North Korean Rocket Launch Open Thread

So, North Korea celebrated the NFP’s electroral victory by launching a rocket a few minutes ago.

Initial reports are that it failed.

UPDATE: The South Korean Defense Ministry has officially announced that the North Korean rocket flew for about a minute or two after launch and then exploded in the air. And even North Korea is admitting it failed.

And no, it never violated South Korean territory.

Oh, and the ROKN Sejong the Great was the first ship to detect the launch. So congrats.

The Saenuri Party has condemned the launch, for what it’s worth.

UPDATE 2: The South Korean government estimates that North Korea spent about US$850 million on the launch.

Or enough to feed 19 million North Koreans for a year.

This is peanuts, actually, compared to the amount of money they’re sinking into the upcoming celebrations to mark Kim Il-sung’s birthday, which should come out to about US$2 billion, or roughly one-third of North Korea’s annual budget of US$5.7 billion.

This, children, is why we should never, ever send food to North Korea.

  • Jing

    North Korea is the Best Korea.

  • sluggh

    The rocket was always expected to splash down, was it not? So I guess I’m looking for a definition of “failure.”

  • WangKon936


    Correction: “North Korea is Best Korea”

  • red sparrow

    Well sluggh, IF you believe the bullshit that says the rocket was intended to deploy a satellite, you might consider ending up at the bottom of the Yellow Sea a failure.

  • cm

    It failed miserably. It flew for one minute and crashed into the sea.
    All that money that could have fed tens of thousands of people for years, down the drain. What a waste.

  • WangKon936

    I wonder how many NK engineers are going to go to the gulag for this failure?

  • cm

    The problem with North Korea is that they want to do this all by themselves. They really should work with China and Russia and plant spies all over them, and plant spies in the US’s NASA.

    But oops, they can’t do that because they’re so isolated from the world, it just wouldn’t be possible and unthinkable.

  • bumfromkorea
  • Charles Tilly

    At first, I felt a little a bad for PGH upon hearing this news. Here, during her hour of triumph, this little 정은 runt is stealing her thunder.

    Upon further thought, however, it might not be so bad. After all, it’s good material for some “안보 장사. ” And I don’t think the apparent fact that this launch failed should get in the way too much.

  • aaronm

    Was it just me, or did the satellite the Norks were showing to the foreign press look like some kind of avant-garde drinks cabinet? Maybe they were planning to send the dregs of the Dear Leader’s cognac collection into eternal orbit.

  • Q

    They really should work with China and Russia

    KJI’s will was found to have an interesting part. He alerted NK to watch out China and avoid being used by the closest ally. “김정일, 중국을 주의하라 유언”:

    김정일은 최대 맹방인 중국에 대해 “지금 우리와 가장 가까운 관계를 맺고 있지만 장래에는 가장 경계할 필요가 있는 나라가 될 수 있다.”면서 “역사적으로 중국이 우리나라에 어려움을 강제해 온 사실을 가슴에 새기고 주의하라. 중국에 이용당하는 것을 피하라.”

    In his will KJI also encouraged to keep developing nuclear weapon. So it is proven that sunshine policy was an epic failure. What has been a counteraction to NK nuke program? United States Circumvented Laws To Help Japan Accumulate Tons of Plutonium:

    The United States deliberately allowed Japan access to the United States’ most secret nuclear weapons facilities while it transferred tens of billions of dollars worth of American tax paid research that has allowed Japan to amass 70 tons of weapons grade plutonium since the 1980s, a National Security News Service investigation reveals.

    While Japan has refrained from deploying nuclear weapons and remains under an umbrella of U.S. nuclear protection, NSNS has learned that the country has used its electrical utility companies as a cover to allow the country to amass enough nuclear weapons materials to build a nuclear arsenal larger than China, India and Pakistan combined.

  • GI Korea

    This is a huge embarrassment for the Kim regime. It will be interesting to see what they do next to save face after this failure? The most likely course of action for them would be to try a third nuclear test.

  • slim

    Very few North Koreans will learn of this failure. I’m already seeing Russian North Korea expert/apologist Leonard Petrov saying on Facebook that North Korea deliberately aborted the rocket at the first stage to avoid international criticism.

  • 3gyupsal

    It is rocket science after all.

  • Angusmack

    If true, excellent news. Too bad it didn’t veer off course into Chinese airspace and land, oh, say, on a PLAAF airbase?

  • CactusMcHarris


    You think those sly devils are capable of such under-stated subterfuge? That would be applaudable, in a small way.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    North Korea failed miserably to meet its three objectives: legitimize Kim Jong-un as a leader, advertise its military technology to potential buyers, and gain leverage on the international scene by showing the world that it has the technology to strike North America. An additional nuclear test will not repair the damage. The world has finally awakened to realize what I’ve been saying for years, which is that North Korea is not a military power.

  • SomeguyinKorea


    Have you seen the video of the missile? It looked so flimsy, I’m actually surprised it didn’t break apart sooner in its flight.

  • Year of the Dragon

    Since the rocket did make it so far as to the East of Shanghai, I wonder if JongEun was telling China “Be careful”.

  • Year of the Dragon

    It was a good way to blow $850,000,000 anyway – hope JongEun feels good.

  • Mryouknowwho

    NK’s state tv news reported that the launch was a failure and that scientists are looking into the cause. So no cover up yet.

  • PeterDownUnder

    Blowing money able to feed 19 million citizens…truly feudalism at its best…

    I wonder if North Korean elites have money stashed away in foreign countries like Russian and Chinese elites ready to dash when things go down the drain.

    I wonder if in the future Korean authorities will be hunting down ex-party leaders throughout China.

  • http://n/a Lisa4588

    Have we (U.S.) ever launched a nuclear rocket?? And have any other countries? And have we or the other countries who have ever been threatened with sanctions by the UN? Just curious.

  • raintree_leaf

    North Korea should really get one of those “mission training” manual from Russia.

  • Wedge

    #13: Slim: As I’m sure you know, Petrov makes money bringing tours to Norkland. Covering for the dynastic dystopian death cult probably comes naturally to the guy.

  • Lliane

    With this failed launch North Korea takes the lead against South Korea with 3 failed launch to 2, thus we can say “North Korea is Best Korea”.

  • Granfalloon

    Some thoughts:
    – No way did North Korea spend $850 million on a project then abort it at birth to avoid international criticism. Not a chance.
    – The North Korean people are not at all sold on KJU as their leader, and this failure isn’t helping his cause. Good. Bad news is, though, now he is more likely to go looking for a provocation to prove his mettle.
    – North Korea still has no delivery system for those shiny, expensive nuclear warheads. Hey, I wonder why they seem to want that so badly…

  • eujin

    That $850 million price tag seems way high, especially for a low wage economy. The Europeans are planning to send a probe to Jupiter, which includes at least one successful rocket launch all the way to Jupiter, plus a whole bunch of other R&D etc and that’s budgeted to cost a total of around 850 million euros. The Russians were charging around $30 million per space tourist and they were turning a profit on that, so their launches can’t even be 10% as expensive as $850 million.

    Maybe the quoted figure is the total cost of the rocket program divided by three launches – which would be an obvious calculation to do, except that everyone thinks it’s just a cover for ballistic missile development, so there’s a bunch of other things that need to be included, like export earnings from Arabs in dark glasses.

  • bdmntn

    #22 – i don’t understand feudalism i suppose lol. according to the guardian, ( 50 million americans were unable to put food on the table in 2009, and from a more conservative source, ( 0.26% of american children go hungry on any given day in 2009 – out of a population of rougly 300 million that’s what, 7 million children?

    In 2009, the white house asked for 711 million dollars for military spending (100 million per child, lol) including pentagon spending and the separate budget for iraq and afghanistan.

    is america feudal? i don’t think so. i also thought conservatives believed that government created dependence. lol so isn’t it better for the people to be eating grass and tree bark rather than take government money that should be used on the military lol?

    op – agreed, america should never give food aid to any country, including the dprk. a peace treaty wouldn’t be bad though.

  • bdmntn

    #17 – my assumption about you, and please correct me if i am wrong, is that you are not ‘someguyinkorea’ but ‘someamericanguyinkorea’. lol.

    also just you and only you have been saying that north korea is not a military power? lol.

    the threat that the dprk poses to america is the same that iran poses to america … none. the dprk poses a threat to its own people and maybe the economy of the rok, japan, and the philippines and that’s about all.

    have you has seen map of asia? find the dprk. go down like a half an inch – military bases with probable nuclear capabilities. go right half an inch – same. down four more clicks – military bases were there until 2001 or something. right another click – american territories guam, marianas etc – also large military bases. now draw a circle from where you are, to hawaii dipping down to samoa, then back to japan through midway. this called american lake. many subs an ships here, many nuclear.

    now go north from dprk to find more huge nuclear countries.

    dprk military? must stay at war tho? lol

  • yuna

    #28 I suspect this happened, maybe in Monopoly money.

  • Creo69

    Can’t understand why anyone feels bad for North Korea. The USA and South Korea picked up about 95% of the tab for this epic failure.

  • Lliane

    #29 : Oh my god how can you be so terrible at Maths, you must be american.

  • R. Elgin

    Now would be the perfect time to strike for South Korea.

  • slim

    It’s quite surprising that NK readily and quickly admitted to its own people that it failed — without blaming the outside world of sabotage. Will they come clean on what happened on June 25, 1950? The Pueblo? Kim Jong-il’s birth in Russia?

  • eujin

    Will they come clean on what happened on June 25, 1950? The Pueblo? Kim Jong-il’s birth in Russia?

    Just out of curiosity, what is it they need to come clean on about the Pueblo? The US Navy was on a routine fishing expedition 15 miles off their coast and they seized the ship. I don’t know what the official North Korean propaganda line is, but if they neglect to mention to tourists that lawyers for the US government insist that the seizure was illegal under international law, then they’re really missing a trick.

  • SomeguyinKorea


    I’m neither American nor was I implying that I’m the only one who recognizes that North Korea’s military is a farce (1940’s, 50’s and 60’s tanks and planes which are probably improperly maintained if at all; soldiers whose frail appearance leaves little to wonder about their combat readiness,…)

  • slim

    @36. That the vessel was grabbed in international waters, contrary to North Korea’s official line.

  • dogbertt

    The Japanese made a lot of noise about shooting it down. Was it not possible to know until the last minute that the rocket was being launched in the opposite direction?

  • PeterDownUnder

    Problem for South Korea is how much it does it cost to volley a cannon ball in to Gangnam from the NK and how much does an anti-air missile to shoot it down cost?

    I hope SK and US have precision artillery pointed at NK positions for a clean first strike.

  • SomeguyinKorea


    First strike or not, anything of strategic importance in North Korea is known and targeted. We know it and they know it.
    A few Scuds actually hitting their targets wouldn’t win the war for North Korea. What worries our side most is unconventional warfare. That’s why North Korea claims its special forces have 180 000 soldiers.

  • jk6411

    A few Scuds actually hitting their targets wouldn’t win the war for North Korea. What worries our side most is unconventional warfare. That’s why North Korea claims its special forces have 180 000 soldiers.

    Doesn’t NK have 13,000 artillery pieces aimed at Seoul?
    Don’t they also have a huge stockpile of chemical and biological weapons?
    And hundreds of ballistic missiles to carry them? (which they routinely test?)
    NK’s conventional military forces may not amount to much, but they sure have the ability to terrorize South Korea.

  • Granfalloon

    That whole “sea of fire” thing is no joke. North Korea has big guns, and lots of them, pointed at Seoul. These guns are well hidden and in fortified positions, many of them nestled into caves. Casualty estimates for a full North Korean attack are in the millions.

    A North Korean ground invasion is less of a threat for a number of reasons. One reason is that te North has little capacity to establish a supply line even as far as Seoul.

  • SomeguyinKorea


    It’s one thing to have their scientists test missiles, it’s another to have their soldiers (most of which are starving peasants) launch them successfully.


    Maybe, but probably only if their attack is perfectly synchronized, which it wouldn’t be.

  • Year of the Dragon

    I’m neither American nor was I

    hehehehe… nobody wants to be American on here.

    The lawyer is an American.
    Pawi is an American.

    who else on here are Americans?

  • jk6411

    It’s one thing to have their scientists test missiles, it’s another to have their soldiers (most of which are starving peasants) launch them successfully.

    Well, I’m sure that their missile corps are better fed and trained than most NK soldiers. And their special forces troops, as well.

  • dogbertt

    hehehehe… nobody wants to be American on here.

    The lawyer is an American.
    Pawi is an American.

    who else on here are Americans?

    At least “American” sounds normal. “Koori” sounds like some kind of fish, for God’s sake.

    One might as well say, “I’m a Tilapia”.

  • Year of the Dragon

    actually I am Australian – but I guess you think Australian sounds abnormal too?

  • CactusMcHarris


    I’m ‘merkin, but livin’ in Canuckistan.


    Why yes I do – if you’re Australian you would agree. Crocodile Dundee is the greatest movie ever.

  • dogbertt

    Yes, when you pronounce it “Strine”.

  • Year of the Dragon

    but I don’t have an Australian accent. I have an international [or no] accent.

    Hence, why I am in such popular demand by companies such as SK, ETOOS, etc

  • hamel

    This, children, is why we should never, ever send food to North Korea.

    What a fatuous thing to say. Matched only by the latest troll emenations from YotD.

  • Year of the Dragon

    Dogbert started it, by making fun of the name “Koori”.

    all, I did was ask “who on here were American?”

  • Sperwer


    What’s “fatuous” about it? Food is a fungible commodity, and especially in the absence of the regime’s wllingness to permit outside administration of food aid to ensure its distribution to its most disadvantaged subjects, it’s the morally self-indulgent insistence of sentimentalists that food not be used as a weapon – which is precisey what the Norks are doing – that seems smugly fatuous.

  • Q

    Too bad it didn’t veer off course into Chinese airspace and land, oh, say, on a PLAAF airbase?

    That might change geopolotical relationship between the two countries. Hopefully, that leads toward NK and China giving up their nuke programs. Then, how about the failure of nuclear program of Japan that has been affecting the health of citizens of United States since the Fukushima disaster?!

  • slim
  • hamel

    What’s “fatuous” about it?

    Well, let’s look at the original statement by our friendly blogger here:

    This, children, is why we should never, ever send food to North Korea.

    What’s fatuous about it is the fundamental certainty with which it is asserted (with the redundant double whammy of the 2 superlative adverbs).

    Food is a fungible commodity,

    And that is one reason I think food should be sent into North Korea. I think there is certainly room for debate about donating food to the DPRK (I am not having that debate here), but absolute statements such as Robert’s have no place in it.

  • setnaffa

    “This, children, is why we should never, ever send food to North Korea.”

    Because, as the others have noticed but neglected to mention, the favorites of the Party are not starving, the food sent saves them money they can then spend on weapons, and it prolongs the regime and hence the suffering of the average citizen.

    Contemptible posers thinking they are “more compassionate than thou” are the reason the Kims are still in charge. Food aid, indeed any aid, facilitates the butchers and their concentration camps. It does NOT reach the politically unfavored who are the actual starvation victims.

    Read about how Socialism works, for crying out loud!

    “Communism” failed in America in the 1620s:

    Never let a crisis go to waste. In fact, create an series of ongoing crises:

    Hayek vs. Keynes? Well, the last 40 years have shown that there isn’t enough money to make Keynes’ theories work in the real world:

    You want freedom? You need choice. Only Capitalism offers choice:

  • setnaffa

    Communism only survives with the willing help of useful idiots.

  • NORA

    The lady that shot her husband and the other woman, was my lawyer. And never would hav guessed she would even kom klose to doing something like that. News was shocking.