US, Japan, S. Korea, Russia fail to intercept North Korean ballistic rocket launch

Despite an international outcry, a North Korean long-range rocket lifted off from its coastal Musudan-ri launch pad early Sunday, March 5. Flying over Japan it appears to have splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Although on high alert to intercept the launch, Tokyo admitted it missed its timeline twice.
debkafile‘s military sources report that Pyongyang’s defiance of stern warnings delivered another serious setback to US president Barack Obama in his management of foreign affairs. But most of all, North Korea showed Israel that it was dangerous to rely on Washington and the rest of the international community and their diplomacy to put a stop to Iran’s drive for a nuclear weapon.
Obama failed earlier to persuade NATO leaders meeting in Strasbourg to send substantial extra forces to fight in Afghanistan – only 5,000 non-combat trained troops were pledged. France and Germany turned him down flat.
The North Korean ballistic launch, which may or may not have boosted a satellite into orbit, expanded the world’s stock of nuclear warheads days after Obama’s agreement with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in London to start reducing this arsenal before the end of the year. Tehran is not far behind Pyongyang.
Iran and North Korea have worked together for many years on their nuclear programs, a collaboration which the international community never stopped. Indeed, three years ago, Syria was co-opted to the partnership.
debkafile‘s military sources date the onset of the current crisis to Jan. 3, when Iran launched its first satellite Omid into space, boosted by a nuclear-capable ballistic rocket which placed all points on earth within range. Instead of declaring an emergency, US and Israeli officials were at pains to play down Tehran’s achievement.
Only on March 25, did AMAN military intelligence cief Amos Yadlin admit to the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee that Tehran now possessed missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.
Given their long collaboration, it should have been obvious that the data and experience gained from Tehran’s launch would be flashed to North Korea. Our sources confirmed that North Korean technicians and scientists attended the Iranian liftoff.
After Pyongyang announced the dates bracketing its launch, the US deployed warships opposite North Korean shores armed with interceptors; Japan threatened to destroy any missile violating its airspace. Saturday, Russia announced its Far Eastern forces were on the ready and S-300 anti-missile systems in place for shooting the North Korean rocket down.
But when it came to the crunch, the US, Japan and Russia were deterred from trying to intercept the North Korean rocket. What did work was Pyongyang’s warning that interception would be a casus belli. All that is left for now is to seek tougher sanctions against North Korea at the emergency UN Security Council session called by Japan for later Sunday, April 5 and lots of condemnation. Sanctions in the past have never had any effect on the North Korean dictator Kim Il-Jong. China will anyway not approve extreme measures, in the same way as it has blocked harsh sanctions against Iran. South Korea has placed its forces in a state of readiness but will not act without Washington.
Obama’s response was an offer to go back to the six-party forum for negotiating North Korea’s denuclearization.
The new US administration started off by espousing diplomacy for international conflicts, but in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s debut trip to the Far East she obtained Beijing’s consent to work with Washington on the economic crisis, but not on international strategic matters.

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