A little cryptic title for my long-overdue first post in 2013, but I’ll quickly explain. Having a wisdom tooth removed is not an experience I would wish on many people, yet is something I had to go through this past week. A couple of weeks ago I got a pain at the back of my [...]
North Korea: Up, up, up and a failure!
In news that is not really going to shock anyone with more than a couple of brain cells to rub together, this morning’s rocket/satellite/missile launch by DPRK has appeared to have ended in abject failure. The Tongchang-dong launched at 7:39 local time and was up for a… well, for a minute. Which makes it marginally more successful than when Richard Hammond & James May attempted to put a Reliant Robin into space and use it as the new space shuttle (see below).
Whether it was a rocket, a satellite launch or a missile test is by the by; the fact is that it was quite an impressive, but understandable failure. You’ve got to admire them sticking to the task, but their people don’t have the skills and technology together to make it successful. It’s like me going out and saying I’m going to build a house. I might be able to put something together that looks like a house, and make people believe that it’s a house, but it’ll all fall apart once the wind blows against it. Compounded by the fact that it was Friday 13th, it was never going to be a success. They should have really left it until Sunday 15th (Kim Il Sung’s birthday) for the launch. Am going to guess the DPRK State Media will report a successful launch, or just give no report at all to its people about it.
The Japanese government and media will probably be some of the most disappointed, as they were really trying to use this to play the victim card and show its people how scary the DPRK is and how we should be in constant fear of them. And they’ve done a good job of that over the past few weeks, culminating in my school (under orders from the city) distributing some flyer of some sort to each student yesterday, warning them to take care, and presumably offering advice on what to do should they find a missile impaling them to the ground. With all the stuff going on in Japan domestically, is this the most important thing to be advising students about?
But it’s passed, so now Japan will continue its inevitable push to a new “Prime Minister for a year” in August or September (Noda’s latest approval ratings have reached a record low, at 25% according to the Daily Yomiuri). Had the test been a success, no doubt it could have been used by the incumbent party as something to try and rally people around (‘Forget about how bad we are… look at the scary North Koreans”). And the Okinawan media will britruipng it’s focus back from projecting North Korea as the enemy to projecting the US military as public enemy number 1. The status quo has been restored.
This little story also gives me the chance to remind you of my travelogue with plenty of pictures and stories from my trip to North Korea in 2005. Take a look here.