Dec 13 2012

Behind the Hype Surrounding North Korea’s Satellite Launch

North Korea launched a satellite into orbit via a multi-staged rocket this past Wednesday, fueling harsh criticism and demands for sanctions from the United States, Japan and South Korea. The US and its allies feared that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has made significant steps toward long range nuclear missile capability.

Japan has pushed for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and South Korean political representatives from across the political spectrum are calling for dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Meanwhile, DPRK officials claim the launch was made simply in order to study crop and weather patterns.

The US government, after what it called North Korea’s “…pattern of irresponsible behavior,” may have few options in dealing with Pyongyang. Years of crippling sanctions have done little to quell North Korea’s political trajectory which the UN has characterized as including, “[s]ystematic, widespread and grave violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.”

China, a traditional ally of North Korea, tempered its criticism with calls for moderation. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said, “[t]he Security Council reaction should be prudent and moderate, conducive to peace and stability, avoiding an escalation of the situation.”

GUEST: Karin Lee, Executive Director of The National Committee on North Korea

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