NK to Launch a Rocket Soon

Gwangmyunsung-3 Missile

Since its founding in 1998, Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR), a Japanese citizen’s group, has devoted itself to supplying food, clothing, and medical goods directly to starving North Korean people.

After nearly 14 years of continuing efforts, we still see no improvement in the food shortage, nor a reduction in human rights violations in North Korea. The outflow of people desperate enough to flee their fatherland for other countries has not abated.

And now, on March 16, the North Korean government announced that they intend to launch their Gwangmyunsung-3 rocket between April 12th and 16th.

Launch Can Only Harm the North Korean People

The NK government insists that Gwangmyunsung-3 is a satellite, but the international community, reacting with outrage, counter that it is actually a long-range missile being prepared for the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Five of the countries participating in the 6-party talks, excepting only North Korea, that is, South Korea, Japan, the US, China and Russia, have all urged the regime to abort the launch plan.

It has been estimated that launching this single long-range missile is going to cost about 70 billion yen ($864 million). This is enough money to feed all the people in North Korea for a year or more.

Wouldn’t common sense alone suggest that the regime feed their starving people rather than spending this mountain of money on missiles? Despite the strong voice of the international community urging them to abandon this irresponsible launch program, the regime seems intent on proceeding with this risky “game” again, apparently expecting to win food aid and other benefits.

If they do go forward, however, they will surely reap sanctions from the international society. This will ultimately bring nothing but harm to the people in North Korea, who, it appears, can never expect to escape their grim destiny of struggle and starvation.

Seven times in a row, the special rapporteurs on human rights in North Korea appointed by the UN Commission on Human Rights have issued calls for improvement, urging that country to address the serious issues of forced disappearances (abductions), public executions, arbitrary punishments, concentration camps, as well as the defector issue.

Meanwhile, the regime is inviting international journalists to witness the launch of this “satellite.” Instead, they should be inviting these journalists to view and report on the people in plight, not the “satellite.” This course would be much more likely to encourage the international community to send relief, including desperately-needed food supplies. Starvation is a far more critical issue than weapons or “satellites.”

LFNKR vehemently disapproves of this risky gamble by the leaders of North Korea, which can only result in a sharp escalation of military tension in neighboring countries. Worse, it is certain to prolong the suffering of the NK people.

Further, if the regime continues ignoring all efforts to curb their anti-humanitarian actions and carries on oppressing the freedom and human rights of their people, LFNKR will choose to join forces with other international NGOs to prosecute the regime for crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court.

Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR)