Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 22:19 p.m. DST, 13 April 2012
PYONGYANG, North Korea – Yesterday, amid the fanfare of ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of North Korea’s founder and “eternal president” Kim Il-sung, his grandson, Kim Jong-un suffered a humiliating set-back when the rocket that was to herald his military might and validate his ascendancy, disintegrated shortly after lift-off.
North Korea’s defiance in launching the rocket despite threats by America and Japan to shoot down any missile launches from the Communist state is definitely a loss of face for Kim Jong-un’s government.
It was speculated by observing nations that the missile may have crashed due to the unusual silence from the North Korean government shortly after the launch. News outlets who were in contact with reporters who had been allowed into the country to witness the event, receive little or no information from their people on the ground.
In fact, one reporter stated that no one in the press corps had been informed of the launch, much less of the outcome. Officials did not come to present a press conference to confirm the success or failure of the launch, and their ‘handlers’ were as dismayed with the lack of guidance from senior leaders.
Later, the country’s official news agency confirmed that the rocket launch was a failure, after officials in other countries said that the suspected long-range missile had crashed into the sea. In addition to the loss of the rocket, the North Koreans said that the satellite that they intended to launch into space was also destroyed in the crash.
“The earth observation satellite failed to enter its preset orbit. Scientists, technicians and experts are now looking into the cause of the failure,” North Korea’s official KCNA news agency reported.
In order to minimize its overt disregard of the UN resolution that prohibits any launch using ballistic missile technology, Pyongyang claimed that the purpose of Friday’s launch was to put a weather satellite into space. However, non-proliferation experts express skepticism since this is the third time that North Korean has initiated long-range missile tests.
South Korean and other nations in the Northeastern Asia feel that this launch was an extremely aggressive act that threatens the peace, stability and security of the region. They view this launch as particularly troublesome given North Korea’s previous pattern of failed rocket launches followed by nuclear testing, which many view as the actual goal of these exercises.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned Friday’s launch despite its failure.
“[It] is deplorable as it defies the firm and unanimous stance of the international community,” a statement from his office said. “The launch is in direct violation of Security Council Resolution 1874 and threatens regional stability.”
The United States meanwhile condemned North Korea’s “propaganda” displays.
“North Korea is only further isolating itself by engaging in provocative acts, and is wasting its money on weapons and propaganda displays while the North Korean people go hungry,” Jay Carney, the White House spokesperson, said.
Osamu Fujimura, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said the rocket launch was a “grave provocation”.
The Group of Eight (G-8) bloc of industrialised nations also condemned the launch, while China called for calm on the Korean peninsula.
“We hope all parties can maintain calm and restraint and not do anything to harm peace and stability on the peninsula and in the region,” Liu Weimin, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said in a statement. (Source: Aljazeera)
The world must wait and see North Korea’s next move toward continued nuclear testing and aggressive posturing in the region, but the UN Security Council has gone on the offensive and said it would meet in an emergency session on Friday to discuss the situation.Follow Nahmias Cipher Report on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report