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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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  • Re:Missle? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by similar_name ( 1164087 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @08:28PM (#39667819)
    Aside from the misspelling I find the use of the word missile versus rocket interesting. They are essentially the same thing but the two words certainly have different connotations.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @08:38PM (#39667905)
    I really don't care what the Americans think, but being from Japan, I think they should put NK in the ground.
  • by Doctor_Jest ( 688315 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @08:59PM (#39668063)

    Ironically, some of the idiocy coming from California sounds remarkably like the rhetoric and propaganda from "dear leader"... couple that with the fact that they can't do anything right in California either... well, we're seeing distinct parallels.

    The only thing missing in NK is a leader who actually believed he was abducted by aliens...

  • Re:Kaputnik (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mug funky ( 910186 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @09:32PM (#39668363)

    their entire weapons program is based on freely available info.

    their plutonium is made by reverse engineered magnox reactors.

    their missiles are based on (old) russian tech. ...neither of which they seem to be able to do right. they get frighteningly close, but by frightening i mean they have a lot of toys that could explode and cause damage beyond their borders.

  • Re:Missle? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @09:47PM (#39668445)

    On the television, they had someone that clarified "Missile vs Rocket", in that they are exactly the same except for a guidance system.

    Eg, a rocket goes up and stops when it runs out of fuel or hits a target and detonates. A Missile has a guidance system to lock on to a target and deliver a payload.

    The end result is the same, we generally reserve the word "Rocket" for the ones without guidance systems, as such the context is correct when you refer to RPG as Rocket Propelled Grenade, and the kinds used in fireworks.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @10:35PM (#39668821)

    i ENCOURAGE you to criticize the USA. repeat: i ENCOURAGE you to criticize the USA. on the merits of the crimes the USA has committed in this world, which are many and large. do you understand me?

    The USA had slavery. The USA persecuted people for beliefs or skin color. The USA has the death penalty. The USA had concentration camps. The USA kills innocent civilians in war zones because it's easier to kill innocents than properly identify combatants. Gitmo.

    The USA has committed a large number of crimes, internationally and locally. Most legislation these days is unconstitutional. The government doesn't even follow its own rules, and worse, the voters don't care and encourage it.

  • Re:Predictable (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @10:52PM (#39668933)

    Sure there is.

    First, infiltrate the NK working classes. Give them outside information - anything they want. Secret Agent Man sneaks in, finds a farmer family, gives them each a Big Mac meal - Super-Sized - and a rundown of our side of the story. Don't ask them to do anything except listen. Just try to convince them that we're not the mass-murdering monsters the NK propaganda claims. Above all, though, be honest - admit to the things we have done wrong, don't hide it. It's not the glamorous James Bond spy gig, but it will actually work. Repeat on a massive scale - the number of agents involved should reach the thousands. Masquerade it as a food benefit program, if necessary.

    Second, start cutting off the rich kids' toys. We have sanctions on wheat and corn for the peasants, but the king still drinks $10,000-a-bottle champagne. Find a way to crack down on that sort of thing, and you'll either get them to seriously back down, or to go to even more extremes to maintain power.

    If the leaders did back down, a relatively bloodless revolution will come about naturally, over the course of decades. Just like the Soviet Union - the leaders liberalized, the oppressed used their new freedoms to get rid of *all* the tyranny. Didn't work out perfectly, but still better than the alternative. No more work involved on our end.

    If, however, Kim III clamps down tighter, get your "secret agents" to start a push for an armed revolution. Target especially the members of the army - when one in five North Korean combat-age men are in the army, you'll need to do something to shift those numbers. Promise the rebels full support - and GIVE it. They call for air strikes, give them. They ask for Stinger missiles, give them. The absolute worst thing you could do is fail to follow through at this point. This is arguably the only expensive part of the plan.

    If the revolution succeeds, try to angle them towards reunification. It'll be tough on South Korea's economy for a bit, but they're in good enough shape to handle it. If they insist on independence for whatever reason, make sure no new dictators pop up, through assassinations if necessary.

    Even if the revolution fails, the country will be in total ruins. Once the fighting stops, the generals will realize there's no food *at* *all*, and they'll either force the leadership out, or force them to accept any terms to get foreign food. You'll still have a dictator, but a pacified one, and one in a very, very tenuous situation.

    The only complicating factor is China. China views NK as a necessary buffer state between it, and the South Korean and American armies below. They've been propping the country up for half a century. They'll need to be neutralized somehow before any of this can have a reasonable chance of success.

    Best option? Trade. China is the world's #1 exporter, but also the world's #2 importer. Unlike North Korea, they *depend* on the rest of the world.

    The best place to squeeze them is on manufacturing technology. They import almost all their manufacturing machinery from either the US or Japan, both of whom have a vested interest in neutralizing North Korea. Getting Russia to join in by cutting off the flow of oil and power from the North would also help, but might be optional.

    Obviously, selling the American public on accepting a huge spike in consumer good prices "for liberating North Korea" will never work. However, doing so "for FREEDOM" might. There's been a huge amount of anti-Chinese rhetoric in American politics lately - between latent Sinophobia (racism against Chinese is probably one of the more tolerated bigotries in the US), and the whole "China buying up America" debt scare, you could probably sell America on accepting a spike in prices at least long enough to execute the NK plan.

    OK, fine, so it's not *easy*, but it is *possible*. And if there's ever a revolution in China that leads to them abandoning NK, it *does* become easy.

    But, as better men than I have said, "doing what is right is not always easy, and doing what is easy is not always right".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:35PM (#39669255)

    ...you can't call North Korea just another country. Not 2 years ago they torpedoed and sank a south korean navy ship!

    If you had got past the initial hype, you could have found that when the S. Koreans asked Russia to review the findings of the S. Korean investigation, the report was never published because in the words of a US Ambassador to Korea it would be embarrassing to Obama and damage the S. Korean president. (International Herald Tribune, 31 August 2010).
    A leaked version of the report suggested a S. Korean mine was the likely culprit and that fragments of torpedo had been in the water much too long to have been responsible.

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