would turn all natural UF6 into HEU and produce up to 80 kilograms of HEU annually or an amount sufficient for four nuclear bombs.  However, there are no indications that the DPRK has required key raw materials to be able to manufacture thousands of additional centrifuges. Such a scenario would require, for instance, an additional 60 tons of maraging steel.

Next Steps by North Korea

The DPRK has invited the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor its moratorium on uranium enrichment, but it appears that arrangement will not go forward with the collapse of the February 29 agreement. If it does, IAEA inspectors will likely be limited by the DPRK to prior arrangements implemented in 2007, which would mean that the IAEA would verify that the UEW is shutdown, but it will neither be permitted to verify the inventory of LEU nor establish the historical production of enriched uranium. Under such circumstances, the IAEA would only have access to the UEW. Any other installations, including conversion and (potential undisclosed) enrichment facilities, would not be included. Access to those facilities would have to be negotiated within the Six Party Talks.

With the April 13 satellite launch, North Korea has stepped determinedly towards a confrontational course with its Six Party Talk partners, and the United Nations Security Council has issued a Presidential Statement condemning its actions. Under such circumstances, what are the nuclear-related options North Korea can exercise if it chooses to raise the stakes even further? Conduct another nuclear test? This is certainly possible, but one that would further deplete Pyongyang’s precious plutonium stocks. What about the alternative of a uranium bomb test? This assumes that the North Koreans have succeeded in producing HEU (in sufficient quantities as well) and have a bomb design. Yet another step is for North Korea to forge ahead with the production of HEU and demonstrate that capability to the international community short of a bomb test.

As governments, diplomats and experts assess how to deal with North Korea’s new leadership under Kim Jong Un, the message that everyone should remain mindful of is that the DPRK’s nuclear program has transitioned from solely relying on the production of plutonium to adding a new feature, the growing production of enriched uranium. Transitioning away from this ominous onward march through a slowdown, suspension and gradual turnaround will be the ultimate test of a true transition that will eventually integrate North Korea back to the international community.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea count down begins!!

For 3 months starting May, Korea's southern coastal city, Yeosu will host 'Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea,' with the theme of "The Living Ocean, and Coast." Therefore, I will introduce to you the major attractions of the romantic city of Yeosu.

 Goso-dong, "Angel Town"
At Goso-dong, located near Yeosu Coastal Park, Exists "Angel Alley," which has murals of Yeosu's history, culture, and legends. The murals attract tourists due to its beauty, and its function as an gigantic museum.

 Odong Island
Moreover, in spring, Yeosu's major island, 'Odong Island' turns in bright red, and in May, the island is full of blue camelia, and attracts many tourists year round.

This year's 'Yeosu Expo' has four sub-themes, "Sea, Land, Forest, and Wind," and will focus on Coastal Development and Preservation, New Resources Technology and Creative Maritime Activies.

For more information click on Yeosu Expo homepage


Thursday, April 26, 2012

The unsolved IHO decisions...

The IHO(International Hydrographic Organization) meeting held in 2007 discussed the "East Sea, Sea of Japan" dispute between Korea and Japan. The dispute was based on the publishing of an official map of the oceans, and whether to include both East Sea and the Sea of Japan notation or not. Despite a much heated debate, the meeting ending with no straightforward results. 
However it has been concluded that it is problematic to simply publish the map with the Sea of Japan notation.
It is important to understand the historical significance of the East Sea notation. 
Currently the Sea of Japan notation that is official in many foreign maps are based on the IHO map that was published in 1929. Korea was occupied by Japan during that time, and that is when Japan forcefully named East Sea as Sea of Japan. However, Korea is no longer occupied by Japan and it must be noted that the East Sea(or Chosun Sea) notation has been used as early as the 4th century up to the early 20th century.

2012 Goyang International Flower Olympiad

The ensemble of 20 billion flowers, '2012 Goyang International Flower Olympiad,' starts from the coming 26th to May 13th at the Goyang Lake Park.

Floriculture companies from 40 countries all over the world from Netherlands, U.S., Colombia, Japan will participate at the world's largest flower exposition, Goyang International Flower Olympiad. This year, companies from 11 countries including Cambodia, Egypt, Nepal, and Cameroon will partcipate at the expo and will provide visitors lots to see.
Apart from various flower expositions, there are other cultural events to add to the atmosphere of the festival.
Body flower shows, a fashion show using flowers, demonstrations of famous floriculturist, and K-Pop performances!
I'd have to say it wouldn't be a bad idea to spend an aromatic day with 20 billion flowers.

Tragedy concealed by flashy fireworks

The U.S. government urged North Korea to stop all provocations including nuclear testing, and focus on domestic policies.
The North Korea must show its will to follow its international responsibility by takin g care of its people and stopping autarky policies and reforming the country.
In fact, North Korea is currently going under serious food, and economic crisis, which is forcing its people, including the elite, normal, military personnels, to hunt for rats, snakes, frog eggs, and tadpoles. However, even under the current circumstances, the North Korean regime used money worth of a year of food for its people for fireworks in launching a missile test. On top of that, they are claiming that they would carry out nuclear test!!
In one newspaper, the North Korea may carry out the nuclear test as early as next week.
Kim Jong Un seems to be willing to cut the very few ties that North Korea had with the international society.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

N. Korea renews military threats against S. Korea

North Korea on Wednesday renewed its threat to stage a retaliatory sacred war against South Korean President Lee Myung-bak for insulting its new leader Kim Jong-un.
"Our military and people will cut off the windpipes" of those who provoke and destroy the origins of the provocation by staging a retaliatory sacred war, said Ri Yong-ho, a senior military officer, in a televised speech marking the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army.
The bespectacled chief of the General Staff called on the military to remain on maximum alert as he warned that the North will never tolerate any violation of its territory by South Korea or the United States.
North Korea frequently claims that the U.S. has a hostile policy toward Pyongyang and regularly holds military exercises with South Korea as rehearsals for a northward invasion.
South Korea and the U.S. say the routine joint military maneuvers are aimed at bolstering their readiness against a possible North Korean provocation.
South Korea has warned it is fully ready to retaliate against any North Korean provocation.
Lee has urged the young North Korean leader to give up the collective farm system and pay greater attention to human rights and defector issues.
Lee has also criticized the North for wasting about $850 million in the failed rocket launch, noting the impoverished country could have used the money to buy much-needed food for its 24 million people.
Kim apparently suffered an embarrassing setback when the North's long-range rocket exploded soon after lift-off on April 13 and the U.N. Security Council swiftly condemned the launch.
The North had claimed the launch was meant to put a satellite into orbit, but South Korea and the United States said it was a cover for testing the North's ballistic missile technology.
Separately, the KCNA praised Kim for turning the North's military into an elite army equipped with self-defensive nuclear deterrent, referring to the North's nuclear weapons programs.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

Pyongyang’s hysteria

Amid growing worries that North Korea may soon carry out a nuclear test or launch attacks on South Korea, the U.S. urged Pyongyang Tuesday to use its energy and resources instead to improve the livelihood of its people.
Media reports based on unidentified intelligence sources suggest that the North may have almost completed preparations for another underground nuclear experiment.
It has also threatened to carry out "special military actions" against the South.
The DPRK is the acronym for the communist nation's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
North Korean hysteria against the South has reached new heights with its military, government and party organizations competing to hurl the worst-ever verbal provocations, with threats of imminent “retaliatory attacks” on President Lee Myung-bak and other “anti-North” forces here. The harsher its words become, the calmer our response should be.
On Monday, a People’s Army outfit called the “Special Operations Action Group” made a “notice” to the South via the North’s official Central News Agency, warning of “a special action taking three to four minutes or even shorter time to annihilate the origin of hostilities toward us.” The target of this supposed blitz are Lee and, strangely enough, South Korea’s conservative media.
We are not keen about closely examining every word in this outburst, which sounded like an ultimatum at least for a limited war. Yet, we can conjecture what made them so angry after the pompous celebrations of the centenary of Kim Il-sung, which unfortunately included the botched launch of a long-range rocket. Lee had said, based on conservative media reports, that the North would have better used the $850 million believed spent for the presumed missile launch to buy 2.5 million tons of corn to feed its starving people.
Last week, the president made a series of candid advice to the North’s young new leader, Kim Jong-un, about making North Korean farmers self-supporting and improving the human rights situation in the North. In a Unification Ministry-sponsored seminar, he called on Kim to boldly reform the collective farms to introduce individually-responsible production system.
On a visit to the Agency for Defense Development, the president watched the video of locally-developed cruise and ballistic missiles with proven capability of precision strikes. Local media reported that these weapons can make a direct surgical attack on Kim Jong-un’s office in Pyongyang, quoting Lee as saying that the development of such arms was necessary to ensure survival against the most bellicose regime in the world.
These presidential remarks were unusually direct in pointing out the weakness of the North Korean system but Lee’s words were many times less provocative than the usual slander that North Korean official mouthpieces have thrown at the South Korean president over the past four years. Since the first inter-Korean summit in 2000, South Korean media have attached the official title of “Defense Commission chairman” to the name of Kim Jong-il and now the more general title “leader” to Kim Jong-un. The Northerners these days never fail to call Lee a “traitor” or “rat.”
The escalation of North Korean verbal attacks on the South has exhausted their vocabularies and they are now threatening us with a conundrum of an attack “using special means of our own method.” Military experts are searching the North’s arsenal to identify the type of possible strike on South Korean targets in order to be ready for any eventuality. Urban terrorism is not excluded.
Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and other military commanders have vowed an instant counterattack on the origin of North Korean military actions in the event the North launches an attack like the sinking of the Cheonan or the bombing of Yeonpyeongdo in 2010. We trust that the military has taken all necessary measures to counter Northern hostilities of any scale, although there is no overt sign that the defense condition has been upgraded yet.
North Koreans have in recent years failed to make good their warnings of punitive or retaliatory strikes when the allied South Korean and U.S. forces held field and naval exercises or civilians flew psychological operations balloons to the North, losing some credibility. But they did sink the patrol craft and destroy the civilian village on Yeonpyeongdo in unprovoked attacks.
The armed forces should be on full alert, considering the fluidity of power structure in the North where anything is possible. Commanders will compete with each other to prove their loyalty and the new leader could scheme a military adventure in an attempt to secure the allegiance of soldiers. One piece of advice to our president is that it is of no use to point out the North’s political and economic weaknesses, which could drive them to act unpredictably to save face.
We are approaching a dangerous precipice in South and North Korea relations. The North says that it is preparing for “special actions” to take place. There should always be a degree of skepticism, but in lieu of their failed rocket launch and Kim Jong-un’s rise to power, most likely there will be yet another provocative and aggressive action. 
Yet, another aggressive action is not so insignificant this time. Many South Koreans who live in Seoul, not far from certain destruction if a war were to suddenly break out, seem to repress this thought in their daily preoccupied lives. However, I think the likelihood of a de facto devastating war is getting closer and closer every day. 
The border between the Koreas is the most heavily armed border in the world. If a leader decides to fire, then events would precipitate quite fast and there would be certain and sudden devastation. There is nothing that could subvert this possibility if a war broke out. The amount of losses would be incredible and about 60 years of building would be ruined. 
It would also bring instability to Asia on the whole. What if China intervenes? This has been pretty much an historical certainty. 
Thus, it is of great importance that an all-out war does not happen. Once guns start blazing, it is likely that Seoul will be on the table to be attacked by the North. Even though it is not something they may really want to destroy, but simply because it is here to be destroyed. The loss of life and horrors of war would yet again become a brute reality. Fortunately, this can be avoided.
Why is war eminent? The border is the most heavily armed in the world. There has been a shift in power in North Korea which is presently being tested. The North has already committed actions that would constitute a casus belli by any traditional definition. They have sunk a war ship (the Cheonan) and fired directly on South Korean land (on Yeonpyeong Island). The president and the leadership were criticized due to their response to each of these acts of war. Now, the president appears to be determined to respond in an effective way if any new developments of the same magnitude arise. (In any case, how could he not?) How could he get reelected if he didn’t act? It would seem cowardly. Protecting the sovereignty of South Korea and its citizenry is paramount. Another provocation by the North would set a dangerous precedent if it were not responded to in a proportional way. Of course, many might think that another conflagration that may abrupt would end in a brief reprisal but then die down as it has from past experiences with the North. However, it would seem this is not going to be the case. 
Like the triple entente before World War I, the North, like Germany, is feeling more and more isolated by the surrounding powers, and thereby, is progressively becoming more and more daring. (First, attacking a ship then attacking an island.) Also, like World War I, the reason for building up arms is for using them. This might seem a trivial thing to point out, but it is a fact. The North and South have built up a huge stockpile of arms. After sitting on and advancing arms for decades, the leadership of each country will be more and more inclined to use them. 
War was pretty much destined to break out for Germany due to isolation and the build-up of arms which the leadership sought to use. They pretty much invented the casus belli in order to use the arms they had been/were acquiring. For North Korea, and to some extent, South Korea to seek to use the arms they have acquired. 
Now the proverbial red button that lies before the leadership of both countries has never been bigger or brighter. However, once those buttons are pushed and a number of weapons are triggered, it will not seem like much of choice to go to war to the respective leaders anymore. The war would escalate and no one could in the immediate future undo what would be started. 
Thus, it is paramount that some of history is not repeated and this does not happen. It will take cautious planning and diplomatic maneuvering. I think it can be done as we have seen the Cold War between Russia and the United States was deflated before unleashing a massive stockpile of weaponry (although those countries were in very different circumstances, like distance for one.) But, as of right now, the situation is at a crossroads on the verge of sudden yet necessarily avoidable escalation. 
Thus, it must be stressed, for the leadership to be responsible. This involves not having an itchy trigger finger even with popular pressure because while defense should be strong and vigilant, it should be rationally determined for the better of South Korea and the world.

Monday, April 23, 2012

North Korea, you goin' nuts??

North Korea threatened Monday to launch special military actions against key South Korean targets, further escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula following the North's botched rocket launch.
The military warned in a statement carried by state media that it would launch "special actions" soon against the South Korean government and conservative media.
However, there was no outward sign of tension on the North Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone. At Panmunjom, small groups of tourists were touring the "peace" village and the buildings where the Korean War armistice was signed in 1953. The South Korean side was quiet.
The notice and other North Korean statements described South Korean President Lee Myung-bak as a "rat," making personal attacks against the conservative president, who has pursued a hard-line policy toward Pyongyang.
For days, North Korea has railed against South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and conservative South Korean media for criticizing its rocket launch and the celebrations of the centennial of Kim Il Sung's birth.
But Monday's message, distributed by the state-run Korean Central News Agency and attributed to the "special operation action group" of the Korean People's Army's Supreme Command, was unusual in its specificity.
The threat from the North's military leadership comes amid concerns that North Korea may be plotting another provocation in the wake of an unsuccessful rocket launch condemned by the U.N. Security Council as a violation of a ban against missile activity.
North Korea characterized the April 13 rocket launch as a failed bid to send a satellite into space – not a disguised test of missile technology – but then followed up two days later by unveiling a new long-range missile at a military birthday parade for late President Kim Il Sung.
However, it is unlikely that North Korea would launch a large-scale military attack against Seoul, which is backed by nearly 30,000 U.S. troops stationed in the South, said Kim Young-soo, a professor at Sogang University in Seoul.
The notice said the North's targets include Lee and conservative South Korean media, though it did not elaborate on details of the North's possible attacks.
Baek Seung-joo, a senior analyst at the state-run Korea Institute of Defense Analyses, said the North's unusually strong rhetoric could mean a possible terrorist attack by the North on the South.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned North Korea against "further provocative measures," telling reporters in New York late Monday that such actions "will not be desirable for the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula."
North Korea has a track record of terrorist attacks against South Korea, including the 1987 bombing of a South Korean airliner near Myanmar that killed all 115 passengers aboard.
In 1968, 31 North Korean commandos infiltrated Seoul in a failed assassination attempt on then President Park Chung-hee. North Korean defector Lee Han-yong, a relative of Kim Jong-il's mistress, was killed in 1997 in what South Korea believed was an assassination by North Korean agents.
South Korea is within striking distance of North Korea's missiles. Seoul, the South Korean capital city of more than 10 million people, is also within range of North Korea's conventional artillery.
There are new concerns that North Korea may conduct a nuclear test as it did after rocket launches in 2006 and 2009. South Korean intelligence officials say recent satellite images show the North has been digging a new tunnel in what could be preparation for a third atomic test.
The North has also recently vowed to stage a "sacred war" against South Korea and "blow up" Seoul for insulting its dignity over the rocket launch and the celebrations marking the centennial of the April 15 birth of the country's late founder Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un.
Lee said the North's failed rocket launch is estimated to have cost Pyongyang about US$850 million, the equivalent of buying 2.5 million tons of corn for North Koreans.
South Korea expressed deep concern that the North's threats and accusations have worsened inter-Korean ties and heightened tensions. "We urge North Korea to immediately stop this practice," said Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk.
The North has made similar military threats against the South over the past several months, although no actual attack has occurred.
South Korea has repeatedly vowed to powerfully retaliate against North Korea in the event of any provocation as a revenge for the North's two provocations in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans, mostly soldiers.
Meanwhile, North Korean defectors and South Korean activists opened the annual North Korea Freedom Week in Seoul on Sunday as part of their efforts to highlight the dismal human rights record in the North.
North Korea's military warned Monday of imminent "special actions" that would reduce South Korea's conservative government to ashes within minutes, sharply escalating the rhetoric against its southern rival.
The threat comes as North Korea's new commander in chief, Kim Jong Un, makes a strong show of support for the "military first" policy championed by his father, late leader Kim Jong Il. North Korea marks the 80th anniversary of the founding of its army Wednesday.
Seoul expressed worry that the threats were hurting relations between the countries and increasing animosity.
Also Monday, the North's Foreign Ministry warned in a separate report carried by the KCNA that North Koreans "are now eagerly waiting for the issue of an order so that they may mercilessly punish the traitor." 
The latest militaristic warning came in response to Lee's recent comments that Pyongyang claimed have hurt the dignity of the North's new leader Kim Jong-un.
Last week, Lee urged Kim to give up the collective farm system and privatize state-owned agricultural land to help enrich the North and its residents. Lee also called on the young North Korean leader to pay greater attention to the human rights and defector issues.
Kim vowed to uphold the dying wish of his late father, long-time leader Kim Jong-il, who pursued nuclear and missile programs as well as a military-first policy. The North has said the world should not expect any change from it.
A South Korean Defense Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with departmental rules, said no special military movement had been observed in the North.
In November 2010, after issuing a warning to the South Korean government, North Korean troops showered artillery on a front-line island in disputed western waters held by South Korea. The attack killed four people, including two civilians.
Clearly, Pyongyang is looking to distract its subjects from the military failure earlier this month.  However, this threat goes beyond their normal bluster, as the AP notes above.  Threats from the DPRK usually use more general terminology, and especially timeframes, as the Kim regimes attempt to force some concessions from their opponents in the rational world.
In this case, I’d guess that the issue is starvation.  Lee Myung-bak cut off food aid from the South in 2008 that didn’t get tied to concessions from Pyongyang, and now the latest missile test has ended the food shipments from the US as well.  The military needs that food aid to keep the rank and file from rebelling, let alone the unfortunate people of the DPRK.  Kim can’t afford to let the army starve, and he can’t domestically produce the food necessary to keep it from happening.  He needs that food aid to resume in order to keep his new position as hereditary dictator.
If the DPRK seriously tries terrorist attacks in Seoul, however, starvation will be the least of their concerns.  This could become a shooting war again, and it will take a mighty careful balance to keep it from expanding to China, Japan, and Russia all over again.  Right now it looks like bluster, especially since Pyongyang hasn’t moved any troops to the border after their announcement, but the threat of terrorist attacks won’t be taken lightly by Seoul or the US.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

North Korea Expelled from Axis of Evil: Ahmadinejad Cites ‘Lack of Evil’

Just hours after an embarrassing launch of a rocket that crashed to the ground in a little over a minute, North Korea suffered another blow to its prestige as it was expelled from the Axis of Evil.

The decision was announced by the presiding Chairman of the Axis of Evil, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who cited as the reason for the expulsion North Korea’s evident “lack of evil.”

“There are a lot of evil countries out there, Iran for one, who are trying to terrify the world by developing nuclear weapons,” he said.  “When North Korea launches a so-called ‘rocket’ and it goes about twenty feet before blowing up, that just makes it harder for the rest of us.”

A spokesman for the erstwhile evil nation objected strongly to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statement, saying it was  “totally unfair to judge how evil a country is based on one crappy rocket.”

For a rogue nation that prides itself on threatening the world community, membership in the Axis of Evil is considered essential, which makes North Korea’s expulsion from the group a particularly damaging setback.

“The rocket thing is hurting our credibility, evil-wise, no question about it,” one aide to North Korean President Kim Jong-un said today.  “This afternoon we tried to threaten Japan and it went straight to voicemail.”

In a possible sign of newly reduced ambitions, North Korea today hurled a roll of toilet paper over the border at South Korea.

Mr. Ahmadinejad offered no comment about the latest incident on the Korean Peninsula, other than to say, “Really, the whole thing is kind of sad.”

The Little Puppet, Kim Jong Un

5 months have passed since Kim Jong Un took over the leadership of North korea after the former leader Kim Jong Il passed away. Then, what kind of changes took place in North Korea during that 5 months?
Under the dictatorship, everything including political system and economy greatly depends on the characteristics of its leader, and it is no exaggeration to say that the type of leader can determine the fate of that country.
However, although 5months already have passed since Kim Jong Un succeeded the power, he's been following the same old path of the past and bad political practices. Actually, this was pretty predictable, because he never had any proper training before he succeeded the power and he's still a kid in his 20s who is lacking of experience
Therefore, Kim Jong Un is the top leader in name only and he's just a puppet who's sandwiched between Kim Jong il's experienced old guards.

Angry World

Just found this hilarious clip... LOL

Kim Jong-Un needs to be sent to a madhouse

North Korea's failed Kwangmyeongsung-3 satellite launch was for a 5 year long space development project and the long-range rocket technology was to be used for stationary satellite development.
From what I know, North Korea spent more than 800 million dollars developing Kwangmyeongsung-3. With this budget, all of North Korean can buy 2 year worth of rice. However, this money was wasted by creating a stationary satellite.
At the moment, many North Koreans are starving to death. How can Kim Jong Un claim that North Korea has entered the days of glory, and paradise? That is one of the lousiest lies I've ever heard. 3 generations of hereditary succession of power, and dictatorship has led to insane thoughts and actions...
Shouldn't Kim Jong-Un be sent to a shrink for a psyco test?

North Korea threatens to blast Seoul to ashes

After the failed launch of long-range missiles, North Korea's cornered-leader, Kim Jong Un, has been blaming the Korean government and threatened by saying, "North Korea would blast everything in Seoul to ashes."
Since the age, experience, knowledge-wisely lacking leader, Kim Jong-Un has no progress to gain support of his people, he tries to use the Nuclear test, and missile test cards as an attempt to change the flow.
However, it was an epic failure.
North Korea argued that the 'rocket' launch was for space development and a satellite launch. However, from their actions, it is obvious that by no means was it a satellite launch.
Taking no responsibility for their actions, North Korea only threatens South Korea and the US blaming the failure on the scapegoats. Nothing has changed.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Arms Race in Korea

North Korea is more likely to fire off missiles or trigger national clashes near the border with South Korea than conduct another nuclear test in the near future, a U.S. security expert said Wednesday.
"I think there will be more provocations, probably missile launches. I am still skeptical that there is going to be a nuclear test in the short term," Frederick Fleitz, formerly a CIA official, told Yonhap News Agency after attending a congressional hearing.
"I think missile launches are very likely. Maybe there will be naval confrontations in the Yellow Sea," he added, asked about what the North will do next as its long-range rocket launch failed last week.
He dismissed reports of South Korean intelligence, based on satellite images, on digging activities at the North's nuclear test sites.
Such activities have been frequent there over the past few years, according to Fleitz, who served as chief of staff to Undersecretary of State John Bolton from 2001 to 2005. He now works as managing editor at the Langley Intelligence Group Network in Washington. He said Pyongyang will test its nuclear weapons again some day but it seems not to be imminent.
Although the North chose nuclear experiments after their two last long-range missile launches, he stressed, the two incidents would not necessarily constitute a trend.
He pointed out that the North's new regime took significant steps to make its latest rocket launch less provocative, such as an unprecedented level of oneness with the press.
"Second, North Korea has only a limited amount of fissile material," he said. "I believe it will eventually test another nuclear weapon when it is technically ready and prepared to endure an enormous and debilitating amount of diplomatic isolation."
In the hearing at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, lawmakers and witnesses took issue with Washington's Feb. 29 deal with Pyongyang, which has effectively become null and void.
The U.S. agreed to provide a massive food aid in return for the North's suspension of some of missile and nuclear activities.
"A particularly unfortunate result of the Leap Day agreement was the combining of discussions of nuclear disarmament and food assistance at the same negotiating table," said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chairwoman of the committee.
She expressed regret that the U.S. officials who negotiated the deal refused to attend the hearing.
Scott Snyder, senior researcher at the Council on Foreign Relations, also said the food issue should have been discussed separately.
"It was a mistake to allow food aid to be brought directly into the negotiations as a quid pro quo for North Korean actions," he said.
He added it was hasty for Washington to announce the deal while the North's new leader, Kim Jong-un, was still trying to consolidate power.
Rep. Howard Berman, the top Democrat in the committee, recalled comments by former President Ronald Reagan on the Soviet Union that the U.S. should "trust but verify."
"With regard to North Korea, he might have said 'never trust and never cease to verify,'" he said.
Berman accused China of doing little to stop the North's provocations despite its diplomatic leverage as a main supplier of food and energy for the communist ally.
"By enabling North Korean regime's reckless and aggressive behavior, which threatens regional stability, China ends up undermining its own security calculus," he said.

In response to this, South Korea has deployed a new long-range cruise missile that puts nuclear and missile sites in the entire North Korean territory within striking distance, defense ministry officials said Thursday, amid growing security jitters sparked by the North's botched rocket launch.
The new, home-grown cruise missile has a range of "more than 1,000 kilometers and can immediately strike anywhere in North Korea," said Maj. Gen. Shin Won-sik, the senior official in charge of policy planning at the ministry.

Is Kim Jong Un Preparing to Become North Korea's Economic Reformer?

When young Kim Jong Un stood before the assembled throngs in Pyongyang on April 15, insisting that come hell or high water he would persist with his father's "military first" policies — even in the wake of a humiliating failed missile launch — the young dictator uttered one sentence that was mostly ignored in the speech's aftermath: "It is the party' steadfast determination to ensure that the people will never have to tighten their belt again, and make sure they enjoy the riches and affluence of socialism to their heart's content.''
Talking about "the affluence of socialism" in today's North Korea is, of course, ludicrous. The economy "Lil Kim" inherited from his father is a disaster. Marcus Noland, the deputy director of the Peterson Institute of International Economics and a close North Korea watcher, estimates that per capita income today is "lower than it was 20 years ago, and by some reckonings is only now attaining the level it achieved in the 1970s." He further notes that since a disastrous currency reform three years ago, inflation for basic goods like rice and coal has been running at about 100%, and on the black market, the North Korean currency has fallen by about the same amount. Aping his father's economic policies, in other words, would be about the stupidest thing Kim Jong Un could do.
The line in the recent speech telling people they d never have to "tighten their belts again'' might have been one signal that Kim Jong Un at some level understands this. And now there may be more evidence that he knows something's got to give in his poor, benighted country. Earlier this week, Japan's Mainichi Shumbun, a Tokyo-based daily, reported that its Beijing correspondent had received documents that purport to be an account of a Jan. 28 meeting Kim had with unidentified Korean Workers' Party officials in Pyongyang. In the written account of the meeting, Jong Un complains that policymakers who might disagree with the grim economic autarky that has prevailed for decades in Pyongyang rarely speak up, because doing so subjects them to criticism that they are "trying to introduce capitalist ways." He ordered, according to the paper, the attendees to "find reconstruction measures suiting the nation through discussion without taboos." The newspaper then quotes what it identifies as a source "within the Korean Workers' Party" saying, "Recently Comrade Kim Jong Un gave the order: 'If there are any excellent methods that we can use, whether they are Chinese methods or from Russia or Japan, implement them.'''
If this story is accurate — TIME has been unable to verify the authenticity of the documents Mainichi obtained — the implications are important for obvious reasons. It may mean that young Jong Un, who spent a few years as a teenager going to school in Switzerland, may be willing to acknowledge the blindingly obvious: that what North Korea has been doing for decades economically doesn't work, and that there are plenty of examples right in the neighborhood — South Korea and China most obviously — who have over the same period gotten a lot of things right economically.
Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, visited China numerous times during his life, and each time journalists would write stories about how the visit surely meant that North Korea would now embark on China style economic reform. But policy analysts in the region as well as former diplomats and intelligence officials say that the late Kim never trusted the Chinese, and did not want to implement policies that would effectively allow North Korea to become an economic appendage to Beijing. If the sentiment and frustration expressed in the Mainichi story are real, it may well be that Jong Un is willing to accede to reality: China is the world's second largest economy and it sits right across the border; increased trade with it as a result of reform policies in Pyongyang would likely enhance living standards in North Korea.
Even in Kim Jong Il's last years, North Korea had taken baby steps toward setting up the sort of special economic zones that kicked off China's growth more than 30 years ago. North Korea has been involved in negotiations with Chinese investors on three separate locations, including building a new container port in Rason in the country's northeastern corner. China earlier this year had rejected a draft law to be applied to the other two special economic zones in which it is interested in investing, apparently worried about, among other things, the remittance of profits. Analysts believe young Jong Un could send a signal that he's not nearly as paranoid as his father about China by getting these deals done.
There have been hints here and there that Jong Un may be much more willing to experiment economically — hints which suggest that the sentiments expressed in the Mainichi documents could be authentic. In an interview in Pyongyang with the Associated Press on Jan. 16, Yang Hyong Sop, vice president of the presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, said, "Kim Jong Un is focusing on building a knowledge based economy and looking into cases of other countries' economic reform, including China's."
North Korea watcher Cheong Seong-Chang, senior fellow at Seoul's Sejong Institute, says that remark was notable because senior officials in North Korea tend not to speak speculatively about possible policy changes; they only speak publicly, and in particular to the outside world, about things that are already decided. That, if true, would be a hopeful sign that, however much he's following his father's footsteps on military and foreign policy, the young Kim may understand that he's got to break with the past in order to make good on his "no more belt tightening" pledge to the abjectly poor North Korean people.

Source :,8599,2112567,00.html#ixzz1sXKMLax1

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Update on Ieodo

Hamburg,  14 March 2012.  At a public sitting held today, the  International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea  rendered its judgment in the  Dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh/Myanmar). The Judgment was read by  Judge  José Luis Jesus,
who is presiding over the Tribunal in this case.
The dispute concerns the delimitation of the maritime  boundary between Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal with respect to the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf. It is the first case of the Tribunal relating to the delimitation of maritime boundaries. Proceedings in the case  were instituted before the Tribunal on 14 December 2009. Further to the filing of written pleadings by the Parties, the hearing took place in September 2011. In its judgment, the Tribunal had to address a number of issues raised by the Parties. Those included: the  claim made by Bangladesh that the delimitation of the territorial sea had already been agreed by the Parties in 1974; and the delimitation of
the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf within 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.  In addition,  the
Tribunal had to deal with the request of Bangladesh that the continental shelf beyond
200 nautical miles limit be delimited, a request which was opposed by Myanmar. The
Tribunal  then  had  to  decide whether it  could and should exercise its  jurisdiction  in
respect of the delimitation of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical limits.
This ruling is good news for S. Korea because Ieodo is much closer to Korea (148 km) while China is at least 247 km far from Ieodo.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Foreign media in North Korea: openness or propaganda?

North Korea, one of the most secretive nations on Earth, has invited nearly 200 foreign journalists and thrown open the doors of its space programme in a dramatic gesture seen as either a propaganda campaign or a new era of openness. Officially, the unprecedented invitation to such a large number of reporters coincides with celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary Sunday of the birth of the communist country's founding father Kim Il-Sung.

But the main draw is the firing of a rocket to launch a satellite in honour of the first leader, who was succeeded after his death in 1994 by his son Kim Jong-Il, who in turn was succeeded in December by heir Kim Jong-Un. The United States and regional allies South Korea and Japan accuse North Korea of preparing to carry out a disguised ballistic missile test in breach of UN resolutions.

To counter these accusations, North Korea for the first time allowed dozens of foreign journalists on Sunday to visit the Tongchang-ri space centre in the northwest of the country, where they saw the satellite and the Unha-3 rocket. On Wednesday they were treated to another unprecedented visit to the mission control centre in a suburb north of the capital Pyongyang.

James Oberg, a former NASA engineer who is one of several space consultants also invited to North Korea, visited Tongchang-ri with an NBC television crew. "I believe that this is not a military shot," he told his North Korean hosts in front of the cameras. French space expert Christian Lardier, another of the analysts invited by the North Koreans, agreed that they had shown the press a space launch vehicle and a satellite. "But the fact remains that the first two stages of the rocket use ballistic missile technology, as is often the case," he said.

An irritated US State Department on Tuesday voiced concern that foreign media might be "playing" into North Korean propaganda by visiting to cover the launch. "Our concern obviously would be that the North Koreans would use this for propaganda purposes and that... news organisations that cover it extensively might be playing into that," spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. "But it's obviously your call how to cover this thing," she told reporters. During both visits to the space facilities, North Korean media filmed and photographed the foreign journalists. State television station KRT has frequently broadcast those images, with a commentary saying the foreign reporters were convinced that North Korea would carry out a civilian satellite launch.

During both visits, officials said the "transparency" of these operations was ordained by new leader Kim Jong-Un, who this week has been named head of the ruling Workers' Party and the all-powerful Central Military Commission. But professor Yang Moo-Jin, at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said he did not believe it showed a real opening up of the secretive regime.

"The North is seeking to declare the opening of a new era under Kim Jong-Un's leadership amid the international spotlight," he told AFP. "Domestically, it is using this chance as a propaganda stunt, telling North Koreans that Kim and North Korea, which is becoming a 'prosperous and powerful socialist state', is now at the centre of the world's media attention." But Baek Seung-Joo, a North Korea expert at the state-financed Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in Seoul, said the apparent transparency might just be genuine. "The North, although boasting of the planned rocket launch, is afraid of getting isolated and condemned by the international community. They want to use the international press to show to the world how open they are," he said.

"The unprecedented openness also indicates the new leadership under Jong-Un may be more open-minded about interacting with the outside world, compared to Kim Jong-Il," he said. The new openness has its limits, however. As always on trips to North Korea, reporters have to be accompanied by a guide whenever they venture out of their Pyongyang hotel. The minders have been keen to take the reporters on guided tours of duck farms and the like. The media have been keener for a glimpse of the capital's streets as residents rehearse for Sunday's centenary celebration.

The minders on Thursday granted reporters a tour of a city department store and bowling alley. No photography or filming was allowed in the store, which was stocked with imported goods for sale only to holders of foreign currency.

Monday, April 16, 2012

N.Korean leader`s first speech riddled with lies

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who holds the titles of first secretary of the ruling Korean Workers` Party and chairman of the National Defense Commission, made his first public speech for 20 minutes Sunday in a military review at Kim Il Sung Square.  
In contrast, his late father Kim Jong Il`s first and last official speech lasted just six seconds, with him saying, "Glory to the heroic (North) Korean People’s Army!" Kim Jong Il, who took power through hereditary succession, felt no need to persuade his people of his legitimacy through public speeches. His son and successor, 30, might have wanted to be recognized as supreme leader by Pyongyang residents through a public speech, however.  
Kim Jong Un apparently sought to follow in his grandfather`s footsteps by mimicking Kim Il Sung`s low voice, hairdo, attire and walk. Apparently due to pressure coming from taking power at a young age, he continuously twisted himself and did not lift his head to ensure that he read the script of the speech clearly. Despite his efforts, he failed to reproduce his grandfather`s charisma.
Kim Jong Un had the military brass and soldiers at the review wear the uniforms of anti-Japanese fighters. Though other countries are fast changing in this high-tech digital era, the North`s clock stopped 60 years ago. The 6,627-letter speech was filled with distortions of history and anachronisms.
By calling North Koreans "Kim Il Sung`s nation," Kim Jong Un attempted to present his grandfather as the one equal to Dangun, the legendary founder of Korea`s first kingdom Gojoseon. Yet this is an insult against the people in both Koreas. "Under the leadership of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, we have put a stop to the history of suffering and lifted the dignity of our country and people to the highest level," the young leader said.
With ample natural resources and industrial facilities built under Japanese colonial rule, North Korea outpaced South Korea in economic power until the mid-1970s. Due to its closed economy and a military-first policy pursued by subsequent nepotistic governments, the North has degenerated into the lamest excuse for a country in the world.
In stressing the military-first policy, Kim Jong Un said, "My first, second and third priorities are to strengthen our people`s army through all means." He never mentioned the botched rocket launch Friday in which the 850-million-dollar disaster was shattered into 20 pieces 135 seconds after lift-off.
The U.N. Security Council and the U.S. are preparing punitive measures against the North for violating Security Council Resolution 1874. To make up for the rocket fiasco, the North could resort to brinkmanship against the world through a third nuclear test.
Experts say the young North Korean leader cannot exercise independent leadership and relies on the hardline military brass. For its part, South Korea needs to unite and boost its security posture to brace for a potential provocation by the North.

World Bank picks Korean-American Kim as president

The World Bank chose Korean-American physician Jim Yong Kim as its next chief in a decision that surprised few but took beating an unprecedented challenge to the US lock on the Bank's presidency. The Bank picked the 52-year-old US health expert and educator over Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala amid rising pressure from emerging and developing countries for the huge development lender to recruit one of their own for a leader. Kim, the president of the Ivy League university Dartmouth College, will succeed outgoing president Robert Zoellick, a former US diplomat who is departing in June at the end of his five-year term.
After the first-ever open fight for the job, the Bank's directors expressed "deep appreciation" to Kim, Okonjo-Iweala and a third candidate, Colombian economist Jose Antonio Ocampo, who withdrew from the race Friday. "Their candidacies enriched the discussion of the role of the president and of the World Bank Group's future direction," the Bank said in a statement. "The final nominees received support from different member countries, which reflected the high caliber of the candidates." The US nomination of Kim had surprised many, as he was little known outside global health circles and has no background in development economics. It also broke the pattern of the 11 American bankers and diplomats who have held the job before him.
South Korea-born, US-raised Kim instead has Harvard degrees in medicine and anthropology, and a strong record in developing programs to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in poor countries. The position is crucial for much of the developing world. The president oversees a staff of 9,000 economists and policy specialists, and portfolio of loans for development projects that hit $258 billion in 2011. There had been little doubt about the Bank's choice of Kim. By a longstanding pact Washington has chosen the head of the World Bank while Europe has held control of who leads its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund. On Friday Ocampo pulled out, saying the decision would be made on politics and not merit. After Kim was named Monday, Okonjo-Iweala also blasted the "long-standing and unfair tradition" for choosing a Bank head. The Health Global Access Project called Kim a "transformative figure in global health" who could bring sweeping change to the Bank.
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Kim will bring a fresh perspective to the Bank. "His deep development background coupled with his dedication to forging consensus will help breathe new life into the World Bank's efforts to secure fast economic growth that is widely shared." But the global development agency Oxfam called the selection process a "sham" even as it praised Kim. "Dr. Kim is an excellent choice for World Bank president and a true development hero," said Oxfam's Elizabeth Stuart. "But we'll never know if he was the best candidate for the job, because there was no true and fair competition."
Peter Chowla of the Bretton Woods Project, which monitors World Bank work, called the decision "a stitch-up between the US and Europe."
"This will further erode the Bank's legitimacy unless Kim starts listening closely to developing countries and critics of the World Bank, and begins a process of fundamental reform."

The Difference between North and South Korea


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kim Jong Un's first public speech

North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-Un delivered his first public speech Sunday and vowed to push for a stronger military as his country unveiled an apparently new missile. Kim addressed cheering troops and citizens waving flowers at a major military parade marking the centenary of the birth of his grandfather and the nation's founder Kim Il-Sung. The parade came just two days after the North's satellite launch fizzled out embarrassingly, when the rocket apparently exploded within minutes of blastoff. But Jong-Un, aged in his late 20s and in power for less than four months, appeared confident as he oversaw the parade featuring rockets, artillery, tanks and thousands of goose-stepping troops. "We must strengthen our military in every possible way... and accomplish the goal of building a powerful and prosperous socialist state," he told troops and civilians packing the central square named after his grandfather. "The time when the enemy threatens and blackmails us with atomic bombs has gone for good," Jong-Un said in reference to the North's nuclear weapons programme touted as one of the greatest achievements of the family dynasty which has ruled since 1948. "Let's move on towards our final victory!" he said, gesturing at cheering troops who repeatedly chanted "Mansei!" (만세 Hurray). Jong-Un, clad in his customary dark Mao suit, pledged to improve the lives of people in a nation beset by acute food shortages, an ailing economy and severe power outages.

The ruling party, he said, was determined that North Koreans, "who have endured so many challenges and faithfully served the party, will no longer have to tighten their belts and will fully enjoy socialist prosperity".

North's massive military spending could feed millions of malnourished people living outside the showpiece capital Pyongyang. The US State Department estimates that up to a quarter of the North's gross national product is spent on the 1.2-million-strong military. Washington has scrapped plans to deliver 240,000 tonnes of food aid after the launch, widely seen overseas as a disguised ballistic missile test in violation of UN resolutions. One of several missiles on display Sunday appeared new.

Kim Il Sung died in 1994 after bequeathing power to his son Kim Jong-Il. The current leader was thrust into the top post unexpectedly early when his own father Jong-Il died of a heart attack last December. He has since been cementing his grip on power, taking up top-level posts in the ruling party and on the powerful National Defence Commission last week. The new leader has a more outgoing image than his father. Kim Jong-Il is believed to have spoken just once at a major public occasion during his 17 years in power -- and that was a single sentence. Jong-Un, smiling and chatting with military leaders, waved and saluted throughout the parade from a balcony decorated with giant portraits of his father and grandfather. Kim Jong-Un, unlike his father, appears to seek a new leadership style that emphasises communication and interaction with the public, just like his grandfather did in the past. Kim Jong Un, in his 20s, is trying to justify his reign by attempting to look like his grandfather. There are rumors that Kim Jong Un underwent plastic surgery to look like Kim Il Sung. And his first public speech is intended to give an impression of the reincarnation of his grandfather to its audience. Whatever his attempts are, it's destined to fail...

Sunday's extravaganza ended with a spectacular fireworks and light show on the bank of the capital's broad Taedong River. Thousands gathered to watch the money disappear into thin air.

UN Security Council Members "Deplore" N. Korea Rocket Launch

The international community has been vocal in its opposition to North Korea's controversial rocket launch.
The 15-member United Nations Security Council, headed by the United States this month, convened an emergency meeting in New York on Friday.
Members of the Security Council deplored this launch, which is in violation of Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874.
The resolutions, adopted by the Council after North Korea's nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, forbid the country from using any nuclear or missile-related technology.
Stressing that it is "premature" to say what sorts of measures the Council might take, the American ambassador said the reaction should be "credible."
South Korea, which isn't a non-permanent Council member right now, has said it wants strong condemnation from the international community over the launch.
The South Korean government is consulting with the U.S. about options, which could include a binding resolution or a non-binding presidential statement from the UN.
While South Korea, the U.S., Japan and many European nations are pushing for strong action, North Korea's long-time ally China hasn't been clear about its position on the rocket launch.
In fact, the foreign ministers of China and Russia called for calm and restraint from regional partners for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, then said the six-party talks would be the most effective and important channel to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.
And that is why U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has particularly emphasized moving together in a deliberate and unified way on the issue to her Chinese and Russian counterparts.
China and Russia are two veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council.
The U.S., meanwhile, has confirmed it has suspended a resumption of food aid to North Korea.
That deal, reached in February, was made in return for the North halting its missile and nuclear programs.

N. Korea Shows Off New Missile During Parade

As part of celebrations marking the centennial of the state's founder Kim Il-sung Pyeongyang showed off nearly 900 units of weaponry Sunday, the largest number of weaponry showcased in North Korea's history.
They included a new type of long-range missile, which some experts say could be placed on par with the intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM.
South Korean and U.S. military sources say the newly unveiled missile is over 18-meters long, and has a range of up to six-thousand kilometers, giving it a capacity similar to that of an ICBM.
However, some analysts stress that it COULD be intended to be used as an ICBM, but is hard to tell at this point.
What does North Korea's possession of ICBM imply for US and its allies?
It means that NK has the capability to fire missiles US soil, possibly California.
And if the missiles were loaded with nuclear weapons, that could mean trouble for US.
Last week's failed rocket launch is good news for US and its allies because it implies that NK doesn't have the technology to launch WMDs into US. However, this is just a temporary relief.
The launch implies that NK has the intention to develop ICBMs. And these intentions are sufficient to impose sanctions on NK and deter its efforts.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

International Response to NK's rocket launch

The international community is reacting strongly to North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket, which failed shortly after liftoff and has been widely seen as a provocation.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague issued a statement late Thursday expressing deep concern about the North's action. He said North Korea can expect a strong response from the international community if it continues to develop its missile and nuclear capabilities. He also called on North Korea to suspend all missile and nuclear-related activity and to commit to re-engaging with the international community.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told the French news agency the action was “a violation of international obligations and will increase tensions on the Korean peninsula.” Westerwelle also said the United Nations Security Council must give a strong answer to this violation of international law.
Japanese Deputy Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said there is no indication any debris from the launch fell on Japanese territory. Japan's defense forces, along with the South Korean and U.S. militaries in the region, had deployed anti-missile batteries on land and at sea for a possible shootdown if the rocket flew over Japanese or South Korean territories.
Another Japanese official was quoted as saying Tokyo may consider economic sanctions against North Korea, depending on the response of the international community. The launch prompted emergency security meetings both in Seoul and Tokyo.
North Korean government officials had no immediate comment on Friday's launch but said an announcement would be made “soon.” North Korea had announced previously it would send a three-stage rocket mounted with a satellite into orbit to coincide with Sunday's centenary of the birth of its founding leader, Kim Il Sung. Reporters in Pyongyang who had been told they would be able to view the launch from an observation center were not taken there. At a newsroom set up for visiting correspondents, North Korean officials declined to answer any questions immediately after the failed launch.
Prior to the liftoff, a pedestrian in Pyongyang said the launch would be “a very good thing.” When asked why, the person responded by saying, “North Korea is now among the strong and prosperous countries in the world, and that it is 'our pride' to launch a rocket again.”
The launch plan upended more than one year of painstaking diplomacy aimed at achieving a resumption of six-nation talks to negotiate an end to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs in exchange for needed international aid. Was the rocket launch worth the cost? Obviously not. At what cost did NK launch it's rocket? It costed them 1 year worth of food for its people, and more where US abandoned their treaty for firing the rocket.
Moreover, it backfired on Kim Jong Un. An epic fail would look embarrassing for sure right before the birthday of his grandfather 태양절.
Just a random comment: This rocket launch has a lot of meaning to it.
The rocket was launched on a Friday 13th... No wonder it failed...
And the failure of the rocket foreshadows the fate of North Korea.
Sooner or later, NK will go down just like Kwangmyeongsung-3.