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Date: Sat, 12 Sep 98 12:03:37 CDT
From: Workers World <ww@wwpublish.com>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: DPRK Launches First Satellite
Article: 43045
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.19330.19980913181555@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

DPRK launches first satellite for National Day

By John Catalinotto, Workers World, 17 September 1998

Ten days before the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, socialist north Korea launched its first satellite into orbit Aug. 31.

The DPRK’s parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly, also reelected Kim Jong Il as chairperson of the National Defense Commission on Sept. 5. Its announcement called this position the highest post of the state with which to organize and lead the work of defending the state system ... and increasing the defense capabilities of the country and the state power as a whole through command over all the political, military and economic forces.

Kim—who is the son of the late leader of the Korean Workers’ Party and the DPRK founder, Kim Il Sung—is identified with those forces in the DPRK who defend Korea’s socialism and independence against world imperialism.

Japanese imperialism—now in the grip of a serious capitalist recession with skyrocketing unemployment—and U.S. imperialism reacted to the satellite launch with violent propaganda attacks on the DPRK. These attacks charged Pyongyang with launching a test missile over Japanese territory. Tokyo canceled food aid and flights to the DPRK.

One stage of the DPRK rocket fell in the Sea of Japan and the second stage fell into the Pacific Ocean to Japan’s west. Washington and Tokyo first disputed the DPRK’s announcement of a scientific satellite launch. On Sept. 6 Russian observers confirmed the satellite’s orbit.

Nevertheless, both Tokyo and Washington continue to claim the launch is a military danger. They say there is little difference between space exploration and missile launchings.


This is an interesting admission, since officials of the National Aeronautic and Space Administration in the United States always describe its efforts as scientific. In reality, NASA has always been part of the giant U.S. weapons industry, even though NASA costs are kept separate from the Pentagon budget.

Also, Washington has 460 land-based cruise missiles with a range of 1,800 miles, and 3,000 air-launched cruise missiles that can hit nearly any target on the earth. That’s not to mention its intercontinental ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.

From bases in south Korea and Japan and from ships in the Pacific, the Pentagon wages annual war games directed at the DPRK, forcing that nation to spend its wealth to defend itself.

U.S. missiles are regularly tested over the Pacific. APT Research Inc. monitors such tests from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands—a U.S. possession located between Hawaii and Australia. APT’s web page reveals that equipment there can monitor missiles of varying ranges launched from Wake Island, Aur Atoll, Roi Namur and other Pacific bases.

Some of these missiles, and most of the U.S.-launched satellites, travel over nations, ignoring national sovereignty.

Behind the anti-DPRK propaganda is Washington’s demand that only it can be armed. As far as the Pentagon is concerned, countries with policies independent of Washington don’t have the right to defend themselves.

The DPRK sees things differently. While its announcement emphasized the scientific nature of the launch, it added that the forces hostile toward the DPRK must be mindful that their attempt to lead the DPRK to a change will bring them nothing but destruction.

Fifty years ago the forces in Pyongyang that fought the anti-Japan guerrilla war and liberated half of the Korean peninsula—led by the world communist leader Kim Il Sung— founded the DPRK and opened a struggle to build socialism.

Since Kim’s death in 1994, the DPRK has faced not only the disappearance of its former major ally, the Soviet Union, but four years of alternating floods and droughts.

Despite these hardships, the satellite launch and the confirmation of a new leadership heroically show the world that the Korean people intend to defend socialism and independence.