North Korea Successfully Launches Long Range Rocket

After numerous failures, the North Koreans succeeded in launching a rocket that could reach across the Pacific:

(Reuters) – North Korea successfully launched a rocket on Wednesday, boosting the credentials of its new leader and stepping up the threat the isolated and impoverished state poses to opponents.

The rocket, which North Korea says put a weather satellite into orbit, has been labeled by the United States, South Korea and Japan as a test of technology that could one day deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting targets as far away as the continental United States.

“The satellite has entered the planned orbit,” a North Korean television news reader clad in traditional Korean garb announced, after which the station played patriotic songs with the lyrics “Chosun (Korea) does what it says”.

The rocket was launched just before 10 a.m. (0100 GMT), according to defense officials in South Korea and Japan, and was more successful than a rocket launched in April that flew for less than two minutes.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said that it “deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit”, the first time an independent body has verified North Korean claims.

North Korea followed what it said was a similar successful launch in 2009 with a nuclear test that prompted the U.N. Security Council to stiffen sanctions that it originally imposed in 2006 after the North’s first nuclear test.

North Korea is banned from developing nuclear and missile-related technology under U.N. resolutions, although Kim Jong-un, the youthful head of state who took power a year ago, is believed to have continued the state’s “military first” programs put in place by his late father, Kim Jong-Il.

This is a pretty blatant violation of a boat load of United Nations Resolutions, but it’s unclear what if anything the international community can do at this point. The U.S. and other nations already cut back on food aid to the nation when North Korea pursued it’s unsuccessful test launch back in April, and it’s unlikely that China would authorize any further sanctions out of the Security Council at this point. Instead, we’re likely to see a renewal of efforts by the U.S., Japan, and South Korea to beef up defense in the area.

FILED UNDER: Asia, Quick Takes, World Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Gustopher says:

    Throughout the 1950s and up to the 1970s, we helped organize various coups in Latin America and the Mid-East. It didn’t always work out as well as we hoped (actually, it never did), but it’s a little unfortunate we seem to have abandoned that strategy altogether.

    If Kim Jong-un were lying face down in the dirt, are there any of the remaining generals who would do a worse job either for their own people or our interests? Even a more traditional satellite state of the Chinese would remove an oft-times irrational actor in the region, and might do a better job with handling the famine and opening up the country just a little bit.

    I grow less tolerant of bullish.t in my old age, and the Kim dynasty is clearly just bullish.t. Kill them. Kill them now before they have more rockets and more nukes. Kill them while they are over there and mostly contained.

  2. @Gustopher:

    Nothing like that is going to happen in North Korea unless the Chinese are behind it.

  3. PJ says:

    Anyone looking at a map will notice that North Korea doesn’t need nuclear weapons or long range rockets to lay waste to Seoul.

  4. matt says:

    @PJ: YEs all the artillery aimed at Seoul will do it much quicker and better since we have no anti-artillery system.