The North test-fired a ballistic missile over Japan in 1998, a launch the regime also claimed was a satellite. Associated Press
The world is divided into good countries (us) and bad countries (them). Bad countries’ leaders “say,” “claim,” or even “insist” they are doing one thing, but good countries’ leaders “believe” or “fear” that the bad countries are actually doing something else. Journalists know what good countries’ leaders really believe because they are psychic.
Western countries fear Iran is refusing to suspend uranium enrichment because it wants to produce a nuclear weapon.
Tehran denies this, insisting the programme is solely to generate electricity.
Sometimes good countries don’t just believe or fear things. We knew exactly where Iraq’s massive stockpiles of chemical weapons were and Colin Powell had cartoons to prove it.
Good countries launch satellites. Bad countries fire ballistic missiles. When bad countries say they are launching a satellite, they are almost certainly lying. North Korea is a bad country, so…
When North Korea shocked the world in 1998 by firing a Taepodong-1 missile that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean, Pyongyang claimed that it was not a missile firing, but rather a rocket launch that had put a satellite into orbit.
Flake noted that Pyongyang - which fired a long-range missile over Japan in 1998 - went ahead with another, albeit failed, test in 2006 despite repeated warnings.
Japan set out to construct a shield against ballistic missiles aimed at its cities and military facilities after another North Korean missile test in 1998 that saw the weapon flying over the northern island of Hokkaido before crashing into the Pacific Ocean.
Though it is an international norm for countries to provide such specifics as a safety warning ahead of a missile or satellite launch, it was the first time the communist North has done so. It did not issue a warning ahead of its purported satellite launch in 1998 over Japan and a failed 2006 test-flight of a long-range missile.
North Korea shocked the region when it fired a Taepodong-1 over Japan in 1998, saying it had launched a satellite.
Curiously, though, back in September 1998, there were a few other people who said North Korea had tried (but failed) to launch a satellite.
The White House, for instance:
What I can tell you, we have concluded about the North Korea launch is that they did attempt to orbit a very small satellite on August 31st. We’ve also concluded the attempt failed because of problems with the third stage of the rocket that they tested.
Q: But there’s no disagreement about what it was.
A: We believe that they tried and failed to launch a satellite. That hasn’t changed.
We have concluded that North Korea did attempt to orbit a very small satellite. We also have concluded the satellite failed to achieve orbit.
So, going back to that AP quote at the top, the writer might have said: “The North
test-fired a ballistic missile fired a rocket over Japan in 1998, a launch the regime claimed the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon said was a satellite.” But he didn’t.
As a postscript, on the subject of firing things over Japan, Richard Lloyd Parry of the Times quotes North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun:
It is true that our artificial satellite flew over Japan’s territorial sky and passed through the airspace of the Tsugaru Strait. However, it cannot be a “threat to Japan’s security” or a “violation of its sovereign right”.
Let us ask the Japanese authorities: Don’t you know what the territorial sky is, or an international strait, or the legal position of the airspace above such international straits?
As for the territorial sky, its height has not yet been internationally defined and the only general standard - that the height of the territorial sky should be extended only to a height appropriate to guarantee the security of each country - applies. So, over the past 100 years, the height of the territorial sky has been internationally recognized between 40 to 50 km. . . . Recently, however, some argued that the height of the territorial sky should be about 100 km, on the grounds that the flight altitude of ballistic missiles launched by many countries nowadays is generally within 100 km and that some of the satellites orbit more or less 100 km from the earth. As a result, nowadays, about 100 km is regarded as the height of territorial sky. No nation claims higher territorial sky, nor is it recognized. When it flew over the Japanese archipelago, our artificial satellite’s flying altitude was over 200 km.
Now, Japan alleges this as a violation of its territorial sky. What an absurd allegation it is!
The Japanese authorities say that we had not informed them of our plan to launch a satellite in advance and, therefore, this constitutes a “violation of international law.” Japan has launched dozens of satellites so far and has it ever informed us of any single one? If we are to follow Japan’s logic, it has violated international law dozens of times. The Japanese authorities claim to be reasonable and they have never mentioned this. Why? Nothing could be more absurd. Japan must remember this clearly: no regulations in general international law, or any space laws for that matter, mention the requirement for countries that launch satellite to make information available in advance.