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North Korea has fired a rocket over Japan. Pyongyang says this is part of North Korea’s ‘peaceful space development,’ and was intended to launch a satellite.

Right. Why fire it over Japan then?

It is hard to believe this was anything other than a threat, or at least a public display of ability to threaten. That is certainly what Japan and South Korea believe.

Japan did not act to intercept the rocket, as it had said it might, saying (correctly) that it had every right to protect its borders. North Korea said in response that it would take any such action by Japan as: “the start of Japan’s war of re-invasion.”

North Korea’s military has threatened immediate retaliation if “even the slightest effort” is made to intercept its rocket. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency quoted the military as specifically mentioning Japan, the United States and South Korea, threatening Japan with a “thunderbolt of fire” if it interfered with the launch.

Australia is in range of the new North Korean Advanced Taepodong-2 missile. (Thanks to Tim Blair for that link)

Kim Jong-il is unstable. And that makes this worrying.

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