back to article North Korean rocket works, puts something into orbit

North Korea has successfully launched a rocket that it claims is a peaceful vehicle, but which western nations suspect is a long-range missile. The launch took place at around 01:00 GMT and saw a Kwangmyongsong-3 rocket soar aloft, according to Reuters. The North American Airspace Defense Command (NORAD) published the …

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  1. Rattus Rattus

    Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

    Oh that's right, they don't have oil.

    1. Kharkov
      Thumb Down

      Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

      Well, another reason is that...

      A: They have nukes.

      B: They're in China's back yard & the last time an American (technically a UN) force got close to China, a few Chinese came south & prolonged the war somewhat.

      C: A war would just encourage North Korean people to 'rally around the flag' while, if we all wait a while (another decade or so), it may fall down all by itself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

        Since when does a "water-monopoly empire" fall from inside? It does not. The downfall of the soviet block was sticking its nose into way too many holes worldwide (its countries did not achieve full control over its citizens either). If it was not for the war in Afganistan (as well as too much "helping" the 3rd world) we would have still had a sequence of gerontocratic imbeciles in control of 1/6th of the world surface holding a withered hand over the big red nuclear apocalypse button.

        NK has achieved full and complete control over food, water, energy. It will not fall unless pushed or it goes out of its shell and thus opens itself up to "external corruption".

        So it can rot as much as it likes - Its rotten hulk will stay up as long as it does not engage externally or is not engaged externally. Considering that it has nukes, chemical weapons, ballistic missiles and a 1m army that pretty much means forever at this point.

        1. DF118

          Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

          ...a 1m army that is largely on the brink of starvation.

          1. localzuk Silver badge

            Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

            A 1m person army, armed with ancient weapons, poorly trained and starving. Against a modern army like the USA or UK they wouldn't stand a chance.

            However, invading them would be a disaster for South Korea and Japan, as basically we all know that the country is somewhat unstable so we don't know what the reaction would be. The only way to deal with them would be to do a co-ordinated strike against all their military installations at once via the air.

            1. Blofeld's Cat
              Stop

              Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

              "A 1m person army, armed with ancient weapons, poorly trained and starving. Against a modern army like the USA or UK they wouldn't stand a chance."

              Quite a lot of Afghans might disagree with that statement.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

                "A 1m person army, armed with ancient weapons, poorly trained and starving. Against a modern army like the USA or UK they wouldn't stand a chance."

                You're probably right, they probably wouldn't stand a chance.

                But then once you get past the army, you get to the people, and that's where your troubles really start.

                On a bynote, why the hell is everyone so scared of NK? So they're possibly developing weaponry which can reach the US. So what? Hasn't the US had weaponry which could reach NK for decades?

                1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                  Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

                  I too fail to see the threat from NK. If they were to develop the capability to deliver a nuclear warhead to anywhere else, and actually launch it, it would be game over. The result would be that all of North Korea would shortly thereafter be transformed into radioactive glass. Their leaders might be totalitarianist arseholes, but MAD is not in ther interests any more than it is in anyone else's*.

                  They know this, the US know this, China know this, Russia knows this. Everyone knows this. The only outcome with NK is that they continue to starve until eventually their leaders show some common sense and begin to engage with the rest of the planet on a rational level. The sabre-rattling is entirely in order to keep their own people subjugated, to everyone else it is a joke.

                  * The only people who might possibly be minded that it is a good idea would be those who are of a religious bent, and who believe that it is time for eveyone to die and the select few to take up their positions in the 'good' afterlife. Most people of this mindset seem to live in North America.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Devil

                  Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

                  99% of the sheep bleat about the NK doing this or that, is kiss arse bullshit to the US state dept, on foreign policy.

                  Remember the fucks that run corporation USA, also own the US / global media too.

                  They don't like people who say no to them raping them, and their countries.

              2. Alfred

                Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

                "Quite a lot of Afghans might disagree with that statement."

                If they do, they're missing the point. The invasion was a total success for the modern US/UK/coalition forces, sweeping the board with little trouble. The subsequent problems are not a serious military threat (i.e. the kind of thing that wipes out entire battalions).

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  FFS

                  Not one mention of the hundreds of artillery positions along the DMZ, many of which are dug into caves, within striking distance of Seoul?

                  While it may not be the feared 'Sea of Fire' that has been discussed over the past few years, it could still most certainly be serious if the DPRK decided to retaliate for any US first strike by going full-bore at Seoul (ref: http://atlanticsentinel.com/2012/06/north-korea-cant-really-turn-seoul-into-a-sea-of-fire/).

                  Nuclear weapons and ICBMs just add to the risk - there was already MAD status for Seoul without it so the US could not act unilaterally without directly risking South Korean lives.

                  Also, I hope the comment about being greeted in the streets a la WW2 Paris was sarcasm. If you were serious I'd advise doing some more reading and viewing (there are lots of great documentaries available for free) on the DPRK. The populace there is fed a steady diet of anti-American propaganda and most see us, quite literally as Satan incarnate. There is also the little matter of 'juche philosophy' (what can be wrong about wanting independence and self reliance amirite?) which, in practice, attempts to teach the people (warning: my opinion on the matter) that it is better to starve and be independent than to be happy and content under non-DPRK rule. I'd eat my hat if the US invaded and the populace didn't have a reaction somewhat along the lines of the populace in Saipan if backed into a corner. I doubt they'd put up an insurgence like Afghanistan (there is no 'warrior tradition' or access to weapons outside of the military in NK), but they would be expected to be afraid, and untrusting of foreign troops.

            2. Richard Ball

              Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

              Yep, coordinated strike on everything from the air - we could call it 'shock and awe' - that'll sort 'em out and no mistake.

              They'll be welcoming us in the streets just like the girls in paris welcomed the Sherman tanks in 1945.

              1. TheRealRoland
                WTF?

                Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

                @Richard Ball -- you forgot the sarcasm icon, right?

                Otherwise, i don't want to be part of your 'us'.

        2. James Micallef Silver badge

          Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

          "NK has achieved full and complete control over food, water, energy"

          Not really. It's heavily dependent on China for a lot of supplies. For the moment it suits China to have a satellite "rogue state", but as China strengthens economic ties with the rest of the world it will rein in any too-ambitious move by the Norks.

          Re why the US invaded Iraq and are targeting Iran but not Nork - Iran humiliated the US after the US arranged a coup against the legitimately elected Iranian government in favour of the dsposed Shah, so at leat back then the US cared only about oil, not about democracy. Iraq was a US buddy while they were fighting Iran, and the US was happy enough for Iraq to have nukes - it was Israel who destroyed Iraq's nuclear facilities. Iraq only fell out of favour with the US when it invaded Kuwait (ie caused instability in oil-producing region). Also note the difference in US response in Libya (big oil producer) vs Syria (not a big oil producer)

          There are various other geo-political reasons why the US would not even consider invading North Korea, but surely lack of resources required by US is surely among the reasons.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

          'NK has achieved full and complete control over food, water, energy. '

          About that control over energy.

          http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/dprk/dprk-dark.htm

          You also might want to Google 'North Korea' and 'famine' before claiming they've got control of their food supply.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

            India also may have had similar localised problems. But they seem to have ingenious fixes, like banning the word "famine" in some areas:-

            http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/sainath/article596311.ece?homepage=true

            which yopu've got to admit, is pretty clever.

        4. Psyx
          Stop

          Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

          "NK has achieved full and complete control over food, water, energy. It will not fall..."

          I think you might be thinking of a different North Korea.

          The place can't feed itself and goes through phases of either taking international hand-outs, or people starving. And if you look at a sat. image of the country, it's in the dark. It doesn't have a 21st century power grid, or even clearly electricity in a bunch of rural areas. The food situation is only getting worse, as they've deforested the country and because it's mountainous, they're getting massive soil erosion problems, and they're pretty much out of wood, too.

          This is a country where just under 50% are active or reserve military, but which is operating with obsolete hardware. I think it's the 5th largest military in the world, which is a complete waste of resources. Iraw used to have the 4th largest military, also equipped with gash, and look how well that protected them.

          As to nukes... they almost certainly tested one, but there's no evidence they can put it where they want it. And how MANY do they have. Nukes aren't like other tech: Just because you make one and it works, you can't just churn out 50 more. The material has to be accumulated, and that takes time and vast amounts of effort. Realistically, I wouldn't expect them to have more than half a dozen warheads, and they can't chuck them more than a few hundred miles.

          DPRK *will* fall. It will fall either when it either rattles its sabres too hard, or by becoming more porous in imitation of China, or when the people finally get sick of living as starving slaves so that the nation can continue a 'military first' budgetary policy despite the fact that the country isn't actually at war, and the military are little more than target practice for GPS-guided munition.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

          "NK has achieved full and complete control over food, water, energy. It will not fall unless pushed or it goes out of its shell and thus opens itself up to "external corruption"."

          I'm curious as to what gives you this idea. Their economy is all but nonexistent and their country is an ecological disaster. They can't generate nearly enough power, so they've chopped down vast tracts of forest and burnt them for fuel; that's not a plan that's going to work for long. People are hungry and given how well food production is going for them it'll turn into famine in due course, in the absense of substantial foreign aid.

          They're effectively hoping that they can bluster and threaten their way to survival, because as soon as they actually exercise any of their weapons on their neighbours it'll be cruise-missile-delivered democracy time. They can't threaten forever, and whilst they're dragging their offensive capabilities kicking and screaming into the 1970s, defensive antimissile technology isn't exactly standing still.

          Even China's patience and tolerance won't be infinite.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

            Quote: "I'm curious as to what gives you this idea."

            It is not an idea - it is the statement of the fact. It is the ultimate water monopoly empire.

            They are not just controlling water - they are controlling food, energy and everything else. One wrong step and you are dead of starvation while freezing in the middle of a minefield with your feet missing.

            As far as threatening, you are once again missing the point. In order to exercise that level of control you need to have a perceived external enemy. All the posturing is _NOT_ for external consumption - it is to reinforce the need to have a stranglehold over its own population. It automatically makes anyone non-compliant a traitor to the state. Stalin invented the Trust, Russian Party, etc for the same purpose. It is essential to have an enemy outside which is "trying to infiltrate and corrupt" within to be able to exercise that level of control. All of the ex-soviet block used that (I will not comment on the "terrorist threatw" here...).

            As far as "democracy on the wings of the cruise missile" - I would not be so sure. First, they are not going to attack anyone anytime soon as what they are doing is geared towards internal control, not external. So we will not have a "casus belli" to press the button. Second, you are dealing with everyone alive being brought up from their cradle to the grave believing that the external world is the enemy. Cutting the "controlling head" off that with a cruise missile may be the worst thing we can do.

            1. Bumpy Cat

              NK's hermit status is crumbling

              It used to be the case the people of NK thought they had "nothing to envy" - that although they were starving in a dystopian nightmare, the rest of the world was worse off. Since 2000, however, TV and radio broadcasts from SK and China are being picked up in NK. Smuggled Chinese mobile phones are buried in plastic bags in remote areas and dug up for a 2-minute call (any longer and the call is triangulated). The people of NK are learning what a hideous and brutal place NK is, and why. Eventually things will crack.

              I recommend the book "Nothing to Envy", about how ordinary NKoreans live, die or escape.

            2. Psyx
              Boffin

              Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

              "It is not an idea - it is the statement of the fact. It is the ultimate water monopoly empire."

              I'm going to call 'tosh' on that one. Most of the population don't have potable water piped to their homes, so how well-controlled is that, compared to more civilised nations where we can all be cut off with a few button presses. How are wells 'controlled' centrally?

              " In order to exercise that level of control you need to have a perceived external enemy. "

              People also have to have something to lose. The population frankly are at the point where they have very little left to lose. And as the country is so isolated, the line that they are being infiltrated and corrupted by others isn't going to work on the Proles, because they see no evidence of it.

              "First, they are not going to attack anyone anytime soon as what they are doing is geared towards internal control, not external. So we will not have a "casus belli" to press the button."

              There's already been enough of that, and South Korea have stayed their hand, despite having ships torpedoed, being attacked by artillery, having passenger liners bombed, terrorism, espionage et al. South Korea and its allies have had more than enough reasons to pull the trigger if they could be bothered to.

              "Second, you are dealing with everyone alive being brought up from their cradle to the grave believing that the external world is the enemy."

              And if the head is cut off and no follow-up is made... then what. How will that make the situation worse? People will go back to their farms and try to scrape out a living as before. The only difference is that some twerp in a uniform doesn't turn up twice a year to collect taxes, and their sons come home from the military to help out on the farm.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

              "It is not an idea - it is the statement of the fact. It is the ultimate water monopoly empire.

              They are not just controlling water - they are controlling food, energy and everything else. One wrong step and you are dead of starvation while freezing in the middle of a minefield with your feet missing"

              Uh, people are dying of starvation anyway. They are low on food and water. They're freezing to death anyway due to the shortage of wood and the woeful electricity supply. The party could easily remain on top and in power when it still had carrots to go with the stick, but that's not really the case anymore. Indoctrination won't help; the cracks are already showing and there's been no particularly concerted psyops effort in that regard. The people have to eat, and when they get desparate and realise they have nothing to lose anymore you can't just shoot them all.

              It would also appear that you either totally misunderstood my cruise missile statement, or totally ignored the content of that paragraph. I'll rewrite it for you here. NK cannot ever use its military against its neighbours; it can only bluff and bluster. When it engages in overt warfare with its antequated military equipment, humanitarian aid will end and its rocketry facilities and the like will be hit by precision strikes for the safety of everyone else. The regime will fall in short order after that, because it will need to beg for help instead of threatening and demanding, and the only things it can offer to its benefactors will be greater political and social freedom for its people.

          2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
            Stop

            Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

            Bring US style democracy to NK, don't be silly, how could a country as broke as NK afford all those bribes to politicians lobbyists.

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

          NK has achieved full and complete control over food, water, energy. It will not fall unless pushed or it goes out of its shell and thus opens itself up to "external corruption".

          Cobblers. The USSR collapsed because it spent too much on consumption rather than investment (specifically arms and misdirected central planning) and its economy collapsed. Ample resources of energy and water, and a big military didn't help one jot. To an extent Europe and US are perilously close to a similar economic event horizon, where money wasted on unproductive spending causes the economy to collapse. Examples of unproductive spending are excessive welfare spending (Europe), unaffordable social and environmental "obligations" (Europe), endless health spending (now both blocs), imperial militarism (the US), and for both blocs again, bad bank lending that has destroyed billions by funding speculative bubbles in property and leveraged commercial lending.

          Coming back to North Korea, not only are they destroying their own economy by spending on militarism and central planning, but they don't have sufficient domestic resources of energy or food, and are dependant upon imports that they can't pay for (hence the sabre rattling). The population are starving and repressed, which certainly could go on for some years, but will fall over sooner or later without any external help. Putting the spotty twerp in charge is most unlikely to prolong matters.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

            Respectfully, no, I don''t agree.

            Firstly health spending... well at least Europe gets "something" for its health spending. In fact some of the best in the world. Not "the most expensive and least coverage" flavour either. Check France out. Partly private, but with a reimbursement from the State in most cases.

            Note the life expectancy dropped by 10 years in some areas after the fall of the USSR.

            Post-USSR vaccination rates still look like sub-saharan Africa in some ways. Not very European.

            GDP hasn't reached pre-fall-of-iron-curtain levels yet in some countries either. Poland being the big exception.

            So I would argue that it wasn't economic reasons for the collapse.

            In fact if you look at articles written by people who lived in those areas, it was simply a case of "we don't want this (false) idealogical bull anymore". The bull didn't concern things like ambitions towards equality, healthcare and fair wealth distribution. Those were taken as basic normal assumptions for civilised nations.

            It was more the difference between officially expressed slogans and how people actually did things, usually much worse.

            So, they VOTED for the breakup. It was not a lack of cash. they had a sufficiently large economy, it was not in any difficulties. The financial collapse happened after the breakup. In fact it looks like some smaller nations will never ever have any kind of development again, like big ghost towns. For an example look at Tajikistan, where Nellie Kim is from.

      2. Gerhard den Hollander

        Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

        China, Japan and South Korea would be very, very unhappy.

        Even assuming the mere threat of the US invading would let to the fall of the NK government, and total freedom for it's people, without a single shot being fired,a nd the entire NK nuklear arsenal being disposed off safely, and immediately, it will only be the start of problems in that region.

        Neither China nor South Korea will be capable of handling the influx of 1m starving North Koreans if the border opens. Nor will the South Korean economy be able to cope with this.

        Reuniting NK and SK will be a lot more difficult then the east/west german reunion.

    2. silent_count

      Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

      In this case, it *really* isn't about oil. Of the three nations named in the "axis of evil"; the Yanks invaded Iraq, they're talking about invading Iran but they haven't lifted a finger against North Korea. Now lets play a fun game. Guess which one of those three countries has the bomb. Yup. There ain't nobody bringing democracy to Pyongyang any time soon.

      Yes, I know the North Koreans still have some decidedly non-trivial hurdles to clear before they could land a warhead on Obama's sun porch, but I also don't think the Yanks are cavalier enough to gamble on finding out how close the North Koreans might get to hitting something should they be desperate enough to try.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

        i think it has very little to do with "the bomb" as much as it does with china not allowing the US to live in the spare bedroom, as it were. the difference with iraq is that over many years, for various reasons, iraq was left without strong backers. Iran has russia and as long as russia isn't able to be persuaded to the contrary, the US won't "liberate" Iran either, bomb or no bomb. That's what the propaganda i've been exposed to tells me anyway, your incoming propaganda may vary.

      2. Don Jefe
        Meh

        Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

        The Yanks haven't launched democracy into DPRK yet because it is the world's most hilarious government and if it were subject to a regime change there would be no one to laugh at during UN meetings. They pose no threat at all.

        If they managed to feed their population then they could become a threat but that's probably not going to happen soon. Even though they have such a huge standing army it isn't worth much because if they were ever deployed they would all starve to death in the field.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

        I don't agree totally. They have nukes, but crappy ones and no sensible means of launching them. And God knows how long it would take for them to make any more.

        They do however, have an astonishing amount of artillery and ground troops.... who would want to go in and sort that out? And the country is partially rugged etc..... and has a long border with China and a little one with Russia.... I imagine you couldn''t sort it by sending Middle-Eastern mercenaries in, even the average person in the street would be gagging to make Swiss cheese out of them with a semi-auto.... whether from good or bad motivations!

    3. Velv
      Mushroom

      Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

      Because the US doesn't know what democracy is!

    4. That Steve Guy

      Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

      They tried it was called the Korean war, it didn't go well.

      1. MacGyver
        Meh

        Re: Why hasn't the US "brought democracy" to NK yet?

        "They tried it was called the Korean war, it didn't go well."-TSG

        Back then we were about as advanced as they were, no so today. Today, we could just send drone after drone, and "agent orange" their food supply. I would also bet that as soon as "dear leader" sets off one of those atomic devices anywhere that harms another country, that the UN would basically shell them out of existence from every UN controlled boat on the planet. The only real losers would be the SK people, but that's a card NK can only play once, and once played, they know they're done. They also have to know that the Chinese won't back them up like they used to, China likes its global market money. I imagine that it will be China that ultimately rolls over NK, and I'm not sure whether or not that will save SK or not, but we can hope.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Kwangmyongsong"?

    I looked it up, and was relieved to discover that Kwangmyongsong is not an exhortation. It means "Bright Star" or "Brilliant Star" in Korean.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Kwangmyongsong"?

      I supppose it's a relief that it doesn't mean 'Death Bringer' or something like that, but 'Bright Star' is quite apt for a nuclear warhead - so don't relax yet.

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
        Mushroom

        Re: "Kwangmyongsong"?

        Precisely: Anybody remember the quote about the light of a thousand suns by Robert Oppenheimer?

        <- only suitable icon

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Kwangmyongsong"?

      Don't forget the top quality motivational slogans that power North Korea:

      http://directorblue.blogspot.co.uk/2008/05/north-korean-motivational-posters.html

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: "Kwangmyongsong"?

        I like the one about goats.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Happy

          Re: "Kwangmyongsong"?@ theodore

          My favourite too. But for such a small selection to include so many gems, it makes you wonder what other stuff the Norks have got at home that didn't get included. Maybe they're like the French, and keep the good stuff for themselves?

    3. Dr_N
      Unhappy

      Re: "Kwangmyongsong"?

      It just doesn't roll off the tongue the same as a Typo Dong...

  3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Missed Opportunities

    I'm disappointed by the absence of "red rocket" in the headline.

    1. AndrewV

      Red Rocket finally thrusts into correct slot

      Norks quiver with delight

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Red Rocket finally thrusts into correct slot

        My nipples explode with delight.

  4. Martin 47

    Anyone care to guess on the life expectancy of whatever they have put in orbit once the US militaries space plane is launched?

    1. M Gale

      Considering any missions the X37B undertakes is going to be highly secret and we're not officially supposed to know it is up there, you could conversely speculate as to the life expectancy of the crew aboard once they get too close to an orbiting laser-toting shark, or whatever else is up there?

      That or it could just be a mylar reflective beach ball with "lol, made you look" written on it in Hangul.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @M Gale

        The X37B (I always feel that should be followed by "explosive space modulator") is unmanned.

        1. Steve Foster
          Black Helicopters

          @mutatedwombat

          Well, that's what they say...

          </tinfoil>

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Christoph
      Black Helicopters

      Much as the US would like to proclaim its ownership of Low Earth Orbit, as part of its Manifest Destiny of owning the entire Solar System, I doubt they would try shooting down satellites owned by other countries.

      They wouldn't care in the least about the clear illegality in International law, but they wouldn't want to establish the precedent - especially as they have more value in kit up there to lose than anyone else.

      1. Steven Roper

        And with China's space program moving apace we have some healthy competition up there at last...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    I would like to congratulate North Korean on the first unicorn in space!!

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/02/unicorn_lair_foun_in_north_korea/

    More seriously, I guess that we will now have to spend some more tax money on missle defenses, since the North Koreans seem to be able to launch stuff at least as far as Anchorage or Honolulu.....

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: I would like to congratulate North Korean on the first unicorn in space!!

      Would anyone in the USA actually miss Anchorage or Honolulu?

      I'm sure any North Korean rocket would though...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I would like to congratulate North Korean on the first unicorn in space!!

        I'd miss Honolulu, I thought it was a very pleasant place.

      2. TheRealRoland
        Thumb Down

        Re: I would like to congratulate North Korean on the first unicorn in space!!

        @I Ain't Spartacus

        >Would anyone in the USA actually miss

        Uhm, at the very least the people of Hawaii and Alaska would miss HI and AK, as they're part of the USA. And not to mention the rest of the US, lamenting the loss of domestic oil production...

  6. Mondo the Magnificent
    Devil

    Puts "something" into orbit?

    I foresee another mission objective for the very secretive USAF X-37B..

    1. Andrew Newstead

      Re: Puts "something" into orbit?

      Unfortunately the X-37B, that was launched last night, is in a very different orbital plane to the Korean satellite. The Korean satellite is in a polar orbit and the X37 has been placed into a mid inclined orbit around the equator. True, the X37 has quite a high capability for orbital change and this will no doubt be used soon to confuse the satellite spotters, but I think that this kind of plane change would be beyond it. To be able to intercept the Korean satellite the X37 would have to be launched from Vandenburg into a polar orbit.

      Interestingly, so far no one has commented on any kind of signal coming from the Korean bird, I wonder if it's inert or not worked as planned.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Puts "something" into orbit?

        On eof the original design goals for the Shuttle was the ability to change its orbital inclination in such a way, an instruction that came from the military, and one of the reasons the eventual design was a compromise, and much more expensive than it could have been. Observers can't have failed to notice that the X-37B has the same basic shape as the Shuttle (albeit somewhat smaller), and so quite possibly shares the same design principles, and is able to shift orbits in exactly such a way.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Keen!

    "World leaders aren't keen on the launch, or on doing anything about it".

    1. FSM

      Re: Keen!

      Bugs me that the UN is completely useless in situations like this. The only words to come out of Ban's mouth are something to the effect of "I urge all sides not to do anything that would cause instability [on the Korean peninsula]."

      NK has barely any food, surely if they don't grow up and prove themselves worthy of food aid, they'll just die and collapse? Food aid from the US was revoked as a result of the first test earlier this year.

      1. Richard Ball

        Re: Keen!

        If this is a way of inspiring the rest of the world to give them aid... It's an odd way of asking for help.

        1. Philip Lewis
          Headmaster

          Re: Keen!

          The leadership is dysfunctional. From that all else follows

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Meh

          Re: Keen!

          It's an odd way of asking for help.

          Arguably it's no different to attention seeking behaviour from a child. Iran exhibits the same tendencies, as did Libya for some years (Venezuela's trying hard as well). Sometimes it is for aid, but more commonly its a misguided presumption that the US doesn't take them as seriously they deserve, a bit like a hoody picking a fight for being "disrespected".

          In the UK we accept that (even as fifth/sixth largest economy on Earth) we are the Yank's poodle, and treated as such. But the Norks and the Iranians seem to entertain a rather amusing idea that they deserve a seat at the top table, and when they don't get that they start throwing the toys out of the pram.

          1. Psyx
            Pint

            Re: Keen!

            "a bit like a hoody picking a fight with a heavily armed, well-trained and practised killing machine for being "disrespected"."

            Fixed that for you!

            I think tin-pot dictators get by with the idea that the US's forces are a bunch of decadent, ill-led westerners whose advantage in technology will be overcome by the sheer will-to-power of the natives*. Which belies the fact that not only do most of the natives under General-level don't HAVE any morale because they are treated like dirt, nor do they have a full stomach. It also conveniently ignores the fact that US troops are a well-trained force of veterans who bear little resemblance to homeland burger-munchers. And steely resolve isn't an effective force multiplier in any way when someone rains precision guided weapons down on you with total impunity.

            Sure: Asymmetric warfare can continue after your country has already been rolled, but it's startlingly un-useful for dictators who've already been vaporised by laser-guided munitions, or had their precious palace levelled and power structure annihilated.

            *cf: Iraq (twice), every pointy-stick-armed native rebellion who ever charged maxim guns.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Keen!@Psyx

              In part you're right that they may misjudge the balance of military capability, but an even more important thing that dictators appear to routinely believe is that the Yanks Won't Do It. You can see that in Iran right now, and in Syria. We saw it in Iraq, Libya, Kosovo etc.

              Because the UN is dysfunctional (on account largely of allowing non-democratic nations a seat on the security council) the judgement is most of the time correct. Assad's in no obvious danger from outside, for example.

              1. Psyx
                Go

                Re: Keen!@Psyx

                "In part you're right that they may misjudge the balance of military capability, but an even more important thing that dictators appear to routinely believe is that the Yanks Won't Do It. You can see that in Iran right now, and in Syria. We saw it in Iraq, Libya, Kosovo etc."

                True. And yet they really will if they see enough gain from it.

                I think that there is this misconception that the US will run away crying if you send half a dozen body-bags home and that a willingness to take more casualties than them will magically ensure a win. Truth is that nobody ever won a war by telling their troops that it didn't matter how out-gunned they were, nor how many of them died: The foe would give in first because they weren't willing to lose as many men. You can't drown your enemies in a sea of your own blood.

                The US is sensitive to casualties, but not as sensitive as people like to think (The USMC is essentially ablative armour for the rest of the army, for a start). Add in a very refined control of the propaganda media machine and the fact that 99.9% of the entire US population won't ever be directly affected by the war while their foes are going to be seeing the USAF operating with impunity overhead and you come to see that the US has a much higher morale than their foes, both in terms of the military and wider population.

                "Assad's in no obvious danger from outside, for example."

                Overtly, anyway.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whatever it is up there, it's a lump...

    What on earth (excusez le pun) did they put up there ? Because unfortunately, we can not depend upon the NK great leader for it to be something scientific or sensible.

    Pretty much everything NK has announced in the last few decades has been stuff geared towards giving them leverage in negotiations for aid of sorts. Their whole economy seems to be based on extortion.

    So I wouldn't put it past them to put up a small and extremely dirty nuke (can such weights be lifted into space by this missile ?) or a chemical or bio payload.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
      Joke

      Re: Whatever it is up there, it's a lump...

      I suspect it is a cabbage. Just to show everybody that there is food in North Korea.

      1. Soruk
        Facepalm

        Re: Whatever it is up there, it's a lump...

        > Just to show everybody that there is food in North Korea.

        Was. They just launched it into space.

    2. Peter Simpson 1
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Whatever it is up there, it's a lump...

      No, it's a spy satellite.

      A cabbage with a DSLR (with wi-fi card) duct-taped to it. Polar orbit so it can take pictures of the US.

    3. Psyx
      Stop

      Re: Whatever it is up there, it's a lump...

      What's the point of putting a single dirty bomb in orbit? What's it going to do up there? And why put it on a test rocket? If that's what they were doing, then it would have been on the prior one, too... and that didn't cause fall-out of any kind when it blew up prior to orbit.

      So that makes no sense. Likewise, why put biological weapons in a totally untested re-entry vehicle?

      If you're going to fantasise about NK weaponising space, then they'd do it with a nice traditional nuke in LEO, which would fry umpteen billion dollars worth of everyone else's sats and generally do EMP-based naughtiness.

    4. M Gale

      Re: Whatever it is up there, it's a lump...

      Well, we don't know exactly where the ol' pater's kid is on the batshit scale either. As for it being a small nuke, I doubt it. The plot of Home Front might be fairly engaging and also quite obvious propaganda, but the US is neither on its knees through fuel starvation. nor about to do anything other than act like a rabid dog if somebody did EMP the shit out of North America.

      Of course, that could be the plan.</paranoia>

  9. hplasm
    Unhappy

    And in the West...

    The UK slips down another notch in space launch history.

    1. Danny 14

      Re: And in the West...

      at least prospero did something measurable.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: And in the West...

        oh and isnt virgin galactic a british company?

        1. hplasm
          Unhappy

          Re: And in the West...

          Virgin Galactic- yes indeed, and a private one at that; the Govt decided there was no future in space launching a long time ago, preferring to embark on a downward slope instead.

          Good luck, Mr Branson- the Govt don't deserve the future.

        2. Kharkov
          Facepalm

          Re: And in the West...

          Yes, it is a British company & it's launched... Erm...

          Next year it it will launch... Erm...

          Ok, it'll put people into (sub)orbit starting in... Erm... soon.

          Virgin Galactic, selling $100,000 tickets and delivering... Nothing!

          Makes you proud to be British.

  10. taxman
    Angel

    While back in Blighty

    efforts are underway in Shropshire to join the race for space

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqtKktjAx7c

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Well done!

    Well, just to counter the almost universal "Oh noes. North Korea is going to take over the world!" mass hysteria [caused presumably by a mixture of drinking US government kool-aid and watching too many James Bond films], I'd like to applaud North Korea's technical achievement.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Well done!

      I would like to join you in that.

      I don't care what the regime is but a successful space launch is an achievement to be proud of. And the more nations get indigenous space launch capability the more likely it is that one or more of them will want to go further and farther than throwing CB radios into orbit.

      So, let them sing their kwang-my-dong song, they deserved it!

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

        Re: Well done!

        I wholeheartedly agree it is an achievement, and the scientists and engineers involved certainly deserve congratulations. Raise a glass of Munbaeju for them.

        However, the politicians might change their priorities. I might suggest "food first, rockets later" as a suitable mnemonic for a policy that will serve the people better.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well done!

          "food first, rockets later" For the Chinese, or the NKs?

          People need to see that there are things bigger than they are, that man's reach should exceed his grasp, so that you know that there's something damn well worth living for. Whether that's religion, collective achievement, or whatever floats your boat. We all desire something... numinous.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Well done!

            Ah, but i've seen the "Adventures of Kim jong un" cartoons on Youtube.

            Its all a cover, He's probably been quietly farting "Friendship missiles" into orbit for years.

        2. Philip Lewis
          Pint

          Re: Well done!

          This known in economics textbooks as the "guns or butter" question.

          me: I choose beer!

    2. Bumpy Cat
      WTF?

      Re: Well done!

      I suppose you would also applaud Nazi Germany launching the V2. Well done NK for launching a primitive rocket; meanwhile hundreds of thousands of NK people are born and live in the gulag, until they are beaten/starved/worked to death.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        Re: Well done!

        "...I suppose you would also applaud Nazi Germany launching the V2..."

        Certainly not. And I'm glad that, after the war the Allies destroyed all advanced Nazi space/rocketry research [including that obtained from experimentation on concentration camp inmates] and had nothing whatsoever to do with the the evil Nazi scientists, such as Werner von Braun, who were responsible for it all.

        ...Oh, wait.

      2. Psyx
        Facepalm

        Re: Well done!

        "I suppose you would also applaud Nazi Germany launching the V2."

        Pretty much the same thing as applauding the moon landings, really. Same tech. Same people behind it.

        Also: Godwins.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Re: Well done!

      "I'd like to applaud North Korea's technical achievement"

      I wouldn't. Given that they're repressing a country of 25 million people, I'd want something better than this to applaud the techncial achievement. For crying out loud, the Reg SPB put a paper aircraft into space, and how many people are they repressing and starving? Just a few sub editors who probably deserve it, I'd guess.

      1. Ted Treen
        Devil

        @Ledswinger

        "Just a few sub editors who probably deserve it, I'd guess."..

        Undoubtedly, but I'm sure there are other equally (at least) deserving cases within El Reg's hallowed portals...

  12. NomNomNom

    Well done North Korea. Stick it to those jumped up piece of shit politicians in every other country in the world.

    1. Steven Roper
      Stop

      Enemy mine has its limits

      Look, I know our politicians suck. I know they're in the pockets of amoral and corrupt corporations, I know our governments are liars and crooks, I know the greedy bankers etc. etc. etc. I share your anger and your pain.

      But just stop and take a look at what NK's leadership actually is compared to ours before you start proclaiming that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Answer me this: If you're going to be bitten, would you rather be bitten by a dog, or by a viper?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Enemy mine has its limits

        Would that be a normal dog, rabid dog or a dog with bees in its mouth that barked to shoot bees at you before it bit you?

      2. NomNomNom

        Re: Enemy mine has its limits

        "But just stop and take a look at what NK's leadership actually is compared to ours before you start proclaiming that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Answer me this: If you're going to be bitten, would you rather be bitten by a dog, or by a viper?"

        Id rather let the dog and viper fight each other and not be bitten at all.

        The enemy of my enemy is also my enemy. I win. Except I am my own worst enemy.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Enemy mine has its limits

        How big's the dog? Does it need its teeth cleaned?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Enemy mine has its limits

          ....I speak as someone who nearly lost an "entire leg" due to mosquitoes and subcutaneous strep.

          Vipers, pah!! We don''t need no steenking....

          They had to ultrsound flow-check my veins and arteries to make sure I still had any that worked........

          Tip of the week-don''t scratch yer bites! Your skin's there for a reason!

          And if you get black blood coming out of your leg and a clanging headache and fever up to 40Deg C ... well!

          don''t just sit at home.... I did for a week, but the guy before me for 2 weeks... but bearing in mind it was rapidly approaching his bo***cks up his leg from below....... not good! Time to get the priest on standby!

          The cure is of course gasoline-pump-style antibiotics most of the day into your arm for up to 7 weeks......

          Thought this inanity might distract you from Norks :P

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone else like the North Korean news presenter's style?

    We should demand the BBC and Sky adopt the same style of terrifying enthusiasm when discussing the latest triumphs of the coalition:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2012/dec/12/north-korea-launches-rocket-video

    1. the-it-slayer

      Re: Does anyone else like the North Korean news presenter's style?

      If we launched a rocket in France's backyard, they'd be people out in the streets in celebration. We did own/run an empire once.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does anyone else like the North Korean news presenter's style?

        If we launched a rocket in France's backyard, they'd be people out in the streets in celebration. We did own/run an empire once.

        Yes, but the French have their own nuclear deterrent, and one that they (rather than Washington) have the keys to. They might fight back, attacking Dover with multiple garlic warheads, for example, or setting off a dirty cheese bomb in Knightsbridge.

        So I like your idea, but I think we should choose somewhere that doesn't pose much threat. The Channel Islands, or Denmark seem credible options.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well done

    Well done NK. Stick it to the man..

    While I don't approve of the way they run their society (which is not Communist by the way but more like Nazism), I applaud them for this technical achievement.

    Also, this is not an 'illegal' launch as many will have you believe. NK is a sovereign country, they can do whatever they want.

    1. Ben Liddicott
      Pint

      "Stick it to the man"???? Srsly?

      "Well done Kim, you are really sticking it to the Man by launching your missile!"

      Never mind that to millions of Koreans he IS the Man!

      Srsly, that's an insane thing to say. Launching a missile has nothing to do with the equal dignity of the Korean people, and is all about Kim and the ruling clique holding on to their absolute power. But to you, that's "sticking it to the man".

      Bonkers.

    2. Psyx
      FAIL

      Re: Well done

      "Well done NK. Stick it to the man."

      That's either ironic or stupid. I'm not sure which.

      The NK leadership certainly are sticking it to the man, if by 'the man' you mean the millions of their own people they could have bothered feeding instead of launching a vanity project.

      Or do you mean that PRNK are sticking it to 'the man' in that 'the men' there in the ruling elite are sticking it to 'the men' in the ruling elite in the rest of the world, by doing something that the others did about 50 years ago?

      I know that if I was 'the man' in a civilised first world nation, being driven to an expensive dinner party in a Bentley, in a £1000 suit, reading the news on my iPad, while sipping 25 year old scotch, I'd feel very 'stuck to' to read this news. Not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well done

        Don't worry. One day the two Koreas will be reunited, North Korea's nuclear weapon and ballistic missile projects will become divisions of Samsung, doing a good export trade with Iran and other countries, but also operating their own nuclear deterrent so next time Apple launches a bogus lawsuit against Samsung the response will be a lot less bogus than Jobs's threat to "go thermonuclear".

  15. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Trollface

    Pictures please, or it didn't happen

    Oh wait, hang on.....

  16. a_mu
    Megaphone

    X35

    Now were the US putting up a mil shuttle as well,

    connected ?

  17. MahFL22
    Mushroom

    Gotcha !

    Thats what the North Koreans will be saying in Korean. Fooled the world they did with talk of a delayed launch.

  18. Johan Bastiaansen
    FAIL

    I have nukes

    North Korea has nukes? Iraq had nukes?

    How come everybody knows this stuff and I don't?

    I have nukes, so there.

    1. Phil E Succour
      Alert

      Re: I have nukes

      >>I have nukes, so there.

      I'd be careful saying things like that on the interwebs, you'll have the black helicopters overhead and SWAT teams kicking in your door if past experience is anything to go by...

    2. Psyx

      Re: I have nukes

      "North Korea has nukes?"

      DPRK almost certainly has nukes, having done a few tests which were probably nuclear. It also claims to have them, and certainly has the facilities to make the required materials.

      It hasn't signed any paperwork saying it doesn't have chemical weapons and it has been pretty proactive in giving its troops NBC gear and training.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

    3. Ben Liddicott
      Pint

      Re: I have nukes

      North Korea is in the position of "might have nukes" and has been since they de-fueled their reactors in the 1980s. They have about enough to make a couple of bombs using an old fashioned, easy design, or up to about 6 or 8 with a modern, harder to do, design.

      That's why they haven't tested them*. They haven't got enough. So who knows whether they work? One things for sure, nobody wants to find out.

      North Korea also have heavy artillery within range of Seoul - capable of causing almost as much damage as a nuke.

      (*There was a supposed test. This proves they can load a mineshaft full of the fertiliser/oil mixture known as ANFO. At least as long as the Americans continue to supply fertiliser and fuel oil to feed and power the country.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I have nukes

        They might have "nukes" but don't a lot of their tests go off like a damp squib?

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: I have nukes

          As I understand they have produced enough Pu for a fission bomb but they are having problems with making the chemical explosive lens (which is not surprising as the Manhattan project people also were stumped by this for a long time) and that's why their test fizzled.

          Now a good chunk of the Pu they've produced is spread in a thin layer over the inside of an underground cave and no one can be persuaded to go in and scrape it off for reuse (I wonder why...).

  19. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Fair F**ks, Lads

    They actually got something into orbit. That's not easy.

  20. SirDigalot

    North Koreas space programme

    makes me think of my Kerbals, I think the success rate is about the same also.

    Mun or BUST!

    1. M Gale

      Re: North Koreas space programme

      Jebediah for World Leader.

      That guy is fearless!

  21. The Grump
    Mushroom

    Before we kill the commies in NC...

    We need to "do something" about the commies here in the US and UK. I mean, what do you think President O'Blunder is - a capitalist? And the 50% of the US who voted for him? All communists. No one has a right to take one cent out of a rich person's pocket and give it to a poor person. That stealing - theft - robbery.

    But when the Govt does it, it's called "Social Justice" - just Communism by another name. Let's ban the politicans from using the word "fair" - the mating call of the Communist. Before you begin killing communist Koreans, what will you do about the commies in your own backyard - or Parliment - or Congress? Hmmmm....

  22. mickey mouse the fith

    Interesting development

    Wonder how long before their little sat drops out of orbit and lands in someones backyard?. Make it out of something that could survive reentry and you have a nice little kinetic weapon. Make the excuse that it was an accident and you have valuable targeting data without comeback.

    As to the norks being any threat to us, there not, most of the millitary personal are only conscripted to stop them getting uppity. They are poorly trained and have old,obsolete equipment. The U.S could flatten the entire country remotely if it wanted to, its only China`s influence stopping them, much like all the politics behind the scenes in the Vietnam war (you cant bomb that airbase, theres a chinese observer there and we will be very annoyed if you do etc).

    For a lot of the populace, its only fear of the regime that stops them legging it across the border. Remove the regime and put food on peoples plates and the people will soon forget the propoganda and indoctrination.

    1. Anonymous Coward 15

      Re: Interesting development

      >its only fear of the regime that stops them legging it across the border.

      And, y'know, the armed guards, mines and barbed wire.

  23. N2

    Hmm

    Also in other news X-37b super snooping wireless data slurping mystery spy robot was launched. No surprises why thats lurking around to have a swat at then?

  24. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Interesting reflection on UK propaganda machine

    On the morning (UK time) of the test BBC announced that NK has successfully launched a satellite into orbit.

    In the evening on the same day, the same BBC was only talking about the NK's test of a long-range missile, utterly illegal, of course, one that may one day strike the Southern United States* and worthy of condemnation by all peace loving nations on Earth. No mention of a successful orbital insertion whatsoever. A wonderful example of objective coverage of the world events. Clearly, no "advice" received from the Foreign Office or anything of that sort...

    *) Hey, BBC, they've put something into *orbit*. That means that they can already drop a heavier something on any point on the surface of the planet.

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