Geoff FordenShooting Down DPRK’s Satellite Launch

With all the talk about shooting down a possible North Korean satellite launch, I wanted to see just where the legal authority for such an action would come from. It turns out that its clear: it’s legal under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to shoot it down. Let me just review some of the relevant treaty and UN Security Council Resolutions.

First, what legal rights does North Korea have to launch a satellite? The only right that I could find among the international treaties I looked at was an implied right in, among other Treaties, Article I of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies that states:

Outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall be free for exploration and use by all States without discrimination of any kind, on a basis of equality and in accordance with international law, and there shall be free access to all areas of celestial bodies.

To be fair, this same sentiment is repeated in all the other preambles of the treaties I looked at so is generally accepted. This even guarantees this right to States that are not even signers of that treaty or members of the United Nations.

However, the recent UN Security Council Resolutions on North Korea, in particular UNSCR 1718 (2006), make it illegal for North Korea to launch a ballistic missile or even to continue to develop their ballistic missiles. Here are the relevant sections of that resolution:

Expressing profound concern that the test claimed by the DPRK has generated
increased tension in the region and beyond, and determining therefore that there is a clear threat to international peace and security,

(Emphasis was in the original.) This line is talking about DPRK’s test of a nuclear weapon in October 2006 but it invokes Chapter VII for the all other actions it takes in the resolution by determining that there is a clear threat to international peace and security. After all, the introductory article 39 to Chapter VII states:

The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace…

(Emphasis added.) By this determination the Council was invoking Chapter VII. That resolution went on to make international law by:

Decides that the DPRK shall suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile programme and in this context re-establish its pre-existing commitments to a moratorium on missile launching;

(Emphasis in the original.) Here it is calling it a “decision” that makes it international law. Note that by tying it to the test of a nuclear weapon back in 2006, the Council avoids the loophole in UNSCR 1540 which implies that a ballistic missile must be specially designed to carry WMD before it can be banned.

This clearly forms the legal foundation for shooting down a North Korean launch declaring North Korea’s satellite launch illegal, even if it is known to be a satellite. But is it good policy? I hope that tomorrow I can consider the technical factors that would help indicate whether or not it was a satellite launch or a test meant to maximize the range of a warhead. That might be one way of judging the purpose of the test during its powered flight.


  1. FSB

    I am not sure this provides any legal foundation for shooting down a putative DPRK satellite. At most, it may imply that such a “test” may be illegal.

    And, in my view, it is a long way from saying that something DPRK does is illegal to unilaterally “shooting it down”. In fact, “shooting it down” may be illegal in itself, if afterwards it was found that the DPRK “test” was a legitimate launch of a satellite.

  2. Geoff Forden (History)

    By invoking Chapter VII, resolution 1718 authorized the use of military force; at least thats my reading of it.

  3. Ernie Regehr (History)

    You make a convincing case that a DPRK missile launch would be illegal (unlike, I assume, Resolution 1172 on India and Pakistan which does not “decide” but simply “calls upon” India and Pakistan to “cease development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons”). But does the fact of the illegality of a DPRK missile launch convey the right or obligation on any particular state to prevent or intercept it? Is it not a classic weakness (or strength?) of international law that it does not confer a specific obligation or right on any one state to be the enforcer of international law within the jurisdiction of another state? Crimes against humanity are obviously illegal, but is it not the case that legal intervention to stop such crimes requires explicit Security Council authorization? Would it not also be the case that a legal interception of a DPRK missile would require explicit authority from the Security Council?

    It’s true that the PSI encourages participating states to engage in “interdiction efforts” in international territory, but only “…to the extent their national legal authorities permit and consistent with their obligations under international law and frameworks” – and I gather the Law of the Sea does not really clarify the matter.

    It seems that for interception of a DPRK missile by any particular state to be legal it is not enough to establish that the launch was illegal – or is it? Your elaboration would be welcome.

  4. sekant

    “By invoking Chapter VII, resolution 1718 authorized the use of military force; at least thats my reading of it.”

    Certainly not. The resolution would need to not simply fall under chapter VII to legitimize the use of force. It would have to expressly state that “Member States are authorised (by the SC) to use all necessary means to uphold the resolution.”

    Short of that, the use or threat of use of force by a State remains illegal.

  5. Geoff Forden (History)

    Ernie Regehr raises a number of good points and I’m starting to wonder if simply invoking Chapter VII by saying North Korea’s actions “threaten the peace” is too weak a reed to hang military action on. I’d like to hear more thoughts on that but, as of now, my interpretation (and I’m a physicist and not a lawyer) is that it does.

  6. Ernie Regehr (History)

    Security Council Resolution 1718 refers to Article 41 (in chapt VII), which explicitly refers to measures other than military force. Under Article 42 the SC may authorize force. So I’d say that the authority to intercept doesn’t come from Res 1718, although there may be other provisions of international law that would (also not a lawyer).

  7. FSB

    So the use of force to address Chapter VII’s concern of NK’s “threatening of the peace” is OK?! huh?

    Without UNSC support, this would be illegal in the same way that Israel’s attack on Syria and Iraq was illegal. Just because we (and our “allies”) have been doing illegal things for >50 years (making life worse for ourselves in the process) does not make them legal.

  8. Geoff Forden (History)

    I now agree with Ernie Regehr that these resolutions do not authorize the shooting down of a North Korean satellite launch even though they do make it illegal. It still begs the question, which I was trying to answer for myself, where the heck does the US Navy get the right to shoot down a launch? My guess is that the final rational would be collective defense of Japan. After all, these resolutions do define any such launch as a threat to peace. This will make the determination of the launcher’s trajectory and any threatening characteristics it might have that much more important.

  9. sekant

    To make my former point clearer:

    – Acting under Chapter VII. makes the resolution binding on member States and the Security Council can take an array of measures to address the situation at hand;

    – these measures, be they sanctions, embargoes or the use of force are however only legally valid if the Security council expressly call for them;

    – several cases can illustrate that fact. The Security council adopted resolution 1203 under chapter VII in 1998 on Kosovo. The fact that it did not allow member States to use all means necessary meant that members States were not authorized to use force to correct the situation. They had to invoke a (legally bogus in my view) right of humanitarian intervention to dress up their military action. Similarly, the fact that resolution 1540 was adopted under Chapter VII. does not give the right to any member States to use force (or even impose sancions)because another member States failed to implement some provisions, such as the submission of reports.

  10. Allen Thomson (History)

    >This will make the determination of the launcher’s trajectory and any threatening characteristics it might have that much more important.

    Which shouldn’t be that hard. The AN/TPY-2 radar at Shariki is very well placed (not, of course, by accident) to observe launches from Musudan-ri. And Aegis cruisers with their SPY-1 radars have been stationed in the SoJ near Musudan-ri in the past. Then there’s DSP, SBIRS HEO, maybe other IR stuff in space.

    In other words, I think the US will have a very good idea of where the missile is going less than a couple of minutes after launch, better as it gets into second-stage flight at T+150 seconds or so. If it doesn’t, I want a tax refund.

  11. Brian W (History)

    Absolutely a cluster of a legal situation. A couple of things you might want to consider:

    – What if the DPRK started launching from their new Western facility and thus avoided overflying Japan? I wonder how that would change the perspective of this?

    – I think there is a strong case within customary international law for States to be allowed to conduct peaceful satellites launches even when they have a ballistic missile program. For one, isn’t there a similar UNSC resolution about Iran banning ballistic missile testing? If so, then not raising a legal fuss over the Iranian satellite launch recently sets a precedent that the space launch activities are not covered under the banned ballistic missile activities.

    – The legal basis for shooting it down would probably be under Article 51 of the UN Charter which allows for any nation to act in self defense, including collective self defense. So if it was a space launch and failed, I could see a legal justification for Japan to intercept it if the pieces were going to impact Japanese populated territory.

    I’ve got my own article on the technical side of this up today at Space Review:

  12. Maggie Leber (History)

    Um…should the headline be “Shooting Down DPRK’s Satellite Launch” when the operative quote was: “Should it look like it’s not a satellite launch — that it’s something other than a satellite launch — we’ll be ready to respond.”

    [emphasis added]

    (watching to see if anything she posts passes moderation here anymore)

  13. P.J. Blount (History)

    Any legal justification would have to come from self-defense in Article 51 of the UN Charter, however it should be noted that under the plain language of the Charter, self defense is allowed only when an “armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.” If this is a legitimate satellite launch, it is doubtful whether this would constitute an traditional “armed attack.”

    A broader view which allows for anticipatory self defense may allow for the shoot down, but in this case the attack should be imminent. This raises interpretation questions as to what exactly imminent means.

    One could argue that the launch could be considered a “threat” of force under Art. 2(4) of the UN Charter and therefore illegal. This, however, does not necessarily make a shoot down legal.

    Just a couple of issues to chew on.

  14. Allen Thomson (History)

    I said, “where the missile is going”

    Semantic correction: I should have used “rocket” rather than “missile.” Rocket is more neutral and inclusive, “missile” assumes a conclusion we haven’t gotten to yet.

    Mea culpa. Semantics is important.

  15. Josh

    I have different question for Geoff, one that’s more in his wheelhouse. What kind of debris could we expect from an Aegis intercept of a satellite payload?

  16. Brian W (History)

    The amount of debris created from an intercept depends totally on how much velocity the payload had when hit. If it was still in the boost phase, then I doubt any pieces would end up having enough velocity to be in orbit.

    The geometry of intercept would matter as well (head on? rising/falling in the arc?)

  17. Andrew Tubbiolo (History)

    I would imagine the legality of a shoot down would be adjudicated by the metric that will probably decide if a interception happens at all. The launch azimuth. If the DPRK is indeed going to push for a payload to orbit they’ll maximize Dv from the rotation of the Earth which gives them a strait shot down the Pacific on ascent to orbit. … With a near Hawaii overflight…. Any other ascent trajectory might, in a GW Bush POV, be taken as a war trajectory.


  18. Allen Thomson (History)

    > Any other ascent trajectory [than due east] might, in a GW Bush POV, be taken as a war trajectory.

    Well, heaven forfend that I be associated with a GWB POV (*), but I’d find a launch northward of due east perplexing, maybe worrying. Since they’ve shown a willingness to overfly Japan, I suppose anything down to due-south is conceivable — after that they start going over South Korea.

    Me, I bet on due-east, but we’ll have to see.

    (*) Really.

  19. Geoff Forden (History)

    Actually, you have to remember that Iran launched its satellite on a trajectory that was South Southeast to avoid overflying neighboring countries. So don’t put too heavy an emphasis on utilizing the Earth’s rotation.

  20. V.S. (History)

    Any action that’s illegal under International Law has automatically one effect. The state has international responsibility (in the legal-technical sense of the term). This means that other states can demand compensation for any damage inflicted. Of course this can also be the basis for a series of other consequences as long as there are relevant provisions in some other legally binding instrument(s).

    Ernie Regehr’s and FSB’s arguements hold water. The Resolution doesn’t authorize military action. A subsequent Resolution though adopted under Art.42 could.

    Other than that, the only legal ground for shooting it down would be Art.51 of the Charter and the exercise of the right of defense (that can also be exercized in a collective manner, through one’s allies, here the US). Would the violation of Japanese or South Korean Air Space be considered an act of aggresion?

    In several cases in the past, the unauthorized violation of airspace has been considered as such an act and there have been interceptions and shooting-down. Now if you couple that with the fact the through the Resolution the action of launching the missile in the first place was illegal and more so a recognised threat to peace and security, you have a pretty strong case.

    If I was a diplomat I would dig the archives and find the exact arguements that the DPRK used each time they threatened or used force against planes violating their air-space and serve them back to them alltogether in advance.

    Of course the problem is that a violation of the airspace by a missile can be very brief in time and difficult to prove due to the relevant vagueness of the exact limits (ceiling) of national airspace and the lower limits of space. It all comes down to the legal definition of the lower limits of outer space. And to curves.

    Another issue: Suppose it’s legal to shoot it down for violating your (or your ally’s aispace). When is the right time, legally, to do so? While it’s in your airspace only? After it has left also? How about before entering? If before entering, how much sooner?

    In a case of an aeroplane that can change its flight path, it makes sense to intercept it or shoot it down only if it is within the airspace of the defending state. Does it have to be the same for a missile too? Given that the flight path of a missile is less or not changeable, could it be legal to launch a preemptive strike, of course not while it’s on the ground, but as soon as it can be confirmed that its flight path inescapably will violate the airspace of the country exercizing the right to defense?

    And another thought about how the Resolution can change things from a legal perspective. As we generally accepted the 1718 doesn’t authorize military action. And also let’s suppose that it is a peaceful launch (satellite) and stirs far clear from Japanese airspace (it makes it into outer space long before Japan, or it goes over Russian airspace, what will the Russians do then?). In a case like this no Art.51 can be invoked and shooting it down is illegal. So whoever shoots it down has international responsibility. Can North Korea invoke this legally and also ask for compensation? In a first glance yes BUT there is another principle in international law where you cannot invoke rights (at least compensation rights) based on illegal acts of your own, or at least the other party can invoke and counter-oppose the illegal nature of your actions to “neutralize” or mitigate its responsibility and compensation owed. In theory.

    In practice, in the best case Norks will ask for compensation and reconition of the illegality of the shooting down of their missile at some point in the near future before sitting back on the table for the usual business of horse-trading. Likely, then the deal will be political and not based on legal grounds nor resolved in the ICJ or another Tribunal.

  21. Andrew Tubbiolo (History)

    All good points of course, and I had no intention of offending anyone with the GWB analogy. But that is the kind of aggressive option he’d take.

    Iran launched into a non-due East trajectory to avoid dropping stages on India. The DPRK has a strait shot over the Pacific.

    What’s going to happen when the DPRK wants to put an imaging satellite into a sun synchronous orbit? Pushing a legit application like that would be a logical means of pushing against the UN resolutions discussed here. It’ll be interesting to see how often they can launch and how far they want to push things.

    Again, no intentions of offending anybody here. But shooting down a satellite launcher absent open hostilities is rather stark.


  22. Canary

    If we agree that UNSCR 1718 authorizes the use of military force (and I understand that’s not a given but let’s presume here for argument’s sake), should the decision to attempt to shoot down the rocket also be a decision taken by the UN Security Council and not unilaterally by one of its members? I understand there are issues here such as timeliness, flight path, possibility for malfunction/self-destruction, etc., nevermind the unlikelihood that the UNSC would agree as a group to allow a member to attempt to shoot a rocket down.

    I’m on the fence on this myself but am wondering what others think.

  23. Isxaq (History)

    If the question is:
    “First, what legal rights does North Korea have to launch a satellite?”

    The loss of such right must relate to a corresponding illigal activity, in this case:NK’s outer space threat. Absent of such threat negates loss of space exploration rights.

    The issue is really about NKs missiles. Would a request from NK or an offer from one of the UNs permanent member states to deliver NK satellites into orbit be appropriate venue to ensure complaince with UNSCR?

    Legally speaking,questioning China’s space rights might be more appropriate, based on their declared capability to go beyond the peaceful exploration of space by destroying an orbiting satellite and possible arms race in space.

    Considering the US reaction to China: “The US believes China’s development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of cooperation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area,” National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe. Though different topic, legally speaking China’s rights and not NKs should be explored.

  24. Andy (History)

    Most international law has as much in common with warfare – maybe more – than it does with actual jurisprudence. This is such a case. International law is simply politics by other means, to paraphrase Clausewitz. As a result, the legality of this potential action is completely subjective and rational arguments can be made to support a variety of viewpoints.

    The major deficiency in international law that separates it from national legal systems is the lack of an adjudicative body (a “supreme court”) to settle disputes and interpretations one way or another. There’s not even a the equivalent of a judiciary. The only adjudicators of “international law” are the UNSC, individual nations and the court of public opinion, which are all political.

    So while I enjoy the debate and discussion on this topic, a resolution or consensus is simply not going to occur.Is it legal to shoot down North Korea’s upcoming launch vehicle? One answer is almost as good as any other.

    IMO, a potentially more fruitful question is whether or not it is a good idea for the US to try to shoot it down. On that score, I think it would be an incredibly dumb idea.

  25. ataune (History)

    Andy – IMO, its announcing it which was politically dumb. If US was serious about deterring North Korea it would have done it without having announced it. But at some level you are right: in the current geopolitical context, escalation is not a smart choice for the US.

  26. Josh


    To clarify, Aegis does not appear to have any boost-phase intercept capability at present. According to the MDA fact sheet at :

    “Defeats short- to intermediate-range, unitary and separating, midcourse phase, ballistic missile threats with the
    Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) hit-to-kill interceptor and short-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase with the
    SM-2, which uses blast fragmentation to kill the target.”

    (The SM-3 was used to shoot down USA-193.)

    So we are talking about an exoatmospheric midcourse intercept, as best as I can tell.

    (It’s a fair bet that satellites don’t come with countermeasures.)

    So, Geoff, what do you say? What kind of debris might a Kwangmyongsong-2 intercept create?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  27. Bruce Klingner (History)

    North Korea is precluded from ANY ballistic missile activity (including launching a satellite) by UN Resolutions 1695 and 1718. Thus, Iran’s satellite launch and the international non-reaction does not serve as a precedent.

    North Korea’s launch would be a clear violation since the UN Security [condensed text] “demands that the DPRK not…launch a ballistic missile [and] decides that the DPRK shall suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program [and] abandon [its] ballistic missile program in a complete, verifiable, irreversible manner.”

    Although North Korea similarly claimed its 1998 Taepo Dong 1 missile launch was of a satellite, UN Resolution 1695 instead assessed it as having “launched an object propelled by a missile.”

    The US, South Korea, and Japan have all declared that a launch of a missile or “satellite” would be a violation of the two resolutions.

    In 2006, the US and Japan originally proposed invoking Article 42 of chapter 7 (which would allow the use of military force to enforce the resolution, including intercepting NK ships) but China refused so the US agreed to the softer Article 41. If Pyongyang launches a missile/satellite, the US could go back to the UN to request implementation of the existing resolutions as well as a firmer follow-on resolution.

    Intercepting a NK missile would be based on Article 51 (self-defense). In my view, shooting it down if it was not a threatening trajectory (e.g. downward trajectory into Japanese or US territory) would redirect attention away from NK’s violation and toward a debate about the validity of US/Japanese action. Better to let Pyongyang launch and then rally international response to North Korean defiance of UN resolutions.

  28. Tim (History)

    To further emphasize that the earth’s rotation does not trump other concerns, Israel actually launches satellites to the WEST, for obvious reasons.

    That said, if you have a marginal space launch capability, going east does making things substantially easier. The only reason to go other directions is to create less tension. Given that NK tends to want the reverse, I bet they go due east and intentionally overfly Japan.

  29. Allen Thomson (History)

    > What’s going to happen when the DPRK wants to put an imaging satellite into a sun synchronous orbit?

    I’d expect them to launch from the new western site. That has a clear shot south and could be used for sunsynchronous orbits like the US does from Vandenberg.

  30. Geoff Forden (History)

    Josh, you gotta leave me something for future posts!

  31. michi (History)

    Let me add two points.

    1. The text of UNSCR 1718 requires the DPRK to suspend all activities “related” to its ballistic missile programme. I think the word “related” is a key here to make even the launch of a satellite illegal under this resolution.

    2. To my knowledge, no resolution on Iran’s nuclear issue requires Iran to suspend its missile(-related) programs. Instead, Iran is required to suspend its enrichment-related (here again, the word “related” is a key, which allows the wider interpretation of including even conversion activities) and reprocessing activities (plus heavy water-related projects). In any case, Iran’s case does not make a precedent.

  32. Robot Economist

    We need to take a step back here. The United Nations Security Council does not have the authority declare anything illegal. It can suspend or expel a member for violating the UN Charter’s principles (Chapter II, Art. 5-6). It can also authorize member states to take military (Chapter VII, Art. 42) and non-military measures (Chapter VII, Art. 41) normally prohibited by the Charter’s principles to compel parties to comply with its demands.

    The International Court of Justice, International Crimincal Court and the half-dozen or so special international criminal tribunals are the only current bodies authorized by UN member states to deliberate on matters of international law.

  33. Geoff Forden (History)

    Article 25 of the UN Charter states “The Member States agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the the present Charter.”

    I suppose you could say that the Security Council cannot makes laws, but then what is the difference between a law and something all Member States have to accept and carry out?

  34. Robot Economist (History)

    You’re looking at the wrong verb in Article 25. Member States have agreed to accept and carry out UNSC decisions in accordance with the Charter. Agreements have no enforcement mechanism to ensure the compliance of all parties.

    In order words, the Security Council can authorize member states to take punitive action to compel a party to fulfill its demands, but it cannot compel member states to take said punitive action.

  35. Geoff Forden (History)

    Check out page 31 of “The Authority of the Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter: Legal Limits and the Role of the International Court of Justice” by David schweigman for the arguments about why Article 25 says that the decisions of the Security Council are binding on Member States.

  36. Robot Economist (History)

    I haven’t read Schweigman’s agrument. I’m sure it is very well thought out, but it is of little consequence because, in practice, member states treat UNSC resolutions as being politically binding, not legally binding.

    The ICJ was asked to rule on whether UNSC resolutions have legal authority as part of “Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention Arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libya v. USA),” but it never came to a decision on the matter.

  37. V.S. (History)

    Dear Robot Economist. When you say that “member states treat UNSC resolutions as being politically binding, not legally binding” obviously you have in mind the violators. But the issue is what the rest of the international community thinks and does. Of course a country that doesn’t intend to comply with a binding resolution will say things like that. Iran has the audacity to claim that the UNSC’s resolutions on Iran are illegal!

    And you don’t need a decision for that. That’s the basis of the whole legal institutional edifice, which we can grasp when it comes to national legal orders because they are more enforceable, but we often fail to see in international law as well because, admittedly, there are deficiencies in the enforcement side. Actually Chapter VII of the Charter was a major step, though maybe not entirely efficient, to cover these gaps.

  38. Rwendland (History)

    To add some more “law” into the mix, we have the Outer Space Treaty which states in Article I “Outer space … shall be free for exploration and use by all States without discrimination of any kind, on a basis of equality”, which does give DPRK a good argument if someone interferes.

    WRT Iran the treaty has something rather interesting. Iran has ratified, and Article X gives other state parties a heavily caveated right to ask to observe a launch. Wonder if the US or another state has asked? It would be interesting. The caveated wording is:

    the States Parties to the Treaty shall consider on a basis of equality any requests by other States Parties to the Treaty to be afforded an opportunity to observe the flight of space objects launched by those States. The nature of such an opportunity for observation and the conditions under which it could be afforded shall be determined by agreement between the States concerned.

  39. Leonard Spector (History)

    There may be a couple of additional factors to consider, although I can’t offer a view on how they play out. First, I believe since there is no peace treaty concluding the Korean War, the DPRK remains technically in a state of war with the United States. This could reinforce our right of self-defense vis-a-vis a long-range shot that potentially could hit Guam or Hawaii. Second, there is the question of whether under such circumstances, the potential target state must wait for the trajectory of the flight and/or the payload to become unambiguous or has the right to defend itself at an earlier point.

    The DPRK could resolve these matters through transparency, but that does not seem to be in the cards.

  40. Geoff Forden (History)

    After a quick read of the Korean War Armistice Agreement (which is available on FindLaw), I don’t see anything that would increase the legality of the US or Japan in shooting down a potential satellite launch even if it looked threatening. (In fact, the one article that does seem to pertain, says that naval forces cannot engage in any kind of blockade of Korea. Would preventing a satellite launch amount to a blockade of space activity?)

    Instead the Armistice talks only about attacks against Korean land and waters. So my initial conclusion is that it adds nothing to the legality of shooting down a satellite launch and may even add something against doing it.

  41. Rwendland (History)

    Leonard, Geoff,

    There is also the fact that the Outer Space Treaty Article VII addresses the risk of a space launch attempt impacting another state “on the Earth”, and agrees that the launching state is “internationally liable for damage”.

    This is refined by the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects
    adopted by the UN-GA on 29 November 1971.

    I think this would make it hard to argue that a possible eventuality allowed for a treaty and a specific convention could become an international defence issue.

    NB Article VIII requires the any “component parts found” (e.g. after a launch failure) be returned to the launching state party!

  42. Crispy Duck (History)

    Something else to consider – just how good is the DPRK’s launch monitoring capability, given the ABM intercept bluster? If a TD-2 failed in mid boost-phase, would North Korea be able to quickly work out how and why it had failed?

    If their capability is minimal, this could pose problems. It’s not hard to envisage a scenario where the launch vehicle fails in-flight somewhere over Japan – leading to Pyongyang erroneously blaming a Japanese ABM interception for the failure…….

  43. Ak Malten (History)

    International Law are the Laws which are valid when two or more countries are at war.

    It deals with how wars should be fought, which war act would be legal or illegal and what weapons are legal or illegal to use or threaten to use.

    The right to defense is only there, if it is self defense or collective self defense and your country or ally is under attack.
    In all other cases you need a UNSC permission to start a war. If that permission is not given then to start a war, without that permission is illegal.

    Shooting down a rocket to bring in orbit a satellite is illegal, according to International Law, because it could not be regarded an act of war to launch a satellite and thus their is no need for self defense or defense. But….

    But, Only the UNSC could permit the use of force if a country is not complying to a UNSC resolution, it is not upon one State or a group of States but to the UNSC to decide if force would be acceptable to enforce the resolution.

    Preferably one does not go to war, but bring the dispute before court, before the International Court of Justice in the Hague. That would be the route if one wants to avoid starting a war.

    The International Court of Justice would also judge on whether States are responsible for Crimes committed under International Law.

    The International Criminal Court, in the Hague also, would judge on whether individuals are responsible for Crimes committed under International Law

    Ak Malten