North Korea Monitor

Let’s Learn Logic With the KCNA!

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The following are quotes from a recent editorial from the Korea Central News Agency (See: KCNA, February 25th)  deriding the recent U.S. shoot-down of a broken spy satellite. After a bit of background on the issue, KCNA cuts right to the “meat” of their argument:


  •  …[T]he aim sought by the U.S. in shooting down the satellite is to restore the “Star Wars” initiative in the 1980s in a bid to contain China and Russia and other countries and hold military supremacy in the space [sic]. 
    •  No wonder, the Ministry of Defense of Russia on Feb. 16 said that the shooting down of the spy satellite was obviously designed to test a new type strategic weapon.
    •  As known, the U.S. conducted a test of intercepting a satellite in 1985 by launching a missile from a fighter and has squandered a huge amount of fund on the development of space weapons for the last several decades.
    • In the wake of China’s test of intercepting a satellite in January last year, the U.S. used this as a pretext for justifying its development of space weapons and accelerated its moves for the space militarization.
  • At the recent UN Disarmament Conference the U.S. stubbornly rejected the draft treaty on banning the deployment of weapons in the space proposed by China and Russia.
    •  The U.S. in its “national policy on space” made public in October 2006 declared that it rejects the discussion on any agreement which may limit the advance into and use of space by the U.S. and objects to any form of arms reduction agreement.
    • It is crystal clear that these adventurous moves of the U.S. would reduce the international treaty on the peaceful use of the space to a dead document and spark off an arms race in the space [sic] as they were prompted by its unchanged way of thinking dating back to the Cold War era.

Hidden assumption:Shooting down the satellite and rejecting the “draft treaty on the deployment of weapons in space” would restore the Star Wars program
Hidden assumption: Anyone who restores the Star Wars program is a threat to world peace and stability


Conclusion: All these facts clearly prove once again that the U.S. is a harasser of world peace and stability.

I know, I know; it’s like shooting fish in a barrel….

The KCNA is deploying a classic slippery slope argument: the  shooting down of the satellite would “lead to” a new Star Wars program which would “lead to” instability. As far as I can tell, the U.S. has no plans to militarize space or restore the Star Wars initiative. Even if the Star Wars initiative is restored, it wouldn’t automatically lead to a instability and war, as the KCNA’s argument insinuates. 

In addition, both premises beg the question.  The purpose of the KCNA’s argument is to show through deduction that the U.S. has evil intent. Yet, in both premises they’ve assumed that the U.S. has evil intent.  If the KCNA was trying to prove that the U.S. is warmongering, they’ve failed. But then again, what else would you expect? 

Finally, while the second premise, that the U.S. failure to sign the draft treaty proposed by China and Russia, is true, the KCNA fails to mention that the U.S. signed and ratified the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. Article IV of said treaty states:

States Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner.
The moon and other celestial bodies shall be used by all States Parties to the Treaty exclusively for peaceful purposes. The establishment of military bases, installations and fortifications, the testing of any type of weapons and the conduct of military manoeuvres on celestial bodies shall be forbidden. The use of military personnel for scientific research or for any other peaceful purposes shall not be prohibited. The use of any equipment or facility necessary for peaceful exploration of the moon and other celestial bodies shall also not be prohibited (See: United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs).

The draft treaty proposed by Russia and China would make it so no weapons whatsoever could be put into outer space. The full text of the working paper can be seen here. The U.S. claims the 1967 treaty is sufficient. According to a 2002 Reuters article, the U.S. never rejected the treaty, it merely said it was “ready to discuss weapons in space but that it is not prepared to commit itself to any formal negotiations on a ban.”

Written by nkmonitor

February 27, 2008 at 1:54 am

Posted in North-US Relations

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