North Korea launched a rocket Sunday morning as promised, and the renegade country’s decision elevated Japan to hero status but further highlighted the uselessness of the United Nations when it comes to dealing with rogue nations. The Japan Times (Apr. 5) said, “The missile, which Pyongyang claimed was carrying a satellite, blasted off from the Musudan-ri launch facility at 11:30 a.m. despite warnings from Tokyo and Washington that it would violate U.N. resolutions banning the North from ballistic activity. The Defense Ministry said the rocket's first booster fell into the Sea of Japan approximately 280 km [approx. 174 miles] west of Akita Prefecture at around 11:37 a.m.” It’s not hard to imagine what residents in one of America’s most important allied countries must have been thinking. Comments from a top Japanese blogger reflect justifiable frustration.
Despite the imminent threat, Japan’s Defense Ministry showed restraint, refraining from retaliation that could have sparked a global crisis. Most Americans would probably have enjoyed seeing Japan—or anyone else—blast that rocket into smithereens. That the government of North Korea cannot feed its people but chooses instead to invest untold wealth in programs that further isolate the country from diplomacy says a lot about totalitarianism. The country’s chief export partners are China, South Korea and Thailand.
The US and other countries help feed North Korea. In 2008, US AID said, “The United States intends to provide the DPRK with 500,000 metric tons in food commodities over the course of a 12-month program beginning in June 2008, with the World Food Program (WFP) to distribute approximately 400,000 tons and U.S. NGOs approximately 100,000 tons.”
North Korea is top of the list for human trafficking, another in a long list of countries keeping women firmly locked on a level with cattle. And some diplomatic employees from that country have been apprehended abroad for dealing drugs.
Blogger Ampontan who writes an excellent blog, Japan from the Inside Out, wrote about the North Korean threat: “Meanwhile, the North Koreans, who have threatened to turn Japan into a sea of flame, fired missiles in its direction several times, and regularly sent operatives into the country to kidnap private citizens—an infringement of national sovereignty that could also be argued to be a casus belli, is now preparing to launch a three-stage ballistic missile over Japan in violation of a United Nations ban (I know, I know) as soon as this weekend.” Ampotan’s column analyzed ‘The new breed of Japanese politician’ (Apr. 2), and his commentary evokes comparisons to US citizens’ dilemma with our current Congress.
North Korea’s rocket launch cast Japan’s restraint in a positive light. But North Korea’s dismissal of the United Nations is affirmation the world organization is increasingly irrelevant—sanctions do nothing to deter rogue nations, highlighting UN impotence instead. Predictably, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon responded to the rocket launch by issuing regrets and asking for dialog.
North Korea’s rocket launch shows Japan hero, UN useless by Kay B. Day