At 6:57 am Japanese time on Friday morning, a missile launched by North Korea dangerously blazed over the Japanese island of Hokkaido. It proceeded to land in the Pacific Ocean 2,200 kilometers east of Cape Erimo, 20 minutes after the launch.
It’s an extremely aggressive act, considering it could have struck Japan if it accidentally fell short of its target (or if it were actually designed to target Japan).
The US and South Korea say they believe it was an intermediate-range ballistic missile, but Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono, perhaps exaggerating, suggested it might be an intercontinental ballistic missile, which would have a massively greater range. North Korea claimed to successfully test an intercontinental missile in July.
This launch was the longest missile flight North Korea has ever launched, traveling 3,700 kilometers, which is 800 km further than last month’s launch.
The US territory of Guam, of central importance to the US and its coalition in the Pacific, is only 3,400 km from North Korea: 300 km less than this missile traveled.
According to the Guardian, South Korea fired missiles in response:
South Korea fired two ballistic missiles in a show of strength against the North. One of the Hyunmoo-2 missiles “accurately hit” a target 250km away in the Sea of Japan, simulating the distance between its launchpad and Sunan. But the second missile fell into the water “in the initial stage”.
What people need to understand about North Korea is that the roots of its conflict with the US go deeper than we are told. In the early 1950’s, the US government massacred about 20% of North Korea’s population in the Korean War.
The US burned villages to the ground with napalm in North Korea in the first 3 years of the 1950’s, and that is why a regime, albeit tyrannical, can so easily convince its people to serve in a military that would fight the US’ dominance.
According to an article from the Intercept titled “Why Do North Koreans Hate Us? One Reason — They Remember the Korean War”:
How many Americans, for example, are aware of the fact that U.S. planes dropped on the Korean peninsula more bombs — 635,000 tons — and napalm — 32,557 tons — than during the entire Pacific campaign against the Japanese during World War II?
How many Americans know that “over a period of three years or so,” to quote Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, “we killed off … 20 percent of the population?
Twenty. Percent. For a point of comparison, the Nazis exterminated 20 percent of Poland’s pre-World War II population. According to LeMay, “We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea.
Every. Town. More than 3 million civilians are believed to have been killed in the fighting, the vast majority of them in the north.”
If people want to know the full picture, research the US’ war crimes in the Korean War. There’s nothing right about North Korea treating its people like cattle, but there is more history to this.
Some conflicts on the geopolitical stage seem to be smoke and mirrors, to raise the “defense budget,” but this conflict is looking more real: it isn’t good.
(Image credit: petmaxflame)