There is no doubt North Korea is a paradox.
People are malnourished, yet in the midst are scientists.
It is an impoverished nation, yet it has the resources to build rockets and launch them. Whether failure or success, who cares.
The most important thing for North Korea is that their recalcitrant leaders are making a statement with defiant words and provocative actions and it is getting across the heads of the free world – to their dismay.
Such is what happened a few days ago when this rogue nation successfully launched a long-range rocket to space supposedly to ‘put a weather satellite into orbit.’
It did not only ruffle the feathers of the western world powers, but the blast-off further strain tensions in the region.
South Korea has expressed “grave concern” about the launching.
A spokesman for Japan’s government called the launch “extremely regrettable”, adding: ”Our country cannot tolerate this. We strongly protest to North Korea.”
Washington called it a ‘highly provocative act that threatens regional security.’
The British government decried the fact that North Korea opted to prioritize the launching over improving the livelihood of its people.
Even China, North Korea’s closest ally, expressed ‘regret’ that North Korea went ahead with the launch in spite of the extensive concerns of international community, which is the instability of the region.
The US and its allies, including the UK, believe the rocket launch is a straightforward test of North Korea’s ballistic missile technology. They say the “space program” claim is simply a cover.
North Korea has been conducting underground nuclear tests for some time. A combination of those tests with the successful launch and flight of a rocket would give the country somewhat of a credible nuclear deterrent. If it is creating ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear weapons, it could threaten areas as far away as the west coast of the US.
American space expert Jonathan McDowell, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, believes the Unha-3 rocket has indeed delivered a satellite to space.
Based on his own calculations, he said an object identified by US space command was from the North Korean satellite.
(Update: North Korea may have put a satellite in orbit, but a day after it was launched, it was reported by U.S. officials that said satellite is now ‘tumbling out of control.’ This maybe bad news for the rogue country, but it is not exactly good news for the rest of the world for the simple reason that this tumbling object in space has now become a collision risk to other satellites.)