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North Korea just shot a long-range missile over Japan

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Hey guys, it seems another long-range missile was fired over Japan by North Korea.

I didn't watch TV today, so even though I live in Yokohama I was not aware it had happened. Some forums I frequent had mentioned it, and I hear if you were in Okinawa your phone alert might have even gone off!

I realize there is not much to say here in the way of opinions (missiles are bad, mmkay), but did anyone see or hear anything, either outside, from someone they know in Japan or Korea, or from the Japanese news that they'd like to share?
 

thomas

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Lil' Kimi boy craves attention, and the less he gets the better.
So what was on their to-do list:
  • A-bomb check
  • H-bomb check
  • space programme check
  • hell, they even got their own OS
What's next if still no one wants to play?
 
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I think there was even an exact term for it.
I read somewhere about a cycle of events which usually transpires like this:
1.) NK needs aid because they lack, well, any basic means to fend for themselves
2.) NK Creates Ruckus, raises fist in air, threatens everyone around them, tells them about the wrath the that'll be brought upon them
3.) Someone finally rolls their eyes and throws them a small incentive to shut them up, which NK hungrily stuffs into its pockets(its citizens never getting a dime of it) and goes back to step 1 after a few years

I guess you have no other means to survive if your biggest strength is a really bad attempt at (poorly) opressing generations of masses.
 
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I'm surprised North Korea could even afford to launch a missile in the first place. Or even have a crew to launch it.
 
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I kind of hoped Japan would have shot the missile out of the sky, but of course THAT would cause a lot of trouble.
 

chldudghks0517

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Hello, guys. Korean here. First of all, I just want to say that I thank all JREF staff members (especially Toritoribe) for helping me a lot in learning Japanese. I'm currently studying for N3.

I'm writing here because, well, I think this is my way of returning the favor to JREF after getting a ton of help.

I realize there is not much to say here in the way of opinions (missiles are bad, mmkay), but did anyone see or hear anything, either outside, from someone they know in Japan or Korea, or from the Japanese news that they'd like to share?
I feel that a lot of people are keen on what another outrageous stunt North Korea is up to. I will just write here to elaborate or comment on the previous posts.

Hey guys, it seems another long-range missile was fired over Japan by North Korea.
Actually, no. The missile was fired not across Japan, but across the sea west of the Korean Peninsula (also known as the Yellow Sea). The red, dashed lines show the predicted trajectory of the North Korean missile.




Lil' Kimi boy craves attention, and the less he gets the better.
You're right; he wants attention. And he uses the attention he gets to reinforce the foundation of his totalitarian, autocratic, communist regime by saying, "Oh, look! The world's eyes are on us." or "This how advanced and powerful we are. We can now target any country in the world, USA included, with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)."

I agree with you on the fact that it's better for dictator Kim to receive less attention, but history shows that he (and his father and grandfather) never failed to get the attention of the world, and the status quo isn't likely to change any time soon.

  • A-bomb check
  • H-bomb check
  • space programme check
Yes, Pyeongyang does possess an atomic bomb in its nuclear arsenal, but they don't have a hydrogen bomb yet. Not quite. North Korea simply modified its atomic bomb to make it look like a hydrogen bomb. A lot of South Korean experts disagree that North Korea is in possession of a "complete" hydrogen bomb.

What's next if still no one wants to play?
Well, someone has to play with North Korea (at least on the negotiating table). And obviously, China is going to be part of that game.

I think there was even an exact term for it.
I read somewhere about a cycle of events which usually transpires like this:
1.) NK needs aid because they lack, well, any basic means to fend for themselves
2.) NK Creates Ruckus, raises fist in air, threatens everyone around them, tells them about the wrath the that'll be brought upon them
3.) Someone finally rolls their eyes and throws them a small incentive to shut them up, which NK hungrily stuffs into its pockets(its citizens never getting a dime of it) and goes back to step 1 after a few years
Your quite right, BillMad. That had been the cycle of events, so to speak, in the past, but not anymore. Not after dictator Kim Jong-un seized the throne.

1.) NK needs aid because they lack, well, any basic means to fend for themselves
-> Right. A lot of people are starving in North Korea even at this very moment. No doubt about that. Data shows that hundreds and thousands of defectors flee from North Korea every year due to extreme hunger and oppression and other terrible things you can only imagine.

However, due to extreme hunger, a lot of North Korean people went out to the streets and started selling goods. And voila, you have a free market in a communist society. That's quite ironic. The previous North Korean autocrats used to punish, or worse "publicly" execute, people who sell things on the streets because free market and free trade are "incompatible with" the communist ideology. So, a lot of people had no choice but to just continue their impecunious lives with the meager amount of ration provided by the government, begged for food in the streets, or just died out. We call this heartbreaking period in history the Arduous March (고난의 행군).

But things have changed now.

People are risking their lives in the so-called free market. It's very clear to anyone and everyone that you'd rather earn money for at least your family, if not for yourself, and feed them. It's human instinct. Humans will do anything to survive. So, a lot of people just ignore what the North Korean regime is saying and continue to buy and sell things in the market. It is kind of like a black market, but well, it's a market for you. In fact, there is an even bigger market now: the smuggling market. A lot of North Koreans smuggle goods to and from their nearest and closest neighbor, China. Yes, smuggling is illegal in many parts of the world, but it's the only "arguably justified" means of survival for the people of North Korea. (Disclaimer: I'm not saying smuggling is a good thing to do. It's a bad idea. It is illegal.)

Kim, Jong-un is not that stupid (and I'm not in any way praising him), so he allowed some government-operated "official" markets to open in Pyongyang (well, in Pyongyang only). Experts say that the ideas of capitalism is slowly entering North Korea, and even dictator Kim has to compromise and accept some forms of it.

By the way, did you know that there is a convenience store in North Korea. But what's the use of it being there? No one has the money to buy the goods! Ha!

2.) NK Creates Ruckus, raises fist in air, threatens everyone around them, tells them about the wrath the that'll be brought upon them

You couldn't have said it better. North Korea always causes of ruckus and threaten other countries when they are in need, but no country has actually got hurt, except South Korea. Pyongyang once sent a South Korean submarine underwater, killing dozens of soldiers. It has also planted a land mine near the South Korean border in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), almost killing one soldier who eventually had to amputate his leg.

But I personally think that they don't really create a ruckus to receive financial and humanitarian aid anymore. They secretly trade with their closest ally China, millions, if not billions, of dollars every year. The economic sanctions imposed by United Nations, United States, and Japan on Pyongyang didn't make it budge not even a little bit (just look at what North Korea is doing right now). They have, over time, developed this "immunity" against economic sanctions.

What I think North Korea is doing is to secure this sort of a "trump card" for the negotiations. Nuclear warhead is the only and last resort that DPRK can look to bargain with when it meets with other nations. North Korea's goal, according to what I've actually heard from the DPRK media, is to conclude a peace treaty with the US (sounds ridiculous enough, eh?) and unite the Korean Peninsula with communist ideology (I'm lost for words).

I guess you have no other means to survive if your biggest strength is a really bad attempt at (poorly) opressing generations of masses.
Right. Pyongyang knows this so, as I've mentioned previously, it has allowed some form of market trade to take place within the capital. They are also trying to attract tourists from other countries to bring in foreign currency to the country. They are still trading military weapons with countries like Iran and Syria. They are doing a lot of things to keep the government running. But in the end, all for naught.

I'm surprised North Korea could even afford to launch a missile in the first place. Or even have a crew to launch it.
I'm not surprised at all. What would you expect from a heartless man who rips of his people unilaterally and takes delight in firing a billion-dollar missile when his people are suffering hell on Earth?

Oh, they do have a crew to launch it. In fact, North Korea has invested far more money and invested far earlier than South Korea in the missile/space program. South Korea dropped out of that program due to pressure from the US.

I kind of hoped Japan would have shot the missile out of the sky, but of course THAT would cause a lot of trouble.
Yes. It would have been a BIG trouble, considering the fact that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made his country a country that can now wage war if its national interests are threatened.

It was only one missile it wouldn't be worth the effort.
I understand what you are saying, and I had thought that way for a long time now. But that missile which successfully placed a satellite in orbit is definitely worth the effort as far as North Korea is concerned.

Phew. That was long.

Oh, by the way, happy new (Chinese) year!
 
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While there is undoubtedly some technology transfer regarding overall rocketry, a liquid-fueled rocket is a piss poor ICBM. It's big, it's obvious for some time in advance to anyone watching via satellite, it takes time to fuel it up, right before launch...

It's anything but a surprise, it's not available at the flick of a switch, it can't be hidden or protected (in a silo, on a sub), which is where (solid fuel) ICBMs are usually located. A small drone could damage it beyond launch-ability. And that "eun-ha" is big, compared to a Minuteman, and with less range and payload.

And then once something is up there, the next trick is to get something to come down in the right place.

Yawn...
 

chldudghks0517

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A far larger consideration would be the consequences of trying and failing.
You're right. If the missile had failed and inflicted damage on another country's territory, then the ramifications would be severe. And the people, not the government, will have to should all that burden.

While there is undoubtedly some technology transfer regarding overall rocketry, a liquid-fueled rocket is a piss poor ICBM. It's big, it's obvious for some time in advance to anyone watching via satellite, it takes time to fuel it up, right before launch...
Right. A lot of people say that North Korea's nuclear missile can't really function as a weapon to bring about mass casualties because of the missile systems such as THAAD which can intercept missiles in the air. I think it's more of a neutralizer, an asymmetric weaponry used as a tool to bargain with other countries which are superior than it.

That's part of the reason that North Korea has begun developing a submarine-launched ballistic missile, or SLBM. North Korea is trying to find a way to fire a missile equipped with a nuclear warhead from a submarine underwater which is difficult to spot using hundreds of satellites orbiting this planet or other radar systems on land.

But still, you can't stop doubting their "actual" military firepower.

Uh-uh. Just flexin' it for show.
 
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I'm surprised North Korea could even afford to launch a missile in the first place. Or even have a crew to launch it.
First thing that crosses my mind every time I see something like this. One can almost say they're holding their own citizens as prisoners and slaves.
 

Mike Cash

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You're right. If the missile had failed and inflicted damage on another country's territory, then the ramifications would be severe. And the people, not the government, will have to should all that burden.
I was referring to the consequences of Japan attempting to shoot the missile down and failing. The NK leadership would have a field day with that.
 
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Doesn't North Korea have South Korea to fire at? Unless NK was trying to see how far their missiles go, then what was the point? They already are in trouble with the Americans and South Koreans. If they bring Japan in they are just asking for it.
 

Uncle Frank

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Years ago (early 70's) when the cold war and Vietnam War were going on , I worked in direction finding in Fukuoka. We mainly tracked Russian nuke subs and nuke bombers. Each week like clockwork , 3 bombers would take off and fly towards Japan. They always turned around before entering Japan's air space without fail. Just once in the 2 years I tracked them , they did not turn around , and what a panic it caused. With all the fancy gear we use now for spying , we probably know more about what goes on in North Korea than they do.
 
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Years ago (early 70's) when the cold war and Vietnam War were going on , I worked in direction finding in Fukuoka. We mainly tracked Russian nuke subs and nuke bombers. Each week like clockwork , 3 bombers would take off and fly towards Japan. They always turned around before entering Japan's air space without fail. Just once in the 2 years I tracked them , they did not turn around , and what a panic it caused. With all the fancy gear we use now for spying , we probably know more about what goes on in North Korea than they do.
Jeez man, I bet your day would be very stressful. I would be like s*** call command if I saw Russian bomber close to the airspace that the country I work for owns.
 
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North Korea’s military threat is very real but not as great as the Japanese and Western media like to make out. It has nuclear capability but experts doubt that they have yet been able to make a device small enough for a missile warhead. When they are able to, their restricted ability to produce weapons grade plutonium means a limitation of perhaps one or two warheads per year.

At the moment they have zero capability of firing modern weapons from their fleet of submarines. The best of these are about 20 Soviet / Chinese built Romeo Class subs dating from the 1950’s.

The Japan Maritime SDF have a fleet of Soryu class subs that are generally recognised as the best conventional submarines in the world. They alone would make short work of The NK fleet.

There has been satellite photographs of a new submarine that is being built in North Korea, but is no threat as of today.

The large and easy to monitor missiles they have would give early warning of any potential strikes. Although there was a photograph seen of a cruise type missile, it is unlikely they have the technology available to deliver it effectively.

More of a concern for me would be multiple launches of missiles with Chemical and Biological weapons, both of which they have large stockpiles of (including Sarin).

The argument that Kim Jong Un is not stupid enough to start a war with South Korea or Japan and therefore the US, falls down when you look at his increasingly shaky hold over the country.

He could intentionally start a war to divert attention from a challenge to his power from within the Peoples Assembly / the military or an uprising of discontent from the desperate population.

It’s a ploy that’s been used many times throughout history by those in power, doing anything to hold onto their positions.
 
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North Korea’s military threat is very real but not as great as the Japanese and Western media like to make out. It has nuclear capability but experts doubt that they have yet been able to make a device small enough for a missile warhead. When they are able to, their restricted ability to produce weapons grade plutonium means a limitation of perhaps one or two warheads per year.

At the moment they have zero capability of firing modern weapons from their fleet of submarines. The best of these are about 20 Soviet / Chinese built Romeo Class subs dating from the 1950’s.

The Japan Maritime SDF have a fleet of Soryu class subs that are generally recognised as the best conventional submarines in the world. They alone would make short work of The NK fleet.

There has been satellite photographs of a new submarine that is being built in North Korea, but is no threat as of today.

The large and easy to monitor missiles they have would give early warning of any potential strikes. Although there was a photograph seen of a cruise type missile, it is unlikely they have the technology available to deliver it effectively.

More of a concern for me would be multiple launches of missiles with Chemical and Biological weapons, both of which they have large stockpiles of (including Sarin).

The argument that Kim Jong Un is not stupid enough to start a war with South Korea or Japan and therefore the US, falls down when you look at his increasingly shaky hold over the country.

He could intentionally start a war to divert attention from a challenge to his power from within the Peoples Assembly / the military or an uprising of discontent from the desperate population.

It’s a ploy that’s been used many times throughout history by those in power, doing anything to hold onto their positions.
Pretty much what should be said about Korea.
 
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He could intentionally start a war to divert attention from a challenge to his power from within the Peoples Assembly / the military or an uprising of discontent from the desperate population.
Not saying it will be cause for war, but the upcoming DPRK people's congress--first in fifty years--could be interesting.
 
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I'm surprised that nobody has yet posted what is likely the primary reason for this test of a missile by the DPRK. And I will state up front that I no longer work for any government, so I am not spilling any sort of classified information here.

I doubt very seriously that the building and launching of that missile cost the folks in the DPRK any money at all. In fact, I think thay made a profit.

How many nations run by some folks with real money might be interested in testing some missile technology outside of their own area of control?

Okay, that's the first thing that came to my mind after I finished reading all the posts here. But the reason I read all the posts thus far was to see if anyone was a tad worried about another player in this dangerous game these "world leaders" are playing. And it is decidely dangerous.

Okey-dokey, I've got a February 10th Yomiuri Shimbun in English sitting over here on my left and the same words I read at breakfast on the 10th are still there staring up at me.

"We must stop its dangerous provocations by any means" -- and that is what that fella Abe apparently told that Obama fella over the phone.

I don't read anything about Obama questioning the last three words, BUT I AM!

And you good folks here should also be wondering just how far "any means" means?

In the normal way of reading that English there is no limit to what that Abe fella would do to stop that fella over there in the DPRK. I don't really think that is a wise idea.

Now you might want to counter that this is the way that these political types yak all the time and they don't really mean "by any means" when they use that language.

Fine, but then I have to ask when exactly are we supposed to take what they say seriously?

EDIT: A double space after a word is not so terrible that your text editor software should negate it. Owner here should fix that. Or get a new text editor. Thank you.
 
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"We must stop its dangerous provocations by any means" -- and that is what that fella Abe apparently told that Obama fella over the phone.

I don't read anything about Obama questioning the last three words, BUT I AM!

And you good folks here should also be wondering just how far "any means" means?
I think one aspect of that three-word phrase was specifically directed at ROK. It was code for "close Kaesong."

After all, ROK should be acting first, and it can act directly, cutting off about $120M/yr in DPRK revenues, and in addition unemploying 50k+ workers, and indirectly (since it cut power) also cutting water to a fair group of DPRK people. Claiming China (or Russia) has all the leverage while Kaesong remains open?!?!
 

Mike Cash

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Okey-dokey, I've got a February 10th Yomiuri Shimbun in English sitting over here on my left and the same words I read at breakfast on the 10th are still there staring up at me.

"We must stop its dangerous provocations by any means" -- and that is what that fella Abe apparently told that Obama fella over the phone.
I would reserve judgment until I saw what the Japanese version of the article said.
 
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I have the February 10th morning edition of the Japanese Yomiuri Shimbun here and see nothing about that line.

A quick check online, though, shows the Chicago Tribune with this:

<> <> <> Start Copy <> <> <>
Referring to North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch, Abe told Obama during telephone talks: "It [North Korea] ignored strong criticism of its nuclear test and went ahead [with the launch] in defiance of the international community's calls for restraint. We must stop its dangerous provocations by any means."
<> <> <> End Copy <> <> <>

So if they are quoting that as it was part of a telephone conversation I would have to assume that Obama's Japanese isn't so good and he got that bit of conversation given to him in English.

But if anyone can find anything in Japanese that refutes that assertion that Mr. Abe used that vocabulary, I'd be very thankful if they could post something here.
 
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Mr Abe's official announcements are carefully worded to be read and understood by numerous parties. Firstly to the Japanese people, he has to present a strong stance and reassure them that they will be protected.
He has to send a political message to his party and others within government that he is 'in control' of the situation and his response has to be tough enough to satisfy the large factions that lean to the right!
He has to confirm his allignment with the USA and other allies, in response to direct threats.
Importantly, he also has to send a very strong message to NK.
Now, you can read into 'by any means' whatever you want. It could mean full on trade embargoes, assett freezing, commercial interference ... or militarily ensuring that no more missiles threaten Japan. What does that mean? I don't know, you don't know and Kim Jong Un doesn't know .... and I think that's probably the reasoning behind that choice of words.The reality is that only China can really have an impact on them at this state anyway, but Mr Abe is a skillful politician and diplomat and I think his response is well measured.
 

Mike Cash

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But if anyone can find anything in Japanese that refutes that assertion that Mr. Abe used that vocabulary, I'd be very thankful if they could post something here.
Just to be clear, I'm not making any assumptions or assertions one way or the other regarding its accuracy. I would just prefer to know what actually came out of his mouth than a reported translation.
 
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