North Korea’s ‘Satellite’: Launch Failure Highlights Flaws in Kim’s Dictatorship

North Korea pushed ahead with the launch of what it called a “reconnaissance satellite” in defiance of requests from Japan, the United States and South Korea to stop the launch. Although the launch ended in failure, it was no doubt an outrageous act in violation of international law. There is something fundamentally wrong with the regime’s intentions regarding its use of science and technology.

According to Japan’s Defense Ministry, a flying projectile using ballistic missile technology was launched southward from North Korea. It separated into multiple pieces that fell in three sea areas outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

North Korea has admitted that the launch of a new type of rocket carrying a military reconnaissance satellite failed. Pyongyang said the first and second stages of the rocket were normal, but an error occurred in the “emergency blasting system” during the third stage. This is the second consecutive launch failure, the first being in May this year.

The rocket is estimated to have flown between Okinawa Island and Miyako Island during the third stage. An emergency warning via the J-Alert nationwide early warning system was issued to Okinawa Prefecture in the predawn hours. One cannot help but feel outraged at the dangerous launch of a rocket that threatens Japanese territory and the safety of its aircraft and vessels.

At the time of the failed launch in May, Pyongyang said the engine system and fuel were unstable, and it informed Tokyo of its plan to attempt another launch after identifying the problems.

Fixing rocket defects usually requires in-depth inspections and considerable time, but North Korea attempted another launch in less than three months. All pieces of the rocket fell outside the sea area where North Korea had previously announced they would land. It is obvious that it was far from a “normal flight.”

Pyongyang has notified Japan of its plan to attempt a third launch in October. As North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, has given strict orders to develop a satellite, those in charge of the development appear to feel pressed to do so. Actions that threaten regional stability without regard for danger are indicative of the flaws in his dictatorial regime.

Kim’s tactic of trying to safeguard his regime with nuclear weapons and missiles has increased regional tension, causing a vicious cycle that he uses as an excuse to continue expanding North Korea’s military build-up. Kim should be aware that the people of North Korea are paying the price and suffering from impoverishment as a result.

The U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions against North Korea prohibit any launch using ballistic missile technology. North Korea’s latest launch is nothing short of a violation of the resolutions.

China and Russia, permanent members of the Security Council, have opposed the strengthening of sanctions against North Korea. They must change their irresponsible attitude of tolerating Pyongyang’s repeated launches and cooperate in the implementation of sanctions.

Japan, the United States and South Korea just confirmed at their recent summit that they will take security cooperation to new heights. The hope is that they will continue their efforts to build an information-sharing system regarding North Korean missiles and enhance deterrence.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 25, 2023)