US warns of ‘strong response’ if North Korea launches rocket

North Korea will face a “strong response” if it launches a long-range rocket next month despite international calls to desist, a special adviser to US President Barack Obama said on Friday.

“If they go ahead anyway, we will want to work with our allies and partners for a strong response,” Gary Samore, arms control coordinator at the National Security Council, told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency in an interview.

The North’s announcement of the launch came only weeks after it reached a deal with the United States, suspending uranium enrichment and nuclear and missile tests in return for 240,000 tonnes of US food aid.

Washington says any rocket launch is likely to jeopardise that deal.

In light of the fact that North Korea is the client state of China, the US can, for all practical intents and purposes, do very little here.

The promised food aid was contingent on North Korea’s suspension of uranium enrichment and nuclear and missile tests: there was no mention in the deal about North Korea not putting up a satellite for research.

If the US reneges on the food aid because of a completely unrelated issue, the only result can be more distrust by the North Korean government that the US is incapable of keeping its word. The concept of “face” is huge in Asian culture: not keeping one’s word is a massive loss of “face”, both individually and collectively.

And for all the money the US government spends on information regarding national security, why, apparently, is this forthcoming launch such an apparent surprise to the intelligence community here in the US?!?

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