As of Sunday Morning 6 am PST
Following a month of sabre-rattling, North Korea defiantly carried out a rocket launch Sunday (K time). The U.S., Japan, and other nations suspect the launch is a cover for the testing of NKs long-range missile technology.
Liftoff took place at 11:30 a.m. from the coastal Musudan-rilaunch pad in northeastern North Korea.
The move by North Korea has sparked an uproar and strong voices of concern from the international community. The United States and Japan are calling for sanctions against NK through the U.N. Security Council.
I expect China and Russia, although they warned North Korea not to launch the missile, to call for a more moderate approach.
North Korea comments
North Korea claims it put a communications satellite into orbit in a step toward becoming a “powerful nation.”
The North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), announced that the satellite Kwangmyongsong-2 is running "on its routine orbit" and "sending to the earth the melodies of immortal revolutionary paeans" to leader Kim Jong-il and his father and late President Kim Il-sung.
The South Korean government and the U.S. military has confirmed that no North Korean satellite made it into orbit--all 3 stages falling into the Pacific Ocean.
North Korea may have spent up to US$500 million to send up the satellite.
The North will fall short of more than one million tons of food to feed its 24 million people this year. Like in the past, NK looks to China, South Korea, and the U.S. for rice and food aid.
Three reason why North Korea launched the rocket.
1. It’s a strategy to boost internal unity in North Korea
2. To increase pressure on Washington for bi-lateral talks
3. And, possibly a sales pitch for possible buyers of NK arms technology. NK sells lots of arms including an array of missiles.
1. Economists in South Korea feel the rocket firing will not have a negative effect on consumption and investment as private and business spending has been already dented by the global economic recession. I do feel NK's antics does however impact FDI, since it does raise concerns over stability in the region.
2. Despite North Korean saber-rattling in the past month, the local bourse and foreign exchange rates were not seriously hurt and actually improved.
3. Finally, as in the past, few in South Korea get overly concerned over the North's antics---most folks are more concerned over their job, the economy, and family.
Questions? Concerns? Thoughts?