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Crazy can go a long way, and so can long-range rockets. You put them together, and you have the potential for a tragedy. For a while now, North Korea has been the laughing stock of the international community, in most aspects, but most especially their missile testing. Previous tests have looked like an unstable firework display. Often spinning around with little direction and exploding within seconds of takeoff, with the potential to do more damage to North Korea than any other country.

 

As little as 18 hours ago, news organizations and experts were reporting that there was an expected delay with an inevitable missile launch from North Korea, due to satellite images that led to the belief maintenance was being done on the launch site. The United States and the international community was undoubtedly shocked when the rocket launched on Wednesday, but more surprised by the North Korea’s success in doing so.

Kim Jong-un, who has remained relatively untested from inheriting power from his father, established himself just as defiant and unpredictable, but with a bigger bite to his bark. North Korea has claimed that the launch was for space exploration purposes, and establishing a earth-observation satellite in orbit, called Kwangmyongsong-3. Say that three times fast.

“Initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit,” NORAD said

 

The missile traveled much further than any previously attempted by North Korea. The first stage of the missile fell into the Yellow and the second stage traveled as far the Philippine Sea. In the route it traveled it appeared to cross over Okinawa, Japan, a major hub for United States military forces in the Pacific region. Experts have stated that North Korea has yet to develop a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on one of their missiles, and even though this launch was a general success, it’s unclear whether or not they possess the technology to have any accuracy. One can only hope that the experts coming to this conclusion are not the same ones that stated there was a delay in a launch. There are some reports that differ from this conclusion which state North Korea could potentially have around half a dozen nuclear warheads.

A screen shows a rocket being launched from a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, at North Korea's satellite control centre in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province, in this photo released by Kyodo December 12, 2012. North Korea successfully launched a rocket on Wednesday, boosting the credentials of its new leader and stepping up the threat the isolated and impoverished state poses to opponents. REUTERS-Kyodo

In the recent past the US and the international community have responded with sanctions, but North Korea really experience no severe backlash. Almost like watching a defiant child play with fireworks, and waiting for them to blow a finger off. But now, with the success of this launch, a stronger response is needed. No longer can they be considered the crazies with rudimentary technology, with the new Kim, they obviously become more sophisticated. He’s been trying to solidify his reign, and establish loyalty. With unsuccessful domestic policies, this global posturing establishes as him as a legitimate regional threat.

A screen shows a rocket being launched from an onboard camera at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, at North Korea's satellite control centre in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province, in this photo released by Kyodo December 12, 2012. REUTERS-Kyodo

Other fears include the real possibility that North Korea and Iran have been engaging in arms trades.

Recently, Washington has recently beefed up missile defenses for South Korea to further deter the North’s ability to launch an attack, which North Korea read as a hostile action. The UN Security Council quickly denounced the launch, which drew an extremely rare occurrence of China criticizing a Communist nation.

The isolated and quite literally starving country of North Korea is banned from developing nuclear and missile-related technology under U.N. resolutions. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, who as you well know has been under recent criticism by Republicans for her potential to become Secretary of State, addressed members of the media after the UN Security Council condemned the actions. She called for consequences, but would not expand on what they would be due to the sensitive nature of negotiations with China about the situation; however, this is a new opportunity for the United States to engage new leadership in China for a unified opposition against the North.

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