Saturday, March 14, 2009


This is not to be funny, or to poke fun, or to be cute, or to be blonde just for kicks. Honestly. This is what might go through someone's mind if they knew quite a bit about current and historical events, but not excessively much... and happened upon this article below, that has such an interesting sequence of reporting.

News article from the Guardian that was on Drudge Report yesterday. Non-copyrighted commentary is in italics between asterisks.


To see this story with its related links on the site, go to

Japan warns it may shoot down North Korean satellite launcher
Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Friday March 13 2009

Japan today threatened to shoot down a satellite that North Korea plans to launch early next month if it shows any signs of striking its territory.

*Oh my goodness. North Korea's launching a missile and Japan's jumping to shoot it down?*

Tokyo's warning that it would deploy its multibillion-dollar missile defence system raised tensions in the region after North Korea said that it had identified a potential "danger area" near Japanese territory along the rocket's flight path.

*Grand, grand, grand... so North Koreas is saying, "We're launching this missile and it might hit you guys in Japan, just giving you a heads up."*

The regime told the International Maritime Organisation that the missile would be launched during daylight between 4 and 8 April, and that its boosters would fall into the Sea of Japan ? about 75 miles (120km) from Japan's north-west coast ? and the Pacific Ocean.

*Well, that was smart of them to plan a missile launch that could drop things near Japan.*

Officials in Tokyo said they reserved the right to destroy any threatening object in mid-flight, despite North Korean warnings that it would consider such a move an act of war.

*Here we go... Japan: "You launch something and we are shooting it down. This is definitely a threat." North Korea: "You shoot at our missile, that means WAR!"*

"Under our law, we can intercept any object if it is falling towards Japan, including any attacks on Japan, for our security," Takeo Kawamura, the chief cabinet secretary, told reporters.

*Oh... Japan is being pretty rational, not to mention expressing itself pretty clearly... Japan: "If you launch something that heads our way, we're intercepting. And yes, we're still intercepting even if you're just doing an all-out attack."*

Despite repeated assurances from Pyongyang that the rocket is a vital part of North Korea's space programme, other countries in the region suspect the hardware is a Taepodong-2 ballistic missile.

*Neighbors: "Space, my foot. It's a ballistic."*

South Korean intelligence has reported a build-up of activity in recent days near the missile's launch pad at Musudan-ri base on its neighbour's north-east coast.

*(imagines South Korean intelligence center with those hospital heart monitor screens on all of North Korea's bases. All show undulating relaxed patterns below the line "Normal" - , except the one for the Musudan-ri base where there are violent peaks above the line "Build-up" - )*

Any missile launch, even one intended to put a satellite into orbit, would represent a snub to the US administration, which has repeatedly invited the communist state to return to negotiations over its nuclear weapons programme.

*Oh wait, this is a SATELLITE and not a missile? Why does this remind me of two kids poking each other?*

Last month the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, urged the north to cancel the launch, which US officials say would be in violation of a 2006 UN security council resolution.

*I didn't know that... so the UN said "No launches, period", including satellites.*

The South Korean foreign ministry said in a statement: "If North Korea goes ahead with the launch, we believe there will be discussions and a response by the security council on the violation of the resolution."

*South Korea: "If North Korea launches something that could hit something, the U.N. Security Council will probably hold a meeting."*

The UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, said a missile or satellite launch would "threaten the peace and stability in the region."

*I would say that the pre-launch talk and assumptions have already generously threatened the peace and stability in the region.*

After Japan's transport ministry ordered airlines and shipping companies operating in the area to take precautionary measures, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways said they would alter flight paths on several European and other routes.

* All Nippon Airways = All Japan Airways... US Airways... hee hee!*

Speculation has been mounting for weeks that North Korea was about to put its hitherto unreliable missile technology to the test. The regime suffered a setback in 2006 when a Taepodong-2 missile ? theoretically capable of reaching Alaska ? blew up moments into its flight.

*Wow, so the technical danger is at least as great as the political danger, and probably the same thing for a lot of people.*

Japan has intensified efforts to protect itself against conventional missile attacks since 1998, when the north test-launched a long-range rocket over its territory without warning.

*So there is a history. This chapter looks like an improvement. North Korea is actually warning you, Japan.*

In response, Japan and the US have jointly developed a ballistic missile defence system that includes interceptor missiles on board ships and Patriot missiles dotted around Tokyo.

*That's probably why North Korea is warning Japan. I had no idea the U.S. was in this too...*

But experts believe that a rocket capable of launching a satellite into orbit may be too high to intercept.

*Science: "Guys, seriously. This may well go out of sight, out of mind."

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited 2009


Closing commentary: From the commentator's viewpoint, in this imperfect world, interactions between nations look a lot like interactions between individuals, only to the nth power, where n = average number of influential individuals involved on each particular nation's "side".


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Anonymous said...

Thanks for an explanation.