Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo
A mock Scud-B missile of North Korea, left, and other South Korean missiles are displayed at the Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday. South Korea warned on Wednesday of 'searing' consequences if North Korea doesn't abandon plans to launch a long-range rocket that critics call a banned test of ballistic missile technology.

South Korea warns North Korea not to launch rocket

Neighboring countries reacted negatively after North Korea announced its plans to launch a satellite into space this month.

South Korea issued dire warnings to North Korea as it prepares to launch a long-range rocket this February.

Although North Korea claims that the rocket launch is intended to launch a satellite into space, others say that the official claims are just a cover for a ballistic missile test.

The world is reacting accordingly. "We warn that if North Korea proceeds with a long-range missile launch,” said South Korean official Cho Tae-yang, “the international society will ensure that the North pays searing consequences for it."

South Korea is just one of the neighboring countries to offer warnings. Japan and Russia both condemned North Korea for what they see as its blatant disregard of international law.

The United States has called for further UN sanctions on North Korea, which they say will be violating a UN missile launch ban if the country goes forward with its plan.

Another neighbor, however, advocated for a deescalation of tensions. "We hope all sides show restraint and take prudent action,” said China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, “to avoid any moves that may increase the tensions on the [Korean] Peninsula."

China has long been friendlier with North Korea than other countries in the region, and has continued to advocate for restraint in handling its neighbor. Critics like the United States say that China’s reticence to pursue North Korean issues has contributed to the current charged situation.

North Korea announced its launch plans yesterday. The launch is scheduled to occur between February 8 and 25. The satellite is purportedly named Kwangmyŏngsŏng, or Lodestar. The rocket’s first and second stages are supposed to fall off the coast of South Korea and the Philippines, respectively.

In 2012, North Korea launched a similar rocket. At the time, South Korea expressed concerns that its northern neighbor was testing a ballistic missile that was capable of striking the United States.

North Korea’s announcement comes just weeks after the country completed a nuclear test in early January. On January 5, the country said that it had performed its first successful test of a hydrogen bomb.

Although experts have viewed North Korea’s past nuclear claims with suspicion, seismologists detected an event near the country’s nuclear test site, Punggye-ri, that registered a 5.1 on the Richter scale.

Since the alleged launch in early January, the United States and others have been involved in drafting a UN Security Council Resolution that would penalize North Korea for its tests. If North Korea has truly been testing nuclear weapons, it is in violation of a similar resolution, which bans North Korea from nuclear tests and launches of any kind.

In response to the nuclear tests, the United States also engaged in a show of force in South Korea earlier this year. The United States sent a famous bomber model, the B-52, on a flight across South Korea shortly after the tests.

As of September 2015, the United States had 25,775 troops stationed in South Korea, according to a Defense Manpower Data Center report. That number represents a slight reduction from July’s total of over 28,000 troops. Troop numbers in South Korea have remained relatively static over the last ten years.

North Korea has offered to scale back its nuclear testing, provided the United States ceases engaging in joint military drills with South Korea. "Still valid are all proposals for preserving peace and stability on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia,” a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman told the country’s KCNA news agency, “including the ones for ceasing our nuclear test and the conclusion of a peace treaty in return for U.S. halt to joint military exercises."

In response, the US State Department Spokesman John Kirby affirmed alliance commitments to South Korea. Joint military drills between South Korea and the United States typically occur from late February to early March.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to South Korea warns North Korea not to launch rocket
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today