North Korea’s Missile Launch

Missile Drill 2009 (Photo: AFP)

North Korea has scheduled a missile launch which will take place in the northwest on April 12-16 according to South Korean defense officials. This will coincide with the centenary of their Great Leader Kim II-Sung.

The controversial rocket launch of North Korea has been widely disputed as a missile launch aimed at Southeast Asian countries including Japan, Australia, and the Philippines, although foreign ministers from Pyongyang deny such claim and stated that it is nothing more than a rocket launch for their observation satellite.

The rocket’s main body is now in the launch site in preparation for the scheduled launch.

The international community is against it and takes  into account the country’s extreme policy on secrecy and its clandestine nuclear tests previously reported.

What is a missile launch?
A missile launch usually requires a launch facility which may include launch pads or underground silos. Some missile launch may also take place beneath the ocean inside a submarine’s launch tube. These facilities are used to fire surface-to-air rockets in long distances. It can be as small as a cruise missile or as big as an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Rockets have been used extensively in satellite launches, space exploration, and modern warfare.

Rocket launches have been fairly common in some parts of the world.  Soviet was the first to make a satellite launch, Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957 after which it burned up upon reentry 3 months later. United States also made its first satellite launch, Explorer 1, on January 31, 1958. Other rocket launches followed such as the Sojourner rover in Mars, Pioneer Space Probe, Galileo Orbiter, and the famous Saturn V that sent Apollo astronauts to the moon.

Some rocket launches were done for military purposes. MX missiles are examples of ICBMs that were test fired for the first time on June 17, 1983, about 4,000 miles away in the Pacific Ocean. ICBMs are armed with nuclear warheads capable of massive, large-scale, devastation. US and Russia have the largest known fleet of ICBMs today.

Interesting Facts about North Korea
North Korea came out of existence after the Japanese occupation of WWII. Korea was split into North and South which will be administered by Soviet and US respectively. Since North Korea was administered by a staunch supporter of communism, the country soon established a communist regime led by Kim II-Sung.

Kim II-Sung and Stalin started the infamous Korean War which killed 4 million soldiers and civilians. The war ended in a stalemate and left a 2.5-mile wide demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. People who cross this zone are said to have been shot by sentries.

North Korea’s GDP per capita is only $1,800 in which 25% of it is used in the military. In fact, it is the 4th with the largest army around the world (1.1 million active soldiers). In terms of confirmed nuclear weapons, North Korea has only 10.

Literacy rate is 99%. Education is compulsory until the age of 16. Communist morality and reverence towards their leader is part of their school’s curriculum. Unfortunately, religious and political freedom is never tolerated in the country.

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