Less than three weeks ago, North Korea agreed to a moratorium on long-range missile testing in exchange for badly-needed food. Today, the Kim Jong-un regime announced that it would launch a satellite into orbit, just coincidentally on the very same missile platform Pyongyang has been testing for military use:
The US is … not amused:
North Korea said on Friday it will launch a long-range rocket carrying a “working” satellite to mark the centenary of founder Kim Il-sung’s birth next month, sparking condemnation from the United States and others that it was in breach of a U.N. resolution.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the announcement was highly provocative and called upon Pyongyang to honor its obligations including U.N. Security Council resolutions banning ballistic missile launches.
“Such a missile launch would pose a threat to regional security and would also be inconsistent with North Korea’s recent undertaking to refrain from long-range missile launches,” she said in a statement.
In other words — meet the new boss, same as the old boss. This is nothing more than the same bait-and-switch from the DPRK that occurred throughout Kim Jong-il’s long reign as Supreme Leader. They got the US to negotiate an agreement, and now want to threaten to renege in order to get more concessions. The Kim regime would also like to split the international coalition organized to force the North to abandon its nuclear weapons, but China so far isn’t playing along:
China, the reclusive state’s only main ally, was more restrained in its response, but stressed on maintaining peace on the divided peninsula.
“Protecting the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and North East Asia suits the joint interests of all parties and is the consistent expectation of the international community. This requires that all relevant parties take a constructive role,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters at a regular news briefing.
South Korea “urge[d]” Pyongyang to abandon its plans. Japan won’t be amused either, even if the previous test of the missile failed rather spectacularly in 2009. That too was billed as a “satellite” launch, which no one believed then and no one will believe now. At that time, Japan threatened to shoot down any missile that traversed its airspace, but the US left its missile-defense radar sitting on the dock of the bay in Hawaii, wasting time and opportunity. What are the odds that President Smart Power forgets to tow it out to the ocean for this “satellite” launch, if it happens? I’d say … high.