Bracing for North Korea’s Missile Launch

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As the United States attempts to convince North Korea to cancel a planned launch of an ICBM that is supposed to put a satellite in orbit, several Far East nations are making preparations to intercept the missile if it flies over their air space and divert air traffic from its expected flight path.

Japan, South Korea, Philippines, and Indonesia are taking steps to protect themselves from the unpredictable actions of the North Koreans, as well as the possibility that the unsophisticated design and poorly built missile might veer off course and cause damage if it crashes in their territory. Pressure on North Korea to cancel the launch has been intensifying in the last 48 hours as China and Russia — two of North Korea’s few friends in the world — have indicated their opposition to the launch. And if tensions weren’t high enough, South Korea intelligence is reporting that the North is readying another test of a nuclear weapon — a tremendously provocative action that, taken in context with the launch of the ICBM, sends an unmistakable signal that North Korea is approaching the point that it can deliver its nuclear weapons thousands of miles from its homeland.

The US has already suspended a recent agreement to supply North Korea with 240,000 metric tons of food and is threatening a complete cut-off if the missile is launched. But some analysts believe that the North Korean military is calling the shots on the missile launch and opposed the food agreement made by the civilian government. Other observers believe that the North Korean government has calculated that it is more important to boost the image of their new leader, Kim Jong-Un, than bow to pressure from the US in order to feed its starving population.

The missile launch is supposed to take place any time between April 12-16, although a spokesman for the North Koreans says it is ready to fly now. Washington not only believes the launch will be “provocative,” but that it would be a direct threat to regional security.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointed out after talks with the Japanese foreign minister that the launch would violate several UN Security Council resolutions. UN Ambassador Susan Rice warned that there was “no disagreement among members of the [security] council that this is a provocative act, and an act that the North Koreans should refrain from undertaking.” Both Rice and Clinton said that “appropriate action” would be taken at the UN if North Korea went through with its plans.

Japan and South Korea will have their anti-missile defenses on high alert and will attempt to shoot down the missile if it violates their air space. The projected path of the missile is over water but past launches by North Korea have not been accurate. In 1998, a long range missile fired from North Korea passed over Japanese territory eventually falling into the ocean. There have also been several failures of North Korean rockets, including several that have blown up on the pad or shortly after liftoff. Japan has deployed its interceptors from southernmost Okinawa to the capital Tokyo, as well as sending three Aegis class destroyers armed with anti-missile technology into the East China Sea area. Experts worry that if Japan or South Korea end up shooting down the missile, that the North would take some kind of retaliatory action that might ratchet up tensions in the region even more.

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  • Bamaguje

    To permanently neutralize the North Korean threat, the United States and/or South Korea should embark on targeted preemptive airstrikes on North Korea's entire nuclear and rocket launching infrastructure…Just as Israel did to Iraqi & Syrian nuclear reactors.
    And if the North Koreans do something stupid like artillery barrages on the south; America & South Korea should then go for the jugular and deliberately target North Korea's insane leadership for elimination.
    We must not wait until North Korea perfects it burgeoning nuclear and ICBM capabilities, because by then it might be too late.

  • crackerjack

    We accept Israel's "ambiguous" nukes. What authority do we have to condem Nort Korea's nukes?

    Or is the question in itself anti-Semitic, like in the case of Grass?

    • Juddea

      Nice straw man argument. A completely insane stretch, but what is most impressive is your almost flawless regurgitation of the latest MSNBC talking point.

      • crackerjack

        And lets not forget that Israel offered to sell the internationally isolated apardheid Sout Africa. Why should we trus Israel with secret nukes, but not Iran or Korea?

        • pardonmygrammar

          Because Israel does not intend to use its nukes to drive a group of people into the sea. Same goes with DPRK.

          • Ghostwriter

            Actually,the North Korean government are a pretty unstable bunch and they have lied to the world in the past. They're not very trustworthy and should be watched carefully.

          • johnnywoods

            Unfortunately Ms. Clinton like all the others in Obummer`s administration are also a bunch of liars and they have the nerve to feign shock and surprise the the commies in N.K. are liars. Wow! That is rich. Now let pick myself up off the floor from laughing so hard.

    • jacob

      Mind telling me which country has ISRAEL threatened with bombing or annihilation ??
      As to the SS Grass, he should be thankful he was banned from entering ISRAEL.
      He should have been imprisoned , judged and sentenced, as one of those murderers who not only
      escaped just punishment but even managed to get a Nobel Prize which, coming from a Judeophobic
      country, was bestowed perhaps for a similar "poem" or rather for narrating the way his SS unit
      "disposed" of Jews in WWII ?????

  • pardonmygrammar

    Very worrisome indeed. An interesting note: in the Philippines, leftist militant activists, who are supposedly "Nationalists" are ignoring the fact that this rocket test might end up in our shore. Their silence regarding this issue is deafening considering the fact that these people usually clog the main streets of the capital whenever a US navy ship drop its anchor in Manila Bay. If it's an American action these people would go crazy I tell you, but since this is an action of a state that defies the West, the Philippine Left will just it slip.

  • Tony Rome

    Rick Moran, the guy who may have to respond to the North Korean insanity is a Usurper and a criminal, just ask Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his Cold Case Posse. You should be covering this investigation day after day. Take their evidence and give it a full inspection, you will see that they have discovered some horrendous things about this President. I believe you are afraid to touch this story and shame on you. It is a slam dunk, these Arpaio investigators have been collecting and evaluating evidence for their entire lives. The document experts they gathered some of the evidence from are also men and women with unblemished and extremely professional in what they do. Again, it is a slam dunk investigation. This Usurper is the biggest National Security risk since the establishment of Home Land Security. He has the potential to become worse than Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, his dear friends of many years. We need to get him away from the Nuclear Football. This is no joke Rick Moran, and silence is a cowards way out. Our Republican candidates have sat down with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, they know the deal and they remain silent. Many members of Congress know about the evidence including the rising stars Allen West and Marco Rubio, they were HAND DELIVERED the evidence for crying out loud and they remain silent. The justices that are hearing the ballot challenges know the evidence is overwhelming and yet they keep giving this Usurper the privilege of getting on the ballot for a second time. The Conservative media has been absolutely pathetic, and that would include the folks here at Frontpage. I am shock that David Horowitz is not all over this, why isn't he??

    • johnnywoods

      Tony, I wish that you guys who are so determined to prove Obummer`s lack of qualifications to be president would focus your energies on defeating him in November. It is a little late now that he has nearly finished his term. Let`s try and make him a one term president. We could use your zeal in the campaign to unseat him.

  • Eric G

    "An example was the American Titan I and II ICBM that was propelled by solid fuel and carried a large nuclear payload. Titans were still in the US arsenal into the 1980s."

    Perhaps a typo? Titan ICBMs were propelled by liquid. Current Minuteman ICBMs are solid fueled.

    • Rick Moran

      Thanks – you are right. I used the Titan as an example of a liquid fueled ICBM – and then stupidly wrote solid fuel. Will try to get my editor to change.

      • Eric G

        Having served in the USAF in Uiejeongbu, I appreciate your article. I fear our administration is underestimating their intentions.

  • wctaqiyya

    The best thing to do is shoot the damn thing down. It would even be better if the S. Koreans or Japan shoot it down. That would send just the right message to not only the N. Korean toadies but also to Iran and every potential opponent and friend. A very robust message indeed. Please God, give that commie scum in the WH the wisdom and courage to do one thing correctly. Good article Rick.

    • mrbean

      I am glad that you are not the strategist. The North Koreans have over 1 million ACTIVE men and women under arms and another 2 million in reserve. After you shoot it down better have a response plan quite a bit better that of Obama which will be to frown alot and speak sternly and say tiy are concerned from your teleprompter as the ants pour across the 38th parallel in the hindreds of thousands and the MIG 29s swarm like locusts into South Korea. Convential weapons as response definitely won't cut it.

      • wctaqiyya

        OK, I'll bite. First, you are assuming the north would attack after a shoot down of their missile. That, in my opinion, is far from certain. Very far. Second, I wasn't outlining a comprehensive war plan for N. Korea, just the missile thing. Now, let's assume, for the sake of argument, that N. Korea launches a banzai charge in response to a shoot down. What do they have? You say they have millions of soldiers who will be crawling all over S. Korea. I say they have, at most, maybe one million quickly slaughtered soldiers. The north's soldiers are malnourished, ill-trained and ill-equipped. Their equipment , both army and air force, is not maintained, is over 30 years old, has few spare parts and no fuel. This decrepit force faces the very well trained, equipped, supplied and modern 700,000 S. Korean army with 5,000,000 well trained reservists. After, at most, some kamikaze attacks from the north, the south would rule the air. Shortly after wiping out the north's suicide attacks on the most heavily defended border in the world, the south could reunite the country. Which brings us right back to shooting down that missile. If you still think the N. Korean military is scary, Google it and read the literature. The south absolutely dominates the north in every significant and insignificant metric. People, fuel, food, money, industry, etc. Even Obama can't screw this up because the S. Koreans do not need our military aid.

  • tagalog

    What is it with this incessant desire to talk and talk and talk with tyrants who only use talk to buy themselves time?

    If they shoot a missile, we shoot it down. If their people start a revolt, we take a long look at the situation and let it be known that we support the people who are friendliest to us.

    If the million-man North Korean Peoples' Army heads south across the 38th Parallel, we have cluster bombs for that eventuality. They may be highly motivated (or not), but they'll get a bit quieter when they start losing entire battalions in ten seconds or less. Then, of course, there's the occasional cruise missile to Pyongyang. And this would be a opportune moment for us to reconsider our commitment to protecting the democratic peoples of South Korea by gauging how committed they are to resisting NK Communists.

    The only thing these thugs understand is force. The more we show how much we want to talk, the weaker they think we are. Blow their pet projects up a couple of times and they'll take a tuck in themselves.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      They look at Hussein Obamma and laugh……………………….William

  • BLJ

    The biggest mistake the U.S. made was back in 1968 when those Reds attacked the USS Pueblo (which they still use as a propogannda tool) and LBJ sat on his hands. The North Koreans have also been killing US servicemen since 1953 in the DMZ.

    Yet Jimmy Carter and Ms. Albright think they are good people. I am sure the Dear Leader thinks the same. I also think the last thing South Korea wants is to merge with that economic basket case.

  • johnnywoods

    The problem is bigger than anyone has mentioned yet and that is Russia and China.

  • Endyr

    "Both Rice and Clinton said that “appropriate action” would be taken at the UN if North Korea went through with its plans"

    Liberal circular logic degobbldygook filter: "We have no idea what to do, we're making up this foreign policy stuff up as we go, but look at my new shoes!"

  • WilliamJamesWard

    So what goes up must come down, if the missile launch drops back down on their heads, Clinton
    will give them our guidance systems like Bill did for the Chicoms, the excuse being protection of
    wildlife and to slow carbon emissions……….The population continues to starve and the madmen
    continue to play……………………………….William