North Korea is upset that the UN Security Council is more than a little curious about the “satellite” that the country plans to launch in a couple weeks.
“It is perversity to say satellite launch technology cannot be distinguished from a long-range missile technology and so must be dealt with by the U.N. Security Council, which is like saying a kitchen knife is no different from a bayonet,” state media quoted a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.
Well, except that the rocket being used to launch the satellite — the Taepodong 2 — is the same that is used to launch missiles. Missile launching, of course, falls directly in the purview of current UN Security Council sanctions on the DPRK. So it seems like the Foreign Ministry spokesman’s analogy was a little off; unless North Korea makes it a habit of attaching kitchen knives to a rifle body, then it seems that what differs here is more like what kind of bullet is being used.
This seems like at least a legitimate concern for inquiry by the Security Council. And North Korea’s bluster about ending the six-party talks in the face of a Council response certainly isn’t in the interests of peace. Given the high priority of sustaining these talks, though, coupled with North Korea’s allies on the Council and the obstinance with which it has pursued its missile program, there do not appear to be many sticks in the offing.
One strategy that might not be a good idea: Japan shooting down the rocket, creating a bunch of debris that it won’t know what to do with. North Korea has promised this would be “an act of war,” and the Japanese foreign minister has rather disturbingly admitted that “Our country has not done this before. We don’t know how or where it will fly.”
Let’s hope that it is just a DirecTV satellite, after all.
(images from flickr users IceSabre and idua_japan, respectively, under a Creative Commons license)