N. Korean Rocket Fails
North Korea’s much-anticipated rocket launch, publicized as a means to collect data about North Korea’s agricultural resources in order to inform the nation’s response to natural disasters but likely a guise to test the country’s long-range rockets, failed and fell apart before reaching orbit on Friday. The failure apparently surprised North Korean leaders, who had been so certain of its success that international press was invited into the country. BBC correspondent Damian Grammaticas reflected the experience of the journalists in a tweet: “Now in bizarre situation our NKorea minders asking ME to tell THEM if rocket has launched. Went up 4 hours ago but they have no information.”
While the failure of the rocket was a relief to those concerned about the progress of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, North Korea’s actions still violate UN treaties and international law. The U.N Security Council issued a statement strongly condemning the rocket launch.
North Korea’s actions also set back the cause of achieving a nuclear weapons-free world—a world we are compelled to work toward by our Jewish values, which eschew weapons that would kill indiscriminately and create sustained and lasting damage to the environment and command us to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalms 34:15).
Some analysts have suggested that the rocket’s failure and the invitation to international press is an indicator of a power struggle between Kim Jong-Eun and the military. However Sung-Yoon Lee, a scholar of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts, rejected this analysis in an op-ed in the New York Times, writing: “While a military clique may one day challenge or even overthrow Kim Jong-un, the notion that the military wields a veto now is a mirage that plays into North Korea’s stratagems.”
In order to avert a third nuclear test, Lee suggests that the U.S. respond to Friday’s failed test as though it was a success by continuing to cancel food shipments that were contingent on the end of North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and tightening economic sanctions.
Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Kyodo News