North Korea building long-range rocket capacity

North Korea already has nuclear weapons. It is now adding a long-range rocket capacity. The combination is ominous. Photo: Associated Press

YAKIMA, Wash., December 15, 2012 — On December 12, 2012, the world moved a little closer to nuclear annihilation with the launch of North Korea’s Unha-3 rocket. The rocket launch was in defiance of a UN resolution and UN sanctions.  

According to the BBC, the launch of the rocket was announced by North Korea’s state-run news agency KCNA, which stated, “The launch of the second version of our Kwangmayongsong-3 satellite from the Sohae Space Center on December 12 was successful.  The satellite has entered the orbit as planned.”

The United States has confirmed that an object was put into orbit and that the orbit was a bit shaky.  No further comment was provided regarding the success of the launch.

Japan, the United States, South Korea, and the UN all reacted negatively to the launch. They believe that North Korea is using the satellite launch as a cover for developing a long-range missile able to reach the west coast of the U.S.  All three countries have called for stricter sanctions on the secretive North Korean country. 

North Korea calls itself the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The truth is there is no democracy in North Korea. While its leaders live in relative opulence, her common people struggle daily with food shortages and have none of the luxuries their South Korean counterparts enjoy. 

During his lifetime, Kim Jong-il made no attempt to lift his people out of the gut-wrenching poverty in which they’ve been living. His son Kim Jong-un has to date indicated no intention of improving the life of his huddled masses. Instead, he has backed his military, and as a result has become the uncontested leader of North Korea. Rather than feed his people, he has allowed money to be poured into rocket and nuclear research. 

Kim Jong-un, you need to feed your people before exploring space. 

By June, 2009 Kim Jong-il had moved their nuclear program into high gear while also developing its delivery system: rockets. His son, Kim Jong-un, has continued his father’s work and intensified their program. The UN placed sanctions on North Korea and tightened those sanctions in 2009 in response to its nuclear testing.

Here’s the problem with sanctions–they don’t work. 

Sanctions only work when a government cares about the fate of its people. In North Korea there is a total disconnection between the leaders with the common people. Most of the country suffers from food shortages, even in their showcase capital of Pyongyang. Pyongyang is a drab and colorless city except for a few areas that are used for photo-ops and promoting the government’s message with propaganda presented to show the outside world a successful, well-run country.

The truth about North Korea is that Kim Jong-un is either unable, or unwilling, to suspended the country’s nuclear program. The North Korean government views the outside world as hostile and threatening, with a major fear being that South Korea will gain an upper hand on the world stage. 

For South Korea to be stronger than the North is a situation that the North Korean leaders apparently cannot, and will not, allow. 

The tightening of sanctions by the UN is not working. Since 2009, North Korea has tested missiles capable of striking the U.S., suspended a food agreement with America, and repudiated its treaty with South Korea. It also has developed ties to Iran. 

While North Korea has denied reports of Iranian observers at the latest rocket launch, Western intelligent agencies are reporting the Iranians were present. The appearance of Iranians at the launch can mean only one thing; the Iranians are interested in purchasing these missiles or the missile designs.

It would be difficult for the North Koreans to ship missiles to Iran. The Western allies, following the U.S. lead, would place a quarantine on these shipments. Therefore, it makes more sense that the Iranians were at the launch for clandestine reasons of either buying the designs, or getting affirmation that the designs they’ve already purchased from North Korea are valid and successful. 

The question becomes, “What can the West and the U.S. do about the North Korean conundrum?”

North Korea is a country of endless contradictions and extraordinary strength. While its leadership fails to feed its people, the people are abnormally loyal to its leadership.  The answer may just lie with China. 

Larry Momo writes columns for the Washington Times Community Section and the San Pedro News Pilot.


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Larry A Momo

Larry Momo has been labeled by his family as a curmudgeon, nit picky and a complainer.  After four years in the Air Force working for the National Security Agency, Mr. Momo returned to the city of Los Angeles and attended Cerritos College and the University of Southern California.  He studied political science and accounting before taking the helm of the family business. 

Some years later, he sold the family business and moved his family to Yakima, Washington where he developed a business in micro-computers.  After sixteen years of programming, Mr. Momo accepted a CEO position of a small company near Portland, Oregon, from which he retired in 2004. 

Never one to sit around, he now works as a school bus driver in addition to his social security.  Writing and contributing to the political dialogue of our country, plus being a curmudgeon, is his developing art form.  Please read and enjoy A Curmudgeon’s View and feel free not to agree with everything written by him.  After all, he is a curmudgeon.


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