Chinese TV Airs 30 Minute Discussion of Satellite Launch

Chinese experts claim that political motives trumped military ones when it came to the surprise timing of yesterday's lauch.
December 13th, 2012

With North Korea’s satellite launch being a major talking point on TV stations worldwide, it’s no surprise that Chinese media was also part of the debate. Today’s CCTV4 edition of Focus Today (Jin Ri Guan Zhu) aired a 30-minute current affairs programme concerning the launch of the Kwangmyongsong-3 “satellite” which gives some insight into reaction among experts there.

The programme was hosted by Wang Shilin, who started by asking the panel whether or not the launch was disguised as a missile launch, and attended by CCTV contributing commentators Jin Canrong (Associate Dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China) and Zhang Zhaozhong (Professor at the National Defence University and Rear Admiral)

Commenting on the sudden launch of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite, Zhang Zhaozhong pointed out that even with advanced technology and around the clock surveillance, the United States, Japan, and South Korea did not manage to detect the eleventh hour preparations for the launch. For his part, Jin Canrong explained that the political objective of the launch of the “satellite” took priority for North Korea over any military objective, adding that by suddenly launching the satellite, the DPRK successfully struck fear into the United States, Japan, and South Korea.

Zhang pointed out that “the undetected launch of the DPRK satellite destroyed the legend of the United States’ Theatre Missile Defence (TMD.)” Jin made a point of saying that the DPRK’s rocket technology is currently at least seven years more advanced than that of South Korea.

Commenting on whether the “satellite” was in fact a missile, Zhang said that the answer will soon become known, when United States, Japanese, and Chinese satellites attempt to determine if there is indeed an additional new object in orbit.

Commenting on the UN Security Council meeting over the DPRK rocket launch, Jin said that the United States, Japan, and South Korea will definitely insist on imposing sanctions against the DPRK, and it depends on whether China’s “opinion can gain the upper hand.” Jin added that China does not have selfish motives, and says that its intentions are always for regional peace, because only peace brings about opportunity.

Jin ended by saying that “China is neutral and hopes to influence both sides, however, China has only limited capabilities.”

Chinese TV Tower Picture: Flickr

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About the Author

Chad O'Carroll

Chad O'Carroll has written on North Korea since 2010 and writes between London and Seoul.