The Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite will be launched southward from the Sohae satellite launch station in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province, using a long-range Unha-3 rocket.
North Korean officials assured the international community that it would “strictly abide by relevant international regulations and usage concerning the launch of scientific and technological satellites for peaceful purposes.” 
As Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak insinuate that Pyongyang’s upcoming satellite launch is a pretext to expand a program of nuclear terrorism , North Korea has invited the space agencies of eight countries, including Japan, the United States, China and Russia, and the European Space Agency to observe the launch .
While North Korea attempts to assure the transparency of its space program to the international community, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency have both declined the invitation from Pyongyang .
Additionally, Japan has announced the extension of unilateral sanctions on North Korea for another year , including a trade freeze and visa ban, while the US has announced a suspension of 240,000 tones of food aid to North Korea, reportedly allocated for children and pregnant women . While the feasibility of the proposed $850 million satellite launch is questionable given North Korea’s economic instability in recent times , the Washington consensus has used UN Resolution 1874 to impede what may rightfully be a peaceful technological investment to monitor the country’s crops and natural resources, in a move to prevent further food insecurity.
The upcoming launch of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite coincides with the 100th anniversary of North Korea’s founding deity, Kim il-Sung. Both Japan  and South Korea  have vowed to intercept the Unha-3 rocket using AEGIS warships if it flies over the country’s territories.
Pyongyang insists the launch does not violate any UN resolutions, following a Foreign Ministry spokesman who assured the international community that “North Korea will never give up the launch of a satellite for peaceful purposes.” 
The double standards imposed on North Korea remain ever apparent, as the international community remains silent as South Korea expands its arsenal of advanced military technology in an effort to become the world’s seventh largest arm exporter . South Korea intends to import 60 fighter jets from Boeing with an enormous budget of $7.3 billion  and has recently agreed to an American Bunker Buster explosives arms agreement valued at $71 million , while North Korean ballistic technology appears to be constructed from components of Soviet origin suspected to be largely obsolete; analysts such as David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ point out that the engines on the North’s Unha-2 launcher are based on Soviet technology developed in 1964 . Upon closer examination, the threat on the Korean Peninsula is not as one-sided as the Washington consensus claims.
Although the Obama administration would like to appear as if they are in command of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, their actions indicate the limited leverage they have to affect the situation. The threat of North Korea has proven itself to be a valuable pretext for the continued presence of US military personnel in both South Korea and Japan.
The US has worked to further marginalize North Korea to contain China, as construction begins for a controversial $970 million joint military base on South Korea’s Jeju Island , which would host up to 20 American and South Korean warships, including submarines, aircraft carriers and destroyers once completed in 2014.
An influx of foreign currency has ensured Pyongyang’s stability under its new leadership as China secures contracts to extract North Korea’s vast natural resources such as iron ore and coal, roughly valued at $6.1 trillion as of 2008 . The US will continue to exploit the new regime’s eagerness to prove itself to the populace, as reports issued by the Council on Foreign Relations indicate its long-term program. The 2009 document entitled “Preparing for Sudden Change in North Korea”  advocates a military contingency plan involving the stationing of up to 460,000 foreign soldiers into a post-regime North Korea to its capture nuclear arms and ballistic missiles.
The document also highlights the need to form a compliant transitional government acquiescent to market liberalization and privatization. As the potential for debilitating conflict on the Korean Peninsula remains ever present, the international community must approach Pyongyang with increased diplomacy and embrace its attempts at transparency in whichever medium.
 Preparing for Sudden Change in North Korea, The Council on Foreign Relations, January 2009
Article originally posted Nile Bowie’s blog here. Nile Bowie is a syndicated freelance writer and photojournalist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.