North Korea allegedly launched ICBM – Media countered with barrage of misinformation

Behind the bombastic and bellicose propaganda, is Pyongyang calling for the reunification of Korea and the Finlandization of the Korean peninsula?

Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : North Korea  allegedly test fired a Hwasong – 14 ballistic missile. North Korea’s KCNA news agency stated that information about the test would be published by the Academy of Sciences. It may, however, have been an medium-range missile and not an ICBM. International media responded with a barrage of misinformation, claiming among others that the ICBM reached an altitude of 2,800 kilometers. Context may be more important than the test. Independence day in the USA and Pyongyang’s call for the implementation of the principles agreed upon in 1972.



It must be difficult for major, allegedly reputable, news agencies and media to say “we don’t know”. This might explain why Reuters reports that the Hwasong – 14 reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometers (1,741 miles). Reputable Russian state sponsored TV channel Russia Today also reported the altitude as 2,802 kilometers . The Seattle Times had the missile reach an altitude of 2,111 kilometers, an altitude that also was reported by ABC. ..

Of course, we cannot be sure whether or not the secluded scientists in Pyongyang have cooked up a wonder weapon, but scientists at the RAND Corporation provide a formula according to which the maximum apogee (altitude) reached by intercontinental ballistic missiles, depending on orbital track, is about 750 miles – less than half of the altitude reported by Reuters and RT.

Unnamed “experts” are quoted as stating that the unusual altitude was achieved due to the steep and unusual angle at which the missile was fired. The missile “reportedly” only flew a distance of 787 – 933 kilometers, again depending on which one of the allegedly highly reliable news agencies and media one should, or shouldn’t “believe”.

While we may question the reported altitudes and distances, one may also want  question why Pyongyang would decide to launch an ICBM at such an acute angle. If the intention was to strike at targets in South Korea or Japan there would be no need to use an ICBM. The only “logical” reason for firing the missile at an extreme angle would be to avoid violations of the territorial rights of South Korea, Japan, Russia, China, or others, and to avoid too many formalities with regard to informing international air and maritime traffic controls.

In other word’s Pyongyang doesn’t exactly act as “irrational and provocative” as South Korean, Japanese, US American and other western, as well as Russian and Chinese media would want their consumers or captive audience to believe. It also seems to be more “rational” to state that the data from the test will be published by the DPRK’s Academy of Sciences than to make up altitudes and distances “on the fly”.

38th ParallelThe Russian Defense Ministry – which is known for monitoring Russia’s Pacific coast reported the missile wasn’t an ICBM at all, but a medium-range missile. The Ministry reported that the medium-range missile flew a distance of about 535 kilometers and reached an altitude of 510 kilometers before it fell into the Sea of Japan without endangering any of North Korea’s neighbors.

Context? It’s worth mentioning that Pyongyang fired the missile on the 4th of July, celebrated as “Independence Day” in the United States of America. The launch came also as Pyongyang was calling for the implementation of the three principles of reunification agreed upon during intra-Korean talks in 1972.

Political talks were held between the north and the south of Korea in 1972, for the first time after their division. The declared goals of these talks were the reunification of Korea, the independence of Korea as in neutrality – the peaceful reunification through promoting national unity – Resolutely doing away with the evil practices of confrontation and hostility that block the nationwide trend toward the great national unity despite different ideologies.

The launch came also as Pyongyang reiterated its call to end the United States’ usurped UN mandate for its troops in South Korea. If one tries to understand Korean culture one can come to decipher the reasoning and policy behind all of the bombastic and bellicose posturing and behind the propaganda. It would be safe to argue that what Pyongyang actually proposes is the reunification of Korea and a “Finlandization” of the Korean peninsula, from a position of strength and self-reliance, cognizant of the fact that both the north and the south are “assets” in the geopolitical rivalries between the permanent UN Security Council members who should have kept the peace and facilitated the reunification of Korea.

CH/L – nsnbc 04.07.2017

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