North Korea’s chronic sabre rattling just got a bit louder. They are reportedly loading the highly controversial Taepodong-2 rocket to a launch pad in anticipation of the firing of a communications satellite sometime between April 4-8. The Taepodong-2 missile supposedly has the capability of reaching Alaska. Read more about it below, see photos and a video.




Taepondong 2 Missile

North Korea’s Taepodong-2 Rocket





Update: The North Koreans have fired off their Taepodong-2 long range missile tonite. Liftoff took place at 11:30 a.m. (0230 GMT). It’s a bit too early to say whether the launch was a technical success — although this rocket went much further then the attempts to launch two years ago.

The rocket appears to have crossed over Japan and reached airspace somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. There were no attempts by the Japanese to intercept the missile. The U.N. Security Council approved an emergency session for Sunday afternoon in New York, following a request from Japan that came just minutes after the launch by the North Koreans.

Of course we know Hillary Clinton has said there would be consequences to this act. We’ll see.

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It was back in 1998 when North Korea faked a satellite launch to cover up a missile development test. In 2006, North Korea said kma to it’s neighbors and test fired a Taepodong-2 missile. Thankfully, that one blew up less than a minute into flight. And even though The One’s National Intelligence Director, Dennis Blair, has said that all indications suggest North Korea will in fact launch a satellite, why believe them? North Korea’s relationship with neighbors in the region (and with the U.S.) has not been one built on trust.

So here’s the deal: it seems that both the satellite launch rocket and long-range missile use a similar technology, and arms control experts from multiple countries have some anxiety that even a satellite launch would be somewhat of a test toward eventually launching a long-range missile like the Taepodong 2, which has the capacity to travel upwards of 5,600 miles.

South Korea, the United States and Japan have urged North Korea ‘to refrain’ from launching a satellite or missile, calling it a violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution barring the country from ballistic activity. In fact, Hillary Clinton warned the Dear Leader, (Kim Jong-Il not Barack Obama) while on her trip to Mexico saying this:

“We have made it very clear that the North Koreans pursue this pathway at a cost and with consequences to the six-party talks which we would like to see revived and moving forward as quickly as possible,” she told reporters on a visit to Mexico City.

“This provocative action … will not go unnoticed and there will be consequences,” she said.

Somehow, I don’t think that statement would cause the Dear Leader to pause, do you?

Folks in the neighborhood are getting a bit ramped up. North Korea insists it has the right to develop its ‘space program’ and has warned the U.S., Japan and its allies not to interfere with the launch. On the other hand, South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy, Wi Sung-lac, said after returning from talks with his Beijing counterparts, that a launch of the Taepodong-2 would trigger ‘a response’.

“If North Korea launches rocket, certain countermeasures are unavoidable,” he said.

Wi Sung-lac didn’t elaborate, saying the measures, including any sanctions, would be discussed among U.N. Security Council member nations. And most likely it was the U.N. that Hillary had in mind when she mentioned ‘consequences’. That’s really quite laughable. We know all about the U.N. Security Council, with members like Syria and Cuba and Libya. I don’t expect much from them on this issue. And who knows if Barack Obama can break away from the campaign trail, teleprompter, media tour, economic woes to really deal with Kim Jong-Il the way he needs to be dealt with.

So, if and when the Dear Leader decides to send up something, it probably won’t be clear if the latest launch is a satellite or a Taepodong-2 long range missile until footage can be analyzed after the event – the trajectory of a missile is markedly different from that of a satellite. One thing is for certain though, a lot of people will be watching.

More photos and a video of the North Korean Long Range Missile, the Taepodong-2, are below.




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North Korea Missile Taepodong 2 Photos





North Korea Missile Taepodong 2 Video