That’s what the Kyunghyang Shinmun is suggesting, citing a report in Japan’s Sankei Shimbun.
According to the report, the US government limited its provision to South Korea of secret intel, including satellite photos, during the final stages of North Korea’s rocket launch preparations. Washington was reportedly upset about the South Korean government leaking intel on North Korea to the South Korean press, so responded by keeping Seoul in the dark.
Quoting multiple Japanese government officials, the Sankei reported today that Washington withheld satellite intel from Seoul as North Korea entered the final stage of its preparations.
With the United States withholding intel, Seoul could not get a grasp on North Korean preparations after it had first disassembled its rocket, and speculation spread that it would be a while before the North would be able to launch.
On the other hand, the paper reported that the United States continued to supply the Japanese government with satellite photo intel, allowing the Japanese government to respond quickly. The Japanese foreign minister, in fact, alluded to close cooperation with the United States in a press conference held immediately after the launch.
Marmot’s Note: I’m skeptical—considering the source, this might be nothing more than Japanese right-wing trouble-making. I really should be surprised that a good progressive paper like the Kyunghyang isn’t displaying more skepticism, too. But I’m not.
Call it wishful thinking, but I refuse to believe the United States stiffed Seoul on something this important, and I especially refuse to believe the United States would intentionally embarrass the pro-American administration of a major ally right before what everyone predicts to be a close presidential election.
Still, if I might be able to play LMB spin-doctor for a moment, with criticism coming from Moon Jae-in and other progressive sorts that the conservatives have screwed the
pouch pooch as far as national security is concerned, this at least gives them an excuse—blame Obama!
(HT to Don Kim)