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The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
In-depth critical analysis of the forces shaping the Asia-Pacific...and the world.
Double Standard on DPRK Space Launches 北朝鮮の衛星発射に対するダブルスタンダード−−バランスを取ろうではないか
Apr. 15, 2012

John Hallam


Originally published at People for Nuclear Disarmament


We are seeing yet once more, a double-standard in dealing with the PDRKs space and missile launches.

PND is calling for balance in the way we talk about both DPRK and US and Russian space and missile launches.

While the DPRK's aggressive rhetoric in dealing with the US and the RoK does it no favours, it must surely be seen as odd, that

--When, as happens 2-3 times a year, the US test launches what is unambiguously and definitely a nuclear-capable Minuteman-III ICBM from Vandenberg toward Kwajelein, apart from a hardy band of protestors at Vandenberg, everyone thinks it is perfectly routine.

--The same happens when Russia launches Topol-M or SS-18 missiles.

Even when India launches its latest iteration of Agni, few eyebrows get raised.

--One or two eyebrows might be raised when Pakistan tests short range tactical Hatf missiles, thereby lowering the threshold for nuclear apocalypse in South Asia.

Let me emphasise this. The US and Russia, who hang desperatey on to their ability to make the planet uninhabitable in 40minutes at an hour and a half, test missiles whose only purpose is to deliver nuclear warheads. It's a yawn. The US and Russia maintain over a thousand warheads each on high alert, and 20 years after the cold war has supposedly ended, continue to drill for the apocalypse on a regular basis. Nobody notices. Or cares.

The DPRK tests something that is at least SUPPOSED to be a space satellite. All their previous satellite launches for various reasons, have not worked at all. There is no reason for optimism over this one either.

And it's the end of the world.
Strange, PND was under the impression that this was the US and Russia's portfolio.

As the DPRK has made clear for many years that it (rightly or wrongly) doesn't regard space launches as anything to do with nuclear missiles even though the technology used for the one is indistinguishable from that used for the other – this should have been at least seen coming.

The imbroglio over the DPRK launch planned for April 15 will almost certainly de-rail both the food aid deal, and any further talks over nuclear weapons. This is hardly an unexpected outcome.

If the food aid deal disappears as it is likely to, and if the talks go completely off the track, then we may well also, see a third nuclear test.

The DPRK sees its missile and putative space technology as an asset it cannot do without.

Any agreement that fails to take this into account will fail, achieving yet further nuclear tests and further dangerous confrontation.

All this for a space launch that in all likelihood will fail as the other space launches have done thus far.

John Hallam,
People for Nuclear Disarmament ,


北朝鮮の衛星発射に対するダブルスタンダードバランスを取ろうではないか ジョン・ハラム(People for Nuclear Disarmament)

翻訳 田中泉 翻訳協力 乗松聡子


北朝鮮の人工衛星・ミサイル発射への対応に、またしてもダブルスタンダードが見られる。北朝鮮による人工衛星・ミサイル発射と、米国とロシアによる人工衛星・ミサイル発射、その両方の扱いに対して、PND(People for Nuclear Disarmament)はバランスを求める。





























Asia-Pacific Journal articles on related issues:


Gavan McCormack, North Korea's 100th – To Celebrate or To Surrender?


Ruediger Frank, North Korea after Kim Jong Il: The Kim Jong Un era and its challenges


Wada Haruki, Kim Jong-il and the Normalization of Japan-North Korea Relations


Bruce Cumings
In addition to John Hallam's cogent remarks, it should be pointed out that South Korea launched two missile/satellite attempts in 2009 and 2010, both of them failures. The U.S. opposed helping South Korea with these long-range missiles, so Seoul went to Moscow for help; both missiles were combined Russian-South Korean models. The 108-foot KSLV-1 was estimated to cost $400 million, around the cost for North Korea's April 13th missile, and rather like the latter, it exploded 137 seconds after takeoff on June 10, 2010. South Korea is a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime, which limits their missiles to 300 km or 180 miles. Seoul has sought U.S. permission for missiles of a longer range, but so far has not gotten it. So the North could make the argument that in spite of Seoul's membership in the MTCR, no one criticized its missile launches (and the media paid them almost no attention). Furthermore Japan (also an MTCR member) has launched at least four missiles with satellites directed specifically at spying on North Korea. It is remarkable that most of the world's media failed to point out the frequency and alacrity with which other countries launch satellites atop long-range missiles, as John says, and that North Korea's neighborhood is clearly one where having one's own satellite launching capability is hardly an idle matter.
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