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North Korea Shows Off Space Center and Launches Missile 294

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that nobody would describe North Korea's mission control as imposing. It is a small, unremarkable, two-story building, tiny compared to Nasa's Houston home in America or Russia's space command. But the North's secretive regime, now headed by the third of the Kim dynasty to rule here, Kim Jong-un, is opening up, for the first time in an attempt to allay fears it is about to test missile technology that could deliver a warhead as far as America. 'Sixteen technicians man the satellite command center. Dressed in white coats, like doctors, they sit behind computer screens,' writes Damian Grammaticas. 'On a big screen are live pictures from the launch pad, showing North Korea's rocket being fueled up. The satellite it will carry has already been loaded on board, we are told.' Pyongyang says the minibar refrigerator-sized satellite covered with solar panels and golden foil to protect its instruments will broadcast martial music praising North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung and is designed to monitor weather, natural disasters and agriculture patterns. As the five-day window for North Korea's rocket launch opens today, the United States has warned a launch would be a breach of UN Security Council resolutions that ban the North from testing missile technology. If North Korea goes ahead it could lead to UN sanctions, it has warned. 'That's why we have invited you, to clearly show that this is a satellite launch not a ballistic missile,' says Paek Chang-ho, head of the satellite control center. 'I hope you become supporters in showing the transparency of our satellite launch.'" After all that North Korea decided to launch a missile anyway. From the article: "The three-stage rocket, called the Unha-3, blasted off from the Soehae launch site near North Korea’s western corner with China, at about 7:39 a.m., the South Korea Defense Ministry said."
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North Korea Shows Off Space Center and Launches Missile

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @08:25PM (#39667779)

    Seriously the hypocrisy of the Americans is astounding. In regards to this launch the North Koreans did everything by the book

    - They applied to the international regulatory authorities for space launch approval and orbital slot
    - They posted air and maritime notices
    - They had the international press to tour the launch site

    Now any other country doing this would not have any issues. But if it is Iran or North Korea then go fuck yourself because the Americans don't like you. Don't forget that after all these years Cuba still deserves that embargo, you know because they are such a threat to the Americans.

  • Re:Kaputnik (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) ( 786011 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @08:27PM (#39667813) Journal

    It shows you just how isolated they are. Any other country wanting to build a rocket to send a satellite into space could build on the 100+ years of research and development done by the rest of the world.

    I'm sure whatever mistake they made here was made by some rocket scientist in the past and has already been corrected, but they don't have access to that. They had to start from nothing and repeat all the mistakes of the past.

    I'm sure they get some help from the Russians and China, but they are all about trying to do things their own way, alone. Except feed themselves, apparently.

  • Re:Kaputnik (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @08:35PM (#39667869)

    What's more worrisome is how the western press is buying into this openness thing and the ambiguity about the launch. Why don't they say it clearly for those who don't know already? a ballistic missile and a satellite launcher rocket are essentially the same thing, they can be used for both purposes.

  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @08:39PM (#39667913)

    His family and anyone he works with and their families are in trouble.

  • Re:Predictable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bomazi ( 1875554 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @08:45PM (#39667967)

    Of course they won't give up their nuclear weapon program in exchange for food aid, but that is irrelevant. Aid should be given, in exchange for nothing, even if it might be diverted or otherwise help the regime last. Using the threat of famine for political gains is unacceptable. North Korea does it to some extent, we shouldn't.

  • Re:Hey, China (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @09:01PM (#39668081)

    I'm more scared of the USA than any other country. The people from the USA keep complaining about weapons from countries that don't play nice with them, but they keep invading other countries with stealth planes, killer robots, and nukes. The day the USA decides to fight countries that can actually fight back, it's WW3 and we are all going to die.

  • When you post something like this, you are really just loudly announcing your low IQ.

    I am in no way defending the USA. The USA has done plenty wrong in the world. If you dislike the USA, you are free to criticize the USA. There is plenty I am unhappy about the USA's actions in this world. I ENCOURAGE you to criticize the USA.

    But what I want you to try to do is criticize the USA on the merits of what the USA has done wrong. Not use global condemnation of the actions of a mafia family who starves its people and pursues nukes as an excuse to go "well, the USA is the same! hypocrisy!"

    No, moron, you're wrong. Factually, objectively wrong, on simple and obvious facts an elementary school student can grasp about simple and obvious, undisputed facts of the governments of the two countries and their historical records.

    That you think it is even remotely valid to compare the two nations on their actions and talk about hypocrisy is just an exercise in gross stupidity.

    I am not flinging empty insults. I am using your words as the starting point for an objective analysis of your ability to look at world events and use basic mental skills like compare and contrast: you fail. Horribly. You are a moron. This is an objective appraisal of your IQ, not an empty insult.

    Do yourself a favor and think and educate yourself. Then post your opinions on the Internet. Not that stupidity stops anyone from commenting, but maybe you can eventually grow mentally and come to appreciate where you fail so miserably in your thought processes here. Fucking pathetic.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @09:07PM (#39668137)
    North Korea could have fed their people with the amount of money that went into this rocket launch. They apparently find it more important to impress the world than actually keep their citizens from starving to death. Also, before North Korea gets to complain about rape and murder, maybe they should consider shutting down those massive prison camps of theirs.
  • Re:Predictable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @09:18PM (#39668231)
    North Korea would have the economic power to buy food for its citizens itself if it wasn't blowing it all on shiny nukes and rocketry instead. The rest of the world shouldn't be expected to feed its people while it behaves like an irresponsible and rebellious teenager that spends all its money on hookers and fast cars. On the other hand, since the North Korean leadership has already demonstrated that it is perfectly willing to let its people starve so that it can play with shiny toys, outside demands aren't going to make much a difference. There is no easy answer to the situation.
  • would this be like the hypocrisy that charles manson uses a gun, and the police use a gun, and so they are morally equivalent, and to criticize charles manson is hypocrisy?

    or a burglar breaks into your home, and the government forces you to pay taxes, so its all the same thing: robbery... hypocrisy!

    how about a drunk driver jumping the sidewalk and killing a pedestrian is the same as a drunk stumbling into a highway and getting hit... hypocrisy!

    yeah hypocrisy! everything is morally equivalent!

    please define the parameters in which the globally condemned mafia family who starves its people while it pursues nukes is the same as the government of the USA

    bonus thought (if you can handle more than one thought at a time): it is not required to like the USA to agree with my comment. it is actually possible *gasp*, get this radical craziness!: to dislike North Korea, AND the USA, for different, REAL reasons... at the same time! no freakin way! for real?

    rather than the genius level analysis you and parent poster demonstrate. "bad things from government A" = "bad things government B": hypocrisy!


  • who show up in every story that might possibly condemn another country

    oh here they are: []

    hey, geniuses: it's actually mentally possible to... drum roll please... get this far out idea:

    1. dislike country XYZ, and
    2. dislike the USA,
    3. at the same time!

    no freakin way! i know, radically subversive mental concept huh?

    get this piece of really far out thinking: you can actually condemn North Korea, and, still dislike the USA? whoa, heavy stuff

    you don't actually have to defend a rabid civilian starving nuke pursuing nutcase mafia regime, just because you dislike the USA?

    i know, i know, crazy far out concept huh?

    you don't actually have to side with the USA to condemn North Korea... hmmm... that's some deep, wacky stuff

    you mean... think and act on principles, rather than think on moronic tribal oppositional posturing?

    wow, how come i never thought of that!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @09:43PM (#39668413)

    The only country ever to use a nuclear weapon in anger....? Hence the charge of hypocrisy. You can't claim the moral high ground and justify mass killing at the same time. Just look at the last decade - The Americans have waged war across most of the globe.

  • Re:Missle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Urban Garlic ( 447282 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @09:48PM (#39668455)

    Missiles can be magic. But a magic rocket is just stupid.

  • Re:Predictable (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fnj ( 64210 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @10:26PM (#39668751)

    You mean kind of like the way the USA is spending beyond its means on all sorts of things while many are homeless? And the price of food is rocketing beyond the means of many?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @10:30PM (#39668785)
    Have you ever looked at the pictures of the dead Kurdish women and children in the streets after they were gassed by Saddam? Tallied up the number of people killed by his army crushing opposition? See the pictures of the families of suicide bombers celebrating after they got a $30000 check from him? Watched the videos of people jumping to their deaths off the World Trade Center to escape the flames? Yea, USA had it all wrong.
  • Re:Predictable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:01PM (#39669009) Homepage Journal

    this is akin to holding the cops accountable for what the kidnappers do

    nobody in the world is using the threat of famine for political gains on the issue of north korea, except north korea

    if the world is interested in feeding the people of north korea, it would remove the impediment that is preventing the people of north korea from feeding themselves. that would be the government of north korea

    or, the world could continue to ship grain to north korea while its government builds nukes and ICBMs instead of feeding its people. so with every passing decade, we have more and more weapons of mass destruction, and people still starving unless the world continues to feed them

    we can wait for the government to collapse itself. except that we've been doing that for over 50 years, and it never collapses. it just invests in more advanced military technology. we reward them for those efforts, because we prove to them we will still feed them no matter how crazy they act or how many threats they make or how vile the weapons they build

    the people of north korea continue to starve, the weapons technology proliferates to other vile regimes in the world, more weapons get stockpiled, and therefore the stakes involved with the government of north korea collapsing get more dire: who gets the weapons in the anarchy that follows? what does the long life of the north korea regime and the timidity of the world governments say to other countries who wish to engage in warmongering and neglect of its own people?

    this doesn't end well. and the longer the regime lasts, the less well it ends. and the whole time, the people there starve and suffer

    the interest in peace sometimes requires difficult choices. hundreds of thousands would die in south korea if north korea is attacked. but kicking the can down the road just means the choice gets more difficult later, and more die later

    i have two thoughts:

    1. the longer the regime lasts, the more people die when the regime goes away. so the bravest choice is to confront them as soon as possible. we have not done this, and now they have nuclear weapons while their people eat leaves
    2. china stops covering for its rabid historical ally, and begrudingly accepts a united korean penninsula under a seoul friendly to the west. chinese nationalism does not accept the numbers of chinese who died for the existence of north korea o allow this outcome

    am i a warmongerer for having these thoughts? because i am critical of a regime that endlessly prepares for war and does not feed its own people? how is that possible in your mind to not see the malice where the malice actually lies: pyongyang

    i am saying this does not end well. you can dispute me

    1. some kidnap scenarios end with the kidnapper and the hostage and a lot of police dead.
    2. some end with the kidnapper in custody and the hostage safe

    i'll try to be optimistic and think pyongyang will go away in scenario 2. but my gut and my mind tell me scenario 1 is more likely. i am sorry, i do not think i am being pessimistic here, i think i am being realistic about the obvious and long demonstrated malice of this rabid kooky mafia cult

  • Re:Predictable (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:35PM (#39669249)

    Interfering with their internal affairs is not right. If the people want a revolution, they will have one. If they do not want, who are you to tell them what is better for them? North Korea is not unique, many countries have dictatorships and monarchies, and they will all go down in due time. It is not your country, no matter how good you try to pretend your intentions are "freeing" them is not your responsibility but theirs.
    The only thing your plan would achieve is replace a dictator with another (that and spill a lot of blood). If that was your intention all along, congratulations you're an asshole.

  • Re:Predictable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the gnat ( 153162 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:16AM (#39669503)

    You mean kind of like the way the USA is spending beyond its means on all sorts of things while many are homeless?

    I don't approve of my country's budget priorities either, but there's a couple of crucial differences:

    1. It's not illegal for the homeless to seek gainful employment in the private sector.

    2. It's not illegal for the homeless to leave the country and find another with less craptastic public policy.

    In North Korea, everyone is completely at the mercy of the government for every need, all the time. Complaining means getting thrown into prison camp. Trying to escape the country means getting thrown into prison camp. Trying to make money to support your family because your government job stopped paying you two years ago could also mean getting thrown into prison camp, except from what I've read NK stopped enforcing that rule because it's the only way most of the country is still alive.

    The people of North Korea are serfs - there's simply no other word for it. When the majority of the USA is burning garbage to stay warm, the entire population is several inches shorter than Canadians, and the border to Mexico is blocked by barbed wire and guard towers to keep the Americans from emigrating, then you can make simplistic comparisons.

  • Re:Predictable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @02:07AM (#39670031)

    Somewhere, an intelligence analyst is rolling on the floor laughing at your post.

    Infiltrate the North Korean working classes? Secret Agent Man just sneaks in? If he somehow manages to get into the country, the first peasant to see him is going to run screaming for help from the army. According to everything they've heard in their lives, the West is a big scary monster out to kill them. How many Secret Agent Men are you prepared to sacrifice before you get one who lasts longer than a couple of hours before he's shot?

    More fundamentally, North Korea has a shedload of conventional artillery pointed at Seoul: the capital of South Korea, with a few million people. As soon as you do anything that they notice and don't like - possibly including cutting off food aid, but definitely including any Secret Agent Men - they can open fire and destroy more economic activity than their entire country is worth, several times over. If it weren't for this, the US would probably have just bombed the damn place already.

  • Re:Predictable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by roca ( 43122 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @07:28AM (#39671503) Homepage

    It's absolutely mad to compare hunger and poverty in the USA to what happens in North Korea.

    When a significant percentage of Americans are eating rats, bark and grass to try to stay alive, and fleeing to Mexico to find food, then you'd have a comparable situation.

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