Study Material | Test Series | Crash Course
Drishti IAS
call1800-121-6260 / 011-47532596
Drishti The Vision Foundation
(A unit of VDK Eduventures Pvt. Ltd.)
Current Affairs Crash Course Download Player Download Android App
North Korea Test Fired New Rocket
Feb 15, 2016

North Korea has recently test fired a long-range rocket, which is possibly a test of banned missile technology. After the launch, North Korea said it had successfully placed a satellite in orbit.

Key Points

  • North Korean National Aerospace Development Administration said earth observation satellite Kwangmyongsong-4 had entered orbit about 10 minutes after lift-off from the Sohae space centre in North Phyongan province.

  • The payload was presumed to weigh 200kg, double the size of the one launched in 2012, but much lighter than the 800-1,500kg usual for a satellite.

  • This launch does not significantly alter the strategic balance of power in North East Asia. 

  • It is not the first time North Korea has attempted to put an object into space using a long-range rocket.

  • The significance is in the timing, with the launch coming just a month after the North's fourth nuclear test and with the UN Security Council in the middle of weighing its sanctions response.

  • North Korea last fired a long-range rocket in 2012 to put, what it said was, a communication satellite into orbit. But experts say no signal has ever been detected.

  • UN Security Council resolutions ban North Korea from carrying out any nuclear or ballistic missile tests.

The North insists its space programme is purely scientific in nature but the US, South Korea and even ally China say the rocket launches are aimed at developing inter-continental ballistic missiles.

South Korea & Japan Retaliates

  • In retaliation, South Korea suspended operations at an industrial complex run in cooperation with North Korea.

  • The Kaesong Industrial Complex, situated in North Korea just a few kilometers north of the border, was opened in 2004 as part of reconciliation efforts between the two Koreas.

  • More than 120 South Korean companies have a presence in the complex, which employs tens of thousands of North Koreans and provides an important stream of hard currency to Pyongyang. 

  • North Korea has received roughly 616 billion Won ($515 million) from the complex since it opened.

  • An estimated 132 billion Won ($110 million) had flowed into North Korea through the complex in 2015 alone.

  • The action was being taken to stop funds from the complex to be used by North Korea for developing nuclear (weapons) and missiles.

South Korean government said, despite international efforts to curb North Korea's nuclear advancement, it had pursued a further nuclear test and rocket launch. Such actions are a direct challenge to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the international community.

South Korea had been involved in the joint project at Kaesong with a view to assisting the lives of the North Korean people, providing impetus to lifting up the North Korean economy, and achieving shared progress for both South and North Korea. But rather than helping to pave the way to peace, it appeared funds earned by North Korea through the site had been used to upgrade its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles said.

  • The government had set up a special task force to assist South Korean companies operating at Kaesong to shut down their operations.

  • Operations at Kaesong were halted for 5 months in 2013 amid mounting tensions between two Koreas.

Japan also announced fresh sanction against North Korea for its actions. 

  • It announced plans to hit North Korea with new sanctions over its rocket launch and nuclear test, following a meeting of its National Security Council.

  • A list of proposed sanctions released by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office outlined plans to beef up North Korea-related travel bans, tighten restrictions on money remittances, ban North Korean ships from Japan's ports and expand a freeze on North Korea's assets.

  • The new measures would impose bans on entering Japan for North Korean nationals and officials, foreign residents with links to nuclear technology or missile engineering who had visited North Korea, and crew members of North Korean ships.

  • It would also impose a ban on remittances to North Korea of more than 100,000 Yen ($871), with sums smaller than that permitted only for humanitarian purposes. 

  • People travelling to North Korea would have to report to the government sums carried of more than 100,000 Yen—the previous threshold for reporting was 10 times that.

  • The proposed Japanese sanctions require Cabinet and Parliament approval.


Helpline Number : 87501 87501
To Subscribe Newsletter and Get Updates.

http://www.drishtiias.com/upsc-current-affairs-article-North-Korea-Test-Fired-New-Rocket