North Korea completes ballistic missile test


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North Korea today successfully completed a ballistic missile test.

The unidentified ballistic missile was launched at 5:27 a.m. Sunday Seoul time (4:27 p.m. Saturday ET), off Kusong north of the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, a South Korean military official told NBC News. The missile flew around 30 minutes and landed in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary said.

The missile is not believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile, U.S. Pacific Command said. Defense officials said the U.S. is assessing whether it was a success of failure. “Right now it sure looks successful,” one U.S. defense official said.

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20 comments

  • LocalFluff

    2,000 km altitude, according to South Korea’s defense minister. 4 times the altitude of the ISS. And 700 km distance during 30 minutes. Giving lots of time for air defense to prepare. Why launch so very high? To show that they can launch much further without provoking by passing over Japan? Or for trying an EMP weapons launcher?

  • LocalFluff

    Could it be that such a trajectory makes the ascent leg out of reach of anti-ballistic interceptors, and then it falls straight down with minimum area for impactors like THAAD to hit? While diving at many-mach speed and making evasive maneuvers. If the Japanese don’t want a third Hiroshima, I think they should worry and act accordingly.

    Japan abolishing commercial nuclear power for no reason and South Korea now banning THAAD, shows that North Korea by infiltration and extortion is already dominating the politics of both South Korea and Japan. I think that the US could only benefit from shooting down anything NK launches from now on. The US has nothing to lose. Only its treacherous “alias” have. If the US doesn’t put as much pressure on them that NK already does, the US will lose. It matters nothing how powerful one is, if one refuses to apply that power.

    Japan and South Korea disrespect the US. They have to be convinced, or at least ignored.

  • Cotour

    I think that there is reason for Japan to ban nuclear power or at least take a very close look at it considering Fukashima and the proven weakness in the systems considering that they all sit on the edge of the Pacific plate. Earth quakes and Tsunami’s are never going to not be a part of the Japanese existence. The South Koreans however rejecting THAAD is another story. I would think that that is a function of fearing China. The THAAD system is a direct threat to the Chinese military efforts I would think.

    Who knows, maybe this entire pumping up of the North Korea tension is really focused on the justification of the installation of the THAAD system in that region to counter the Chinese acquisition and dominance activities in the China Sea?

  • pzatchok

    It followed a simple ballistic trajectory. It rose until its fuel ran out then dropped back like a rock. No fancy dodging equipment or systems and no guidance needed. No re-entry heat shields needed either.
    They are lucky it didn’t land in Japan.

    But with that much thrust and altitude all they need to do to make it orbital is just change its flight angle closer to an orbital incursion one.
    Then we will find out if they have a re-entry and guidance systems.
    Or even control over it in orbit. But think without an around the world radio relay system they will not have any contact with it for a large portion of its flight.

  • Milt Hays, Jr.

    Dear pzatchok —

    An EMP weapon does not need to re-enter the atmosphere. The real question is why the United States and its allies continue to allow North Korea to perfect the capacity to deploy EMP weapons to which we are, at present — and by choice — essentially defenseless.

    As an aside, when the North Koreans boast of their ability to “destroy” the United States, they are simply touting their ability to loft an EMP weapon into orbit for which we have no defense, as “our” Congress has steadfastly refused to take any action to mandate the hardening of the US power grid. As studies have suggested, in the event of such an attack, upwards of 90% of the population might perish in the aftermath of the power grid going down. It’s comforting to know that the same “leadership” that brought us the SLS has determined that this is an “acceptable” situation, and that we shouldn’t worry about it.

  • LocalFluff

    pzatchok
    NK has paraded missiles with fins on their warhead. Like Chinese and Russian models which do steer upon atmospheric entry in order to avoid air defense. Especially impactors like THAAD. Like the unstoppable carrier killer missiles which will shock US Navy with a “surprising” Pearl Harbor total defeat at the beginning of the next war also. But this time at a global scale. It is just a matter of time, and maybe they have prototypes ready to fire in anger now already (the Germans fired untested prototypes of all kinds at the end of WWII). Anything NK does must be assumed to be an all out nuclear assault.

    In order to survive, the US now has to declare North Korea a no fly zone and immediately use nuclear weapons against anything that looks as if it could be an attempt to violate this necessary law for survival. North Korea hasn’t left the rest of the world any alternative but nuclear warheads as air defense.

    The only sane thing to do is a couple of thousand of nuclear impacts on North Korea NOW!

    Does the USAF still have the 20 megatonners in use? One of them is now desperately needed to crush the bunkers under Pyongyang.

  • Early Bird

    But think without an around the world radio relay system they will not have any contact with it for a large portion of its flight.

    Would the Chinese be willing to allow the North Koreans to make use of their network of ground tracking stations?

    Also, has the West determined whether or not the North Korean encrypt the radio control signals for their rockets? I’m wondering how easy it would be for someone to take control of a NK rocket in flight, causing the North Koreans to score an own goal.

  • LocalFluff

    Early Bird
    “Would the Chinese be willing to allow the North Koreans to make use of their network of ground tracking stations?”

    If they do, they must be wiped out immediately. That’s the only way to survive.

  • Cotour

    I believe that the key element in this conversation that is not being focused on comes down to one thing: CHINA.

    North Korea operates for the strategic convenience of China. While America is kept busy and is tested by North Korea, China continues its agenda of world domination. How long will we be kept busy before something of real consequence is done to stop out N. Korea (and China) ?

    Q: Will China at this moment in time come to the defense of N. Korea in any significant way?

  • LocalFluff

    The numbers of wars that China and Russia have started throughout history is very limited. Europeans and Japanese have started lots of wars. But they’ve kind of learned the lesson from it now and keep calm. The warrior gene pool has obliterated itself in all of its glorious stupidity. If I were POTUS I’d bet China would not respond on a sudden US nuclear annihilation of North Korea. They are to smart for that. NK is a monkey theater play. Chinese people have real lives, they don’t care about that crazy tiny border province and its destiny.

    I’d call Xi and say: “- Hi She! I want you to know that I just ordered an all out nuclear war on the North K, landing ten minutes from now. Don’t worry about it, it ain’t about you. Actually, I think this my breaking up with fat Kim-Kim will give new blood to our marriage. D’ya wanna drill some oil in the South China Sea together with me?”

  • Cotour

    Local:

    I love your street jargon, down and dirty talk.

  • pzatchok

    I was only commenting on its flight.
    I never said anything about this launch being an EMP test flight.
    They did that with the last one that went up 75 miles. Over a thousand km is far more than is needed for an EMP weapon. In fact that takes it out of the EMP zone of effectiveness.

    EMP does not work with every nuclear explosion in space. The Earth has to do its part also. He has a better chance of causing a candle like fizzle instead of the world shaking event it seems everyone thinks every EMP would cause.

    We have had bigger effects from natural solar flares than from nuclear caused EMP events.

    For any war head to have the ability to dodge an anti-missile the warhead alone must have the flight sophistication of a cruse missile and the ability to detect the incoming anti-missiles and then have the ability to dodge them and still come back onto its main target.
    To protect a ship I only need to throw enough at it to get it to turn far enough away that it can not turn back onto its target
    Or take it out with my own high altitude air burst nuclear weapon.

    By the way a Patriot missile can make a 12g+ turn to hit its target. NOTHING can out turn it. No plane or known missile can out run it (SR71 yes, but who flies those?). And it only has to get within 50 feet to make a kill. Its warhead is a shape charge and pretty much just a giant flying shotgun.
    The latest THAAD is pretty much just a Patriot on top of a first stage booster.

  • LocalFluff

    Somewhere in the range up to 2,000 km a nuclear detonation would cause a catastrophic EMP in the Northasian region. Since the US discovered it by chance 50+ years ago, it doesn’t seem to be so very hard for a another newbie nuclear military to do the same today. I think the EMP threat should be taken seriously.

    At least for the countries in North eastern Asia. The US really doesn’t need to care for now. If I were the president (did you ever imagine that as a kid?) I would let the gooks have the flied lice as they have chosen to cook it. Not anybody else’s problem. Take home all the ground troops and keep the carrier groups and subs to bomb anything that could possibly threaten the US. Don’t care at all about how North K responds to its neighbors. The US has no business with that kind of stuff. Let’em sort it out themselves locally. Who cares?

    I’d look forward to the action entertainment on TV. And face palm myself about how very stupid all the political leaders in North Eastern Asia have been! And their stoopid voters. But who cares, it was their choice. Maybe they too like war action? Obviously they all do, they just prefer to watch it from the first row of chairs at home. Asian culture seems to be that way. Let’s watch how they end themselves.

  • Edward

    Cotour wrote: “I believe that the key element in this conversation that is not being focused on comes down to one thing: CHINA.

    Agreed.

    The trick is in dealing with North Korea without getting China involved in a war with us. Another trick would be to prevent China from getting involved in a war that North Korea might start.

    The United States has a Department of War (Defense Department), but — unlike many liberals seem to think — we also have a Department of Peace, whose function is to prevent wars from starting or from spreading, if they do start. The State Department failed in that function, during the previous administration, and the Middle East has suffered for that failure.

  • LocalFluff

    ” we also have a Department of Peace, whose function is to prevent wars from starting or from spreading”

    That’s the problem. Accumulating conflicts without ever resolving any of them. The US must start striving for and using war proactively. And to fight them until final and permanent victory. Learn from the Romans. Mars is named after “march(ing troops)” since every spring is the time of mobilizing for war again. They originally didn’t even have a calendar for the winter months since they were impractical for decisive campaigns. Fearless Roman wars gave the world the most peaceful millennium in known history. This North Korean mess wouldn’t exist if they’ve fought the war to the end in the 1950s. The final push into Chinese territory would’ve saved millions of lives form commie murderers.

  • Early Bird

    The United States has a Department of War (Defense Department), but — unlike many liberals seem to think — we also have a Department of Peace, whose function is to prevent wars from starting or from spreading, if they do start.

    Close: the Americans have an Institute of Peace that is not a cabinet-level department à la the Department of Defence.

    Rather, the USIP is a federal institution. And while it is run under the auspices of the US government, its anaemic budget of ~$40 million dollars a year gives some indication of how seriously it is taken by that same government.

    Dennis Kucinich did propose a Department of Peace back in 2001 and repeatedly made the same proposal for some years after. However, his idea never went beyond the proposal stage, although his making such a suggestion added greatly to his charm (well, for me, anyway).

  • Early Bird


    The US must start striving for and using war proactively. And to fight them until final and permanent victory. Learn from the Romans.

    A glimpse at World Wars I and II might tell us something about how long modern armies and industrial societies can realistically be expected to wage war before they “lose heart,” so to speak.

    In the first instance, the French Army mutinied after three years of fighting. What rarely gets discussed is that, had the war not ended in late 1918, the British Army would, very likely, have followed suit; a soldier can only endure so many days of combat before he mentally breaks down and becomes a psychological casualty. Of course, one must survive in order to go to pieces, and the primary reason WWI didn’t see more psychiatric casualties was simply because most soldiers were blown to pieces long before their minds went.

    If you can find any old-timers who remember WWII (and who aren’t viewing it through rose-coloured glasses 70 years later), they will very likely tell you that, by 1945, even the people who weren’t doing the fighting were sick of the war. In the UK, everything from clothes to food to furniture was rationed…and the rationing for some items continued even after the war into the 1950’s. And that was the winning side; ask an old German what they thought about the ersatz “coffee” they were served during the war (that consisted of ground-up roasted acorns).

    Imagine, for a moment, having to have a government-issued ration coupon for just about anything you might care to eat or wear on a daily basis and you start to understand how tedious wars can become as they drag on for years. Not to mention that every day is ripe with the possibility of your getting a letter notifying you that another relative has been killed or wounded.

    I agree completely that wars, once they are started, must be fought to the bitter end. The problem is that “war fever” can only last for so long before it lapses into a bitter sullenness and resignation. If I had to place a bet on any given society, I would bet that they would be good for five years of continuous fighting, tops, before reaching a point where they just don’t want to know.

    It’s not a matter of people being weak or cowardly or anything like that at all. It is, instead, simply a matter of human nature and the fact that people, no matter how brave or inspired, can only take so much for so long. Being shelled and shot at imposes a strain like no other, as does waiting to see whether a loved one is going to come home in one piece or in a box.

  • LocalFluff

    From Napoleon to the world wars and the cold war we had mass armies. 10% or so of the population was mobilized. But in the Gulf war only 0.15% of the American people went overseas, right? War is professionalized again, as it was in the 18th century and before. The trench warfare on the West front must’ve been horrible everyday. But it was Russia who collapsed in spite of mobile warfare and the somewhat more traditionally warrior like psychology for the soldier of experiencing one decisive battle on one day.

    What kept the Germans fighting to the end in WW2 was the terror bombings that meaninglessly murdered millions of children and civilians. They were all full of hate against the Americans and the British and Stalin and didn’t mind dying in order to take a few of them down. They had lost their loved ones and any reason to live anyway. I’d say that the USAF terror bombings killed 100,000 American soldiers. A huge strategic mistake. And the alliance with Stalin mobilized all Central Europeans on the German side because they knew that they would be murdered if the allied wins (and they were). War was a much better state than peace for them. And it really was!

  • LocalFluff

    I want to add this.
    Since North K is a nation constantly mobilized for total war, and Obama (and Bush and Clinton and Bush again) let them develop nuclear weapons with global reach, all other nations also have to be on constant war footing until the problem is solved. And like the Romans have tought us, these kind of problems are never solved. One must always be at arms in order to survive in freedom. A third of the Roman senators were killed in the war against Hannibal! Because they were citizens who personally killed their enemies with sword in hand. That hasn’t happened to the US senate, has it? They don’t put their heart into it, and thus they fail.

    The general who is the current secretary defense formulated it very well when he said (previously) that we can never make peace with anyone. We can only try to convince the enemy of making peace with us. The first Korean war was obviously not convincing. Must not hold back the fire next time.

  • Edward

    Early Bird,
    You seem to have confused the US Institute of Peace (created by Congress in 1984) with the Cabinet-level State Department (created in 1789).

    The purpose of the State Department is international relations, specifically to peacefully resolve disputes and peacefully create agreements. This is why diplomats prefer to send strongly worded messages to foreign governments that they disagree with rather than send strongly armed forces. The message is similar but the tactic is peaceful.

    The next time one of your liberal friends ask why there is a Department of War and no Department of Peace, you can tell them that there is a Department of Peace; just like the Department of War, it has a different name.

    LocalFluff wrote: “What kept the Germans fighting to the end in WW2 was the terror bombings that meaninglessly murdered millions of children and civilians.

    Attacking civilians (Axis and Allied) was intended to cause them to demand that their governments sue for peace, but the strategy backfired. For Germany and Japan, however, the military leaderships were definitely of a mind to fight to the bitter end. Italy’s leadership was not so suicidal.

    The problem with the first time (the Korean War 66 years ago) was that MacArthur chased the North Korean army to the Chinese border, thinking that this would result in surrender. Truman knew better and knew that the Chinese would get involved and cause all kinds of trouble. As a result of MacArthur’s unfortunate disobeying of Truman’s order, we are still at war with North Korea, just in a long term armistice, giving North Korea time to arm itself with nuclear weapons and rockets to deliver them. A second result is that the dispute continues on, without peaceful resolution, and the Chinese are stuck being friends with a maniacal maniac in charge of North Korea.

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