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     Apr 5, 2012

US shoots down East Asian peace
By Kim Myong Chol

"To err is human, to forgive divine." - Alexander Pope

Despite the United States-initiated chorus of protests, the North Korean administration led by heaven-sent statesman and supreme leader Kim Jong-eun will celebrate the centenary of the birth of its god-like founding father Kim Il-sung by shooting off a

spectacular firework: a polar-orbiting observation satellite launched into space between April 12 and 16.

The Kim Jong-eun administration does not share the view that the planned satellite launch imperils the February 29 North Korea-US nuclear agreement. The North Koreans are of the firm view that a Cold Warrior mindset has misled the Americans to mistake the launch of an observation satellite that of a ballistic missile test.

The Kim Jong-eun administration has four reasons to disregard the US charges as unfounded and go ahead with the launch.

Firstly, the satellite launch has long been planned as part of nationwide celebrations for Kim Il-sung's centenary. No one can stand in its way.
Secondly, firing a satellite into orbit is pursuant to the will of the late, great fatherly leader Kim Jong-il. For the Korean people, there is no disobeying it.
Thirdly, the Kim Jong-eun administration is only exercising its inalienable right of sovereignty. For Pyongyang to yield to outside pressure and demur on the planned satellite would suggest that North Koreans are not as proud a people as they are.
Fourthly, the payload mounted on the Unha (Milky Way) rocket is a polar-orbiting observation satellite. It is designed to transmit important prospecting data on the underground resources of the Korean Peninsula, as well as weather and mapping data.

When a carrier rocket leaves the launch pad, an international bevy of experts on space technology and journalists will have little difficulty is discerning whether this is a scientific satellite launch or an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test. This will prove most embarrassing to the Barack Obama administration, the South Korean administration of President Lee Myung-bak and the Japanese government.

US's overreaction betrays fear
A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman in a March 31 statement accused the Obama administration of being afraid of objective verification of the peaceful nature of the satellite launch.

Fear accounts for the Americans' deliberate over-reaction to the North Korean satellite launch, the spokesman said. He cited two compelling facts, one being the order issued to the US's National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) not to send observers to North Korea and the other undue pressure brought upon other countries to follow suit.

He went on to describe the American portrayal of the peaceful satellite launch as a handy pretext to press for establishing a missile defense system in East Asia with a view to restarting the Cold War, in a bid to rescue a Pax Americana on the brink of collapse.

Full public knowledge that the payload of the North Korean Unha rocket is not a warhead but a pure observation satellite would pull the rug from the US case for a missile defense system.

There is an important historical context found in "North Korean Missile Test Surprised US", an Associated Press (AP) report from September, 1998.

It notes that "US intelligence officials told lawmakers Wednesday they were caught unawares by North Korea's test-firing of a third-stage rocket". However, this "surprise" failed to prompt the second-term Bill Clinton administration to abandon the October 21, 1994, Agreed Framework, which was later unilaterally terminated by the George W Bush administration.

After the 1998 launch, the US continued work on the construction in North Korea of two 1,000 megawatt (MW) light water reactors (LWR) power plants and supply Pyongyang with 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil per year.

As a matter of course, the second-term Clinton administration initially condemned the August 31, 1998, satellite launch as a ballistic missile test in disguise. However, it went out of its way two weeks later to retract its initial assessment, calling it "a satellite".

On September 4, an anonymous US intelligence officer told Reuters, "We have seen that report and we are still evaluating the data connected with the launch and we cannot at this point rule out that an object was placed in orbit." The Reuters news story was headlined, "US Can't Rule Out N Korea Launched Satellite."

Ten days later, September 14, the State Department courageously backed away from its initial assessments and acknowledged that the object launched by North Korea in the western Pacific two weeks earlier was a satellite and not a missile.

State Department spokesman James P Rubin told AP, "The object launched by North Korea in the western Pacific two weeks ago was a satellite and not a missile."

The response of the second-term Clinton administration shows that the Americans were honest enough to admit their error and correct it in public, a characteristic American moral quality lacking in the Barack Obama administration.

Scott A Snyder, senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on US-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, recommended a pre-emptive strike on the North Korean carrier rocket perched on the launch pad in a March 22 article, "How to Stop North Korea's Satellite Test."

Bush also proposed the a pre-emptive strike but refused to use it against an North Korea armed to the teeth.

Snyder's crazy recommendations are based on a June 22, 2006, Washington Post op-ed piece of two Clinton-era top defense officials, former secretary of defense William J Perry and former assistant secretary of defense Ashton B Carter, headlined, "If Necessary, Strike and Destroy."

The irony is that the self-styled three hawks-come-lately are totally unaware that they sound like puppies unafraid of a tiger.

Whether they acknowledge it or not, North Korea is the fourth-most powerful nuclear weapons state, just after the US, Russia and China. North Korea is the sole state ready to engage the sole superpower in nuclear war with the US mainland transformed into the first theater of thermonuclear conflagration.

A pre-emptive strike on the North Korean Unha rocket would prompt Supreme Commander Kim Jong-eun to order the Korean People's Army global strike force to retaliate in a way unimaginable to the American policy-planners, bombing the Metropolitan US back to the Stone Age and completing the job by vaporizing it until there was no trace.

The contemporary Kwanggaeto (the 19th monarch of Goguryeo, the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms of Korea) - the Great Kim Jong-eun - is one click away from ordering the KPA:
  • To launch an immediate all-out cyber-attack to play havoc with all the computer systems throughout the US to reduce its government, military, economy and culture dysfunctional.
  • To mount an electromagnetic pulse assault on the US mainland with hydrogen bombs detonated far above on its heart.
  • To deliver thermonuclear warheads onto key cities such as New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Austin, New Orleans, and Jacksonville.
  • To vaporize them without any trace left on the ground.

    That is why the Bush administration opted not to strike North Korea but to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

    In his op-ed in the March 12, 2003 edition of the Los Angeles Times, former assistant secretary of defense and currently Dean of Harvard University's John F Kennedy School of Government, Dr Joseph Nye wrote:
    The decision to focus on Iraq rather than North Korea shows that deterrence works, but in this case what it shows is North Korea's ability to deter the United States. With more than 11,000 artillery tubes hidden in caves in the demilitarized zone, North Korea can devastate Seoul even without weapons of mass destruction. This reality prevented the Clinton administration from executing a preemptive strike against North Korea's nuclear facilities at Yongbyon in 1994.
    In his 2006 book, State of Denial, Bob Woodward quoted Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States and a close friend of the first president Bush as saying:
    The 38,000 American troops right on the border [with North Korea] ... If nothing else counts, this counts. One shot across the border and you lose half these people immediately. You lose 15,000 Americans in a chemical or biological or even regular attack. The United States of America is at war instantly.
    In his 2006 book, Perspectives on US Policy Toward North Korea: Stalemate or Checkmate, Professor Sharon Richardson of the United States Air Force Academy writes:
    A military operation to overthrow the regime such as that occurred in Iraq would have serious repercussions. The main difference between the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] and Iraq is that three of the world's 12 largest economies as well as 37,000 US troops are within striking distance of the DPRK. If the DPRK felt threatened, retaliation would produce numerous casualties and regional economic devastation; experts speculate that war against the DPRK could cause 500,000 casualties, according to an estimate attributed to former commander of US Forces Korea General Gary Luck, would cause one million casualties and cost $1 trillion in economic damage.

    Limited military engagement to topple Kim [Jong-il] and his regime, or to strike at suspected nuclear sites, could precipitate a full-scale war or lead to similar, but smaller-scale damage from DPRK retaliation. The resulting casualties would be an unacceptable risk. The regime could also detonate one of its suspected nuclear weapons against the US forces and civilian populations. Thus, even a limited military strike is unthinkable.
    Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry told the New York Times on March 6, 2004:
    But there's a reason the Bush administration walked that backwards and chose Iraq. And the reason is in the first eight hours of a conflict with North Korea, you'd have over a million casualties, and they knew that in Iraq you wouldn't. So part of their choice of Iraq was, very simple phrase: it could be done. It was there for the doing. North Korea is less there for the doing. So they have a different approach. As we did with Russia for 50 years, with China.
    The doyen of hardliners then, vice president Dick Cheney rejected calls for a pre-emptive military strike to destroy a potential North Korean missile launch site made by the two Clinton-era top defense officials. He said in a CNN interview June 23, 2006:
    Cheney, however, told CNN that, while "I appreciate Bill's advice," such an action could worsen the situation.

    "I think, at this stage, we are addressing the issue in the proper fashion ... obviously, if you are going to launch strikes at another nation, you better be prepared to not fire just one shot. The fact of the matter is, I think, the issue is being addressed appropriately."
    Obama blinked, visibly trembling
    All indications are that Obama has blinked in the face of the resolute, principled stand of the DPRK.

    The North Korean Peaceful Reunification Committee on March 23 threatened to take "powerful counter-measures of the sort unimaginable to anybody else if the nuclear security summit should dare come up with a conspiratorial scheme to provoke the DPRK, taking issue with its nuclear deterrence and peaceful satellite launch".

    Two episodes show beyond doubt that despite his tough language, the American president is trembling in his shoes.

    One is Obama's visit to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas and the other is the March 26-27 Seoul nuclear security summit, which was overshadowed by the satellite issue.

    Arriving in Seoul on March 25, Obama proceeded directly to the DMZ to look strong, but he could only stay at the windswept observation point a short 10 minutes, shielded by a wall of two-inch-thick bullet-proof glass. He shied away from popping into the armistice conference room at Panmunjom.

    Televised images of Obama cutting short his trip to the DMZ could spoil his commander-in-chief credentials in an election year.

    Reuters reported March 26: "Analysis: North Korea Odd Man Out Yet Everywhere." "The White House called North Korea the odd man out. President Barack Obama counted it back in."

    Reuters quoted Sharon Squassoni, director of the proliferation prevention program at the Center for International and Strategic Studies as commenting:
    It's hard enough to keep attention on nuclear security, because there is disagreement on the threat and what to do about it. A summit is a completely inappropriate venue for dealing with the North Korean threat.

    A summit of 54 leaders is not a negotiating forum.
    Obama tried to look strong by issuing a blunt warning to North Korea but he saw to it that the Seoul communique issued at the end of the summit made no mention of North Korea's nuclear deterrence and satellite launch plan.

    It is safe to guess that almost all the summit leaders must have left Seoul with a lasting impression that Obama is no match to the young but canny fox Kim Jong-eun of the nuclear-armed North Korea. Kim jong-eun is another Kim Il-sung in image and action. The acorns don't fall far from the tree.

    Jaw-dropping satellite launch technology
    An invited bevy of overseas experienced experts on space technology and journalists will most likely find their jaws dropping when they are taken to a tour of the ultra-modem Sohae Satellite Launch Station, the general control and command center and allowed to observe the liftoff of a heavy-lift Unha rocket carrying an observation satellite.

    They will doubt their eyes at the sight of a highly sophisticated, shiny heavy-lift satellite launch vehicle lifting off, all its component parts and electronic gear, indigenously designed and produced.

    Overseas space experts and media people will gain indisputable evidence that the North Korean rocket does not carry a warhead but a peaceful satellite as its payload. All the world will see that there is no factual basis in the allegations heaped on Pyongyang by Obama and company, which are similar to the pre-war hype by Bush and company presented to justify their invasion of Iraq.

    The Americans, the South Koreans, the Japanese and UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon will look fools, totally discredited in the eyes of the world audience. Meanwhile, a successful launch of an observation satellite into polar orbit will provide the North Koreans with publicity for low-cost satellite launch services available to any interested party around the globe.

    The US has two options left to weigh as the North puts the final touches to preparations for the April 15 ceremony.

    Firstly, Washington could display the moral strength to belatedly backtrack on its threats to cancel the promised food aid, instead exploiting the satellite blastoff as the once-in-lifetime opportunity to show goodwill to North Korea. Secondly, it could act blindly, brand this launch as a cover for a missile test and welch on the accord.

    The first option calls for the Americans to take steps to recapture high moral ground and reaffirm to North Korea that "it no longer has hostile intent toward the DPRK". The Obama administration could accept the invitation to send experts to watch the event and announce plans to congratulate the Kim Jong-eun administration on the 100th birthday anniversary of Kim Il-sung.

    United States Vice President Joseph Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry are possible candidates to be a presidential envoy to Pyongyang. The Americans could go further by considering arranging a satellite rendezvous with the North Korean in outer space.

    This stance would go a long way towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. A US show of goodwill will spur a virtuous chain of events, paving the way for a major diplomatic breakthrough that will leave the North Koreans too satisfied to feel it necessary to beef up their nuclear arsenal.

    A continuing moratorium will be placed on nuclear and long-range missile tests and uranium enrichment operations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) granted access to the uranium facility. A net outcome will be a relaxation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, improved relations and a peace treaty between the nuclear-armed long-term adversaries featuring a mutual detargeting agreement

    Terminating yet another nuclear deal, however, will lead to additional nuclear tests and long-range missile tests with enriched uranium enrichment churned out on an expanded basis and IAEA inspectors kicked out of the country for the third time. North Korea will be allowed to emerge as a potential nuclear Wal-Mart. Countries on the threshold of nuclear weapons technology will be encouraged to follow suit.

    The US can continue its all-too-familiar, counterproductive pattern of action of threats to cancel the promised supply of 240,000 tons of food nutrients, and move to railroad another resolution through the UN Security Council in a senseless bid to put the screws on North Korea. This will automatically be construed as a virtual declaration of war by the North Koreans. The Americans will face the worst-case scenario of risking nuclear annihilation in an election year.

    Kim Myong Chol is author of a number of books and papers in Korean, Japanese and English on North Korea, including Kim Jong-il's Strategy for Reunification. He has a PhD from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's Academy of Social Sciences and is often called an "unofficial" spokesman of Kim Jong-il and North Korea.

    (Copyright 2012 Kim Myong Chol.) 
  • Japan sets sights on Pyongyang's launch
    Apr 3, '12

    The North: It's one big party
    Mar 30, '12

    North Korean missile ultimatums fall short



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