Oh No!! North Korea launched ten, six, three, at least five, “a series” of missiles, including what is said to have been a test of its long-range Taepodong-2.
Start panicking now!
A U.S. State Department official in Washington told Reuters a long-range missile, believed to be a Taepodong-2, failed 40 seconds after it was launched.
Experts say the Taepodong-2 has a possible range of 3,500-4,300 km (2,190-2,690 miles).
Daniel Pinkston, director of the East Asia non-proliferation programme for the California-based Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said the rocket’s failure would be a blow to Pyongyang.
“If there was failure that early on in the flight, there is no way they could make any claims of test-launching a satellite as they did in 1998. They will not be able to exploit the propaganda value of that after that type of failure,” he said.
The first time North Korea test-fired a long-range missile — in 1998 over Japan — it triggered a sharp increase in tension in the region and sent shockwaves through Far East Asian financial markets.
Experts say that Pyongyang is developing long-range missiles to have the capability one day to deliver a nuclear bomb, but that it is years away from acquiring such a weapons system.
Had the Taepodong-2 not exploded shortly after launch, it would have altered the balance of power in Northeast Asia and had been a major global concern. Now, it should be of the greatest concern to the rocket scientists who designed the dud.*
The failure is also a setback for the writers at the Korean Central News Agency, who issued this this amusing threat on Monday:
North Korea would respond to a pre-emptive U.S. military attack with an “annihilating strike and a nuclear war,” the state-run media said Monday, heightening anti-U.S. rhetoric amid close scrutiny of its missile program.
The title of this post was stolen from Arms Control Wonk, who offers the following multiple-choice question.:
So who looks more foolish here?
A. Kim Jong-Il for staging a July 4th fireworks display that blew up in his face;
B. William Perry and Ash Carter for hyperventilating that we had to blow up this missile on the launch pad, instead of waiting for it to blow itself up 40 seconds after launch;
C. All those reporter who repeated the Pentagon palbum about how until the launch failure “we were ready to do what was necessary to defend the country,” as if the interceptors in Alaska had any chance of intercepting anything; or
D. All of the above.
*AsiaPundit does not have any detailed knowledge of the inner workings of North Korean bureaucracy, but he expects Kim Jong-il views failure in a similar light as do other evil overlords. If not, those North Korean guys are at the very least in for a serious razzing at the next rogue state propagandist convention.
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July 5th, 2006 at 6:00 pm
Now if only the US media would focus on the fact that the launch was a failure instead of the current focus of implying the US policy on North Korea is some kind of failure because they fired some missiles. I look at the missile tests today as a success of US policy because the US got Kim Jong-il to show his hand and obviously his hand is not very strong if his big bad Taepo-dong2 cannot even make across the Sea of Japan.
July 5th, 2006 at 8:52 pm
Ever thought that the DPRK deliberately failed the missile test? No? Of course not! Why would the DPRK carry out a failed missile test? To threaten without truly threatening? Now why would they do that? Because they really want to talk? At any rate, underestimate your opponents at your peril, whether in the Middle East or the Far East.
July 6th, 2006 at 9:49 am
[…] For those of us not up on the latest in military/scientist/foreign policy euphemism, Asiapundit clarifies that missile “failure” means the thing exploded 40 seconds after liftoff, making the missile more of a threat to North Korea itself than any of its neighbors. […]
July 6th, 2006 at 5:08 pm
It makes no sense to deliberately fail the missile test. If the missile was successful and reached 2000km Kim would have greatly increased his bargaining power during negotiations because he would have proved to the US that he had the capability to his US soil.
Plus if the missile worked he would have probably proved the US missile defense system is not ready yet. Deliberately failing the test has no positives just negatives. Plus I am not underestimating the Norks. As I have long advocated on my blog that military action is by far the last resort because any US brinkmanship ends with South Koreans paying in blood due to the very real conventional military threat from the Norks.
October 4th, 2006 at 11:23 am
Apparently, all the missiles came down in the same area in the Sea of Japan.
So, by sheer chance, the “failed” missile landed in the group, all directed at Japan?
Maybe. But Tony may be right; don’t underestimate the North. To launch a missile close
to Alaska or Hawaii might be more provocative than the North cares to act right now.
And perhaps the North would like to see Japan in favor (quietly) of two-party talks
between the North and the U.S.? (Also, as an aside, check out the record of failed U.S.
NMD tests, and the rigging of “successful” tests.)