North Korea’s rocket launch may cause regional tensions!

North Korea’s rocket launch may cause regional tensions!

Dr. Sudhanshu Tripathi

Being considered as one of the most unpredictable nation with dubious track records, North Korea did inform to the anxious neighbours in the region as well as to the world, only yesterday, about the success in putting a satellite into orbit by launching a long-range rocket. It was its second exercise as the initial launch had failed due to breaking apart of rocket minutes after taking off in April this year – the first under the new young ruler of the country, Kim Jong-un. The successful event- confirmed by the American and South Korean monitoring agencies- was hailed as a ground-breaking achievement by the State media, only for placing its satellite into space and not as a missile test. But, it was being regarded by analysts as an attempt of consolidating the new leader’s position amidst a dire economic situation and, consequent instability & chaos, the country is passing through.

Also, it is being condemned by the neighbours in the region- particularly, South Korea and Japan- as a long range missile test which will not only reignite tensions in the Korean peninsula by provoking them but also cause heavy strains on global peace and security as Pyongyang is said to be covertly pursuing its nuclear weapons programme and is also closely connected with many prominent global terror networks. All these have made them very much concerned about North Korea’s real intentions and so is the USA, too. As the country has already aroused deep suspicions from all around the world, the successful launch was seen as yet another surprise and shock because the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) had cited technical problems last week and had extended the launch schedule to December 29.

Already, the United Nations Security Council, vide its Resolution 1874 of 2009, has restrained Pyongyang from continuing ahead with its clandestine nuclear programme- like Iran- which is in violation of the NPT and CTBT. This is why, the UN Secretary- General, Ban Ki- Moon has condemned the launch “as a clear violation” of the 2009 resolution that banned the North Korea from carrying out tests using ballistic missile technology. Further he said that the Security Council would consider the issue and its likely impact, at a scheduled meeting on Wednesday. The President of South Korea, Lee Myang-bak has also expressed his concern by calling the launch as violation of the UN resolution. Similarly the US has described this event as “a provocative action”, and so has protested Japan’s Foreign Minister, Koichrio Gemba, who had called for a tough stand to be taken by the UNSC.

Against this backdrop, the North Korea’s rocket launch must be carefully checked by all peaceful and judicious means so that overall peaceful and stable situation on the Korean peninsula may remain protected without aggravating the situation to take an ugly turn. What is very much needed at this crucial juncture is that Pyongyang, instead of being alienated, be properly engaged in constructive and meaningful engagements by extending generous economic assistance for strengthening of its economy and socio-political development. There is also an urgent need to ensure proper development of democratic institutions and full respect to human rights in North Korea because it is people’s awareness that matters in policy decisions of the ruler.

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