Today, on 7th February 2016, at 00:30 GMT from launch site placed in Sohae rocket Unha-3 lifted object into the space.
North Korea authorities confirmed officially launching rocket from Sohae space launch center today. It means that Unha-3 with Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 satellite on atop, became next step on North Korea way into Space, or into possessing ICBM missile. Reaction of neighboring countries: Japan and South Korea was strong and clearly emphasized the danger which is an attempt to rocket to their state security. Launch was confirmed by NORAD, which was announced by LTC Martin O’Donnell, spokesman for U.S. Strategic Command:
“Initial observations, available on the publicly-available website Space-Track.org, indicate these two objects — NORAD catalog identification numbers 41332 and 41333 — are at an inclination of 97.5 degrees,”
Reaching space by satellite and orbit parameters were also officially confirmed by North Korean space agency. National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA) stated that satellite was placed into polar orbit with perigee at 94.6 km, apogee at 500 km and inclination at 97.4° according to statement by North Korean news agency KCNA. Flight took 9 minutes 46 seconds and parts of the rocket splashed after flight into Yellow Sea (one part), East China Sea (two other fragments) and about 2000 kilometers from south coast of Japan, in the Pacific Ocean (data were announced by Japanese Prime Minister’s office). Reaction of the United States was fast (what should not be surprising at all) and was announced by Secretary of State John Kerry:
“This is the second time in just over a month that the DPRK has chosen to conduct a major provocation, threatening not only the security of the Korean peninsula, but that of the region and the United States as well,”
Surprising in positive sense was strong reaction of China which previously was one of defenders of North Korea internationally. According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying:
“China expresses regret that DPRK, in spite of the pervasive opposition of the international community, insisted on using ballistic missile technology to carry out a launch.”
Still, China is not going to support any kind of sanctions again DPRK:
“China is against any unilateral sanction in international affairs,”
According to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang during press briefing in response to possible U.S. inspired sanctions against the DPRK.
It seems that now North Korea authorities with supreme leader Kim Jong-un will be in real trouble, paradoxically due the potential success (still there is no confirmation that satellite is in fact transmitting and operating). Successful attempt means that North Korea is reaching their objective – possessing nuclear weapon and strategic missiles able to reach USA. It means that China will lose its superior position in Asia. First in aspect of possession of nuclear warheads, second – China will gain competitor internationally due the fact of possessing ICBM, third – it is sure that other countries which are potential source of problems for USA could consider looking for political support not necessary in China, but in another “Big Brother”. Only China is able to put real pressure on North Korean leadership. Most of luxury goods, which are crucial for further divide and rule policy – essential form of Kim dynasty way of ruling, are transferred from China; China is planning investments in North Korea (good example is Masikryong Ski Resort built for Chinese money) and is main trade partner. In 2011 at least 89 % of North Korean trade was referring to China. Only Beijing is able to perform such actions to stop North Korea before they will develop fully operational ICBM missile; in that moment China will lose trade partner but will acquire unpredictable competitor.