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Monday, March 26, 2012

North Korean satellite launch a cover for Iranian long-range missile test

For those who don't follow me on Twitter, you're missing out, because I had to be away for a few hours (longer than expected) and I tweeted about this earlier.

Israel HaYom is reporting that a scheduled satellite launch by North Korea next month is actually a front for an Iranian long-range missile test.
North Korea has moved a long-range rocket to a launching site, apparently determined to press ahead with its plan to launch a satellite in defiance of international condemnation, the South Korean military said Sunday, The New York Times reported. The Times article said that the North Koreans moved the main body of the Unha-3 rocket to the newly built launching station in Dongchang-ri, a village in northwest North Korea.

The satellite launch is expected to take place between April 12 and 16. North Korea has claimed that the launch is for “peaceful purposes only,” and to celebrate the April 15 centenary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il Sung. Kim’s grandson, Kim Jong Un, has led the nation of 24 million since his father, Kim Jong Il, died in December. North Korea has also claimed that the launch will not affect its neighbors and that it wasn’t violating an agreement with the West under which North Korea has agreed to suspend its nuclear program in exchange for food shipments. Within the agreement, North Korea has agreed to halt the testing of ballistic missiles and to stop enriching uranium at its nuclear facility in Yongbyon.

Pyongyan's neighbor and nemesis, Seoul, warned Monday that it might shoot down parts of the North Korean rocket if they violate South Korean territory, as worries about what Washington calls a long-range missile test overshadowed an international nuclear security summit, AP reported on Monday.

Western security officials now believe that sending the satellite into space is only a pretext for the primary goal of the launch, and that the actual purpose is to test a long-range ballistic missile belonging to another country. Suspicions, as stated, have fallen on Iran.


Western defense officials believe that the upcoming launch is a continuation of Iran and North Korea’s cooperation. According to this assessment, North Korea’s new president, Kim Jong Un, is seeking to demonstrate to his people that he is no less hawkish or determined than his father, but wouldn’t risk suspending the nuclear-freeze-for-food agreement with the West unless a significant economic interest convinced him otherwise.

According to the assessment, the launch is part of an existing comprehensive agreement that North Korea has obligated itself to, and that its concern about losing income from the deal with Iran has forced it to announce the satellite launch, despite unease over open confrontation with the West.
I guess those sanctions must be having a really serious impact on Iran's ability to buy the things it wants....

As you might recall, I reported earlier this month that North Korea carried out a nuclear test for Iran in 2010. They don't seem to fear President Obama's finger shaking at them very much, do they? And an Iranian ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile - that's what 'long-range' means) is something that ought to concern the United States very much.

Read the whole thing.

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