A friend of mine asked me for my Opinion on the Unha-3 launch:
Here’s my redacted response:
I’m really more surprised at how there was even a deal that was made on 29Feb at all. I mean, we knew they were going to do something big on April 15th (Kim, il-Sung’s birthday). But then, maybe we really didn’t know they were going to launch the unha-3. Afterall, they did invite 60 Japanese to the list. Knowing how Japan hates North Korea firing off missiles, this probably threw some of us off? But then of course, North Korea once again is opening invitations to the rest of the world to look at them launch the unha-3 –so that doesn’t mean much probably. Personally, why is it that the IAEA gets invited to see this? Really now, I’m just sorry I have to ask for mine!
OK, despite North Korea’s claims of what the unha-3 is, we know it’s not a platform to launch a satellite. The unha-2 was supposed to launch a propaganda-music-blasting satellite, but it failed. Yet the North Koreans are persisting that the satellite is hovering up there in the heavens, along with Kim, Il-sung.
But seriously, to feign that we didn’t know they were going to launch before this? Either there is seriously something sinister going on either on the DPRK’s or the US’ side, but if this dailynk article (http://dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk00400&num=8907) is any indication, it sounds like either both sides were looking for a way to blame each other for not following the agreement correctly, or maybe the US really had no idea of this –I personally doubt that, and if that is the case, whoever’s the President’s North Korean analyst should be shot. In either case, diplamatic failure.
One interesting thing, is why they’re moving from Musudan-ri to Sohae-ri to launch this. I’m pretty sure the Chinese aren’t happy with a missile facility closer to their border. There are already issues with chemicals flowing across the border. Even if the Chinese aren’t concerned with environmental impacts (which I’m sure they’re not), I’m sure there are other hazards China would be wary of. Pictures of the facility:
What are they trying to gain from Japan, by redirecting their launch directions eastward, southward? What are they leveraging against China by switching the site from the East Coast to the West? Is it because the natural gas pipes from Russia (http://neatcongkeringpath.com/?p=150 and http://neat.congkeringpath.com/?p=206) might run close enough to Musudan-ri? If so, the Russians still have quite a bit more influence than analysts would like to think, apparently. How else are they involved with North Korean affairs?
Like anything else with North Korea, I’m always left with more questions.
UPDATE 16:30 PDT
Nice estimated schedule of events to come: http://38north.org/2012/03/nhansen0329
UPDATE 19:57 PDT
This is all besides the KN-01 missiles fired yesterday morning, the day they reveal information about their “satellite”.