IHS Jane’sAnalysis: North Korea’sSatellite LaunchDecember 2012                                                            ...
IHS Jane’s Analysis: North Korea’s Satellite Launchentered the orbit,” Ministry of National Defence (MND)              Eas...
IHS Jane’s Analysis: North Korea’s Satellite Launchinternational opprobrium, including pressure from China.            Reg...
IHS Jane’s Analysis: North Korea’s Satellite LaunchKim Jong-un has been invited to make an official statevisit to China, b...
IHS Jane’s Analysis: North Korea’s Satellite LaunchAbout IHS                                                     About IHS...
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IHS Analysis - North Korea's Satellite Launch


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North Korea has successfully launched its Unha-3 SLV and put a satellite into orbit, US officials have confirmed. Seoul and Washington condemned the launch, which is widely seen as a part of North Korea’s ICBM programme, while China expressed ‘regret’. IHS examines the impact and regional implications.

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IHS Analysis - North Korea's Satellite Launch

  1. 1. IHS Jane’sAnalysis: North Korea’sSatellite LaunchDecember 2012 ihs.comIntroduction KEY POINTSNorth Korea successfully launched a Unha-3 satellite North Korea has successfully launched its Unha-3 SLV and put alaunch vehicle (SLV) from its Sohae facility on 12 satellite into orbit, US officials have confirmedDecember, putting a satellite into orbit almost eightmonths to the day after a similar attempt ended in failure. Seoul and Washington condemned the launch, which is widely seen as a part of North Korea’s ICBM programme, while China“The second version of satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 expressed ‘regret’successfully lifted off from the Sohae Space Centre inCholsan county, North Pyongan province, by carrier rocket American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)Unha-3 on Wednesday,” the official KCNA news agency officials in Colorado. “The missile was tracked on asaid in a statement. “The satellite entered its preset orbit.” southerly azimuth,” NORAD said in a statement. “Initial indications are that the first stage fell into the West Sea.Pyongyang’s satellite programme is seen as a front for its The second stage was assessed to fall into the Philippinedevelopment of a ballistic missile that could deliver a Sea. Initial indications are that the missile deployed annuclear warhead to the United States. object that appeared to achieve orbit.”The South Korean military detected the launch at 09:49 Seoul also confirmed that the SLV had put an object intohours local time and confirmed that the first stage of the orbit but remained cautious about whether the satelliterocket had fallen in the West Sea, as Pyongyang had launch had been a success. “The South Korean and theplanned. The launch’s success was confirmed by North US military evaluated the object loaded on the rocket just© 2012 IHS 1 ihs.com
  2. 2. IHS Jane’s Analysis: North Korea’s Satellite Launchentered the orbit,” Ministry of National Defence (MND) East China Sea at around 10:01 hours local time.spokesman Kim Min-seok said at a press conference. Raytheon Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) surface-“Although it entered the orbit, we have to wait and see to-air missiles deployed to Okinawa and other locationswhether it can continue to function normally.” had not intercepted the rocket, he added.US National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor The 12 December launch is North Korea’s second attemptdescribed the launch as “yet another example of North to put a satellite into orbit this year. A Unha-3 launch onKorea’s pattern of irresponsible behaviour”. 13 April failed when the first of the rocket’s three stages broke up before it reached its intended altitude.“North Korea’s launch today - using ballistic missiletechnology despite express prohibitions by United Nations AnalysisSecurity Council [UNSC] resolutions - is a highlyprovocative act that threatens regional security, directly North Korea’s successful launch of the Unha-3 is a majorviolates UNSC resolutions 1718 and 1874, contravenes surprise for analysts, especially after recentNorth Korea’s international obligations, and undermines announcements by Pyongyang and satellite imagery ofthe global non-proliferation regime,” Vietor added. the Sohae site suggested that a launch was some weeks away.South Korean President Lee Myung-bak held anemergency meeting at the Blue House in Seoul with key North Korea announced on 10 December that scientistsministers, after which his government “strongly had found “a technical deficiency in the first-stage controlcondemned” the launch. “South Korea and the United engine module” of the three-stage rocket that had forcedStates will maintain a firm deterrence posture and closely them to extend the launch window by a week to 29monitor further provocation,” the MND said in a statement. December. It is unclear whether the “technical deficiency”“We have a shared consensus that North Korea’s long- had been resolved or this statement was an example ofrange missile launch is a clear violation of UN resolutions.” misdirection by Pyongyang.In Beijing, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs What is clear is that the launch of the Unha-3 is politicallysaid China “regretted the launch in spite of the extensive and technologically significant for Kim Jong-un, whoconcerns of the international community.” assumed power in December 2011 following the death of his father, Kim Jong-il.Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura saidthat the SLV had passed over Okinawa Prefecture in the In regional terms it has shown that it can conduct a successful rocket test despite UNSC sanctions and© 2012 IHS 2 ihs.com
  3. 3. IHS Jane’s Analysis: North Korea’s Satellite Launchinternational opprobrium, including pressure from China. Regional implicationsDomestically, the test provides Kim Jong-un with a much- The launch comes at a politically sensitive time for Southneeded propaganda boost following April’s launch failure Korea, which goes to the polls to elect a new president onand what North Korea watchers believe have been a 19 December, and last month suffered a satellite launchseries of disputes with the military. “This is a major failure of its own when the maiden launch of its Naro SLVsuccess for him,” Paik Wooyeal of Sungkyunkwan was halted 17 minutes before liftoff due to a malfunction inUniversity in Seoul told IHS. “It will help Kim to re- the second-stage solid rocket.establish his grip over the elite at a time when a lot ofhigh-ranking officials have been complaining or purged.” The launch will also put pressure on proponents of the current sanctions regime, who will need to explain whyIn technological terms, the launch moves North Korea a two sets of UNSC sanctions have failed to prevent Northmajor step closer to developing an intercontinental ballistic Korea from developing ballistic missile technology. It alsomissile (ICBM). It demonstrates the successful leaves US President Barack Obama with precious fewdevelopment of a three-stage rocket design, which, options, Paik said. “It provides Kim with increasedalthough not a ballistic missile, would form the basis of the leverage in negotiations [with the United States].propulsion element of such a weapon. Previous launches Moreover, there is nothing serious that the United Statesof the Unha SLV family have tested technology to be used can do to stop him,” Paik said.in the Taepo Dong-2 ballistic missile, although these havebeen dogged by failures, particularly during separation of Finally, the launch is a major headache for China’s newthe motor stages. leadership, which will have to decide how to react. “It is not only that the new leadership is assuming power, butIt is therefore highly probable that the successful launch of China is also looking to chart a new course in its relationsthe Unha-3 will accelerate development of the Taepo with North Korea that is different from the sometimesDong-3, which, if deployed, would have a range of about frustrated dialogue that it had with Kim Jong-il,” a Beijing-8,000 km. While engineers still have elements such as based analyst told IHS.guidance and re-entry vehicle testing to achieve, today’slaunch remains a significant development in North Korea’s Beijing viewed Kim Jong-il as “a kind of crazy nephew”,pursuit of a nuclear deterrent. another Beijing-based analyst said. “You keep spending money on him and hope he will amount to something, but you are never sure. China is hoping for a more stable and predictable dialogue with his son.”© 2012 IHS 3 ihs.com
  4. 4. IHS Jane’s Analysis: North Korea’s Satellite LaunchKim Jong-un has been invited to make an official statevisit to China, but a date has yet to be set. The timing andcircumstances of that visit “will be some gauge as to howdispleased Beijing is and to what degree they will allowthis missile firing to impact their relationship with NorthKorea at this stage”, the second analyst said.This analysis was first published online in IHS Jane’sDefence Weekly in December 2012, and is available withadditional related analysis within the IHS Jane’s Military &Security Assessments and IHS Jane’s Chemical,Biological, Radiological & Nuclear AssessmentsIntelligence Centres.© 2012 IHS 4 ihs.com
  5. 5. IHS Jane’s Analysis: North Korea’s Satellite LaunchAbout IHS About IHS Defence & SecurityIHS (NYSE: IHS) is a leading source of information and With over 100 years of history as Jane’s, IHS is the mostinsight in pivotal areas that shape today’s business trusted and respected public source of defence andlandscape: energy, economics, geopolitical risk, security information in the world.sustainability and supply chain management. With a reputation built on products such as IHS FightingBusinesses and governments around the globe rely on the Ships and IHS All the World’s Aircraft, IHS deliverscomprehensive content, expert independent analysis and comprehensive, credible and reliable news, insight andflexible delivery methods of IHS to make high-impact analysis across all key defence and security subjectdecisions and develop strategies with speed and areas, and in support of critical military and securityconfidence. processes.IHS has been in business since 1959 and became a IHS defence and security products represent anpublicly traded company on the New York Stock invaluable open-source news, information and intelligenceExchange in 2005. Headquartered in Englewood, asset for businesses, defence organisations and armedColorado, USA, IHS employs more than 6,000 people in forces.more than 30 countries around the world.ihs.com© 2012 IHS 5 ihs.com