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Renegade Responses to North Korea Rocket Launch

A man watches a TV screen broadcasting news on North Korea's rocket launch, at a railway station in Seoul on December 12, 2012.
Jung yeon-Je | AFP | Getty Images
A man watches a TV screen broadcasting news on North Korea's rocket launch, at a railway station in Seoul on December 12, 2012.

World response to North Korea's controversial rocket launch wasn't as unanimous as it might have seemed. In fact, the responses of several nations stand out.

Kazakhstan, for instance, couldn't be bothered with more than a quick post on their website. And even that saw the authoritarian Central Asian nation quick to set itself up as a standard-bearer of nuclear moderation: "As a nation that has voluntarily renounced its nuclear arsenal and has greatly contributed to the global disarmament efforts," the foreign ministry announced, "Kazakhstan calls to refrain from such launches."

(Read More: Pyongyang's Rocket Launch a Test for Asia's Leaders)

Or take Iran. Their reaction was downright laudatory — possibly because Tehran empathizes with the charges of ballistic missile activity leveled at the Korean communist regime.

The Islamic Republic, whose nuclear program has also been condemned by the West, "congratulates the people and the government" of North Korea on "the successful launching of the satellite-carrying rocket," Iranian armed forces deputy chief Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency, as cited by Ahram Online. "Dominant powers, like the United States, cannot halt the progress of independent states, who through resistance can quickly tread the path of scientific and technological self-reliance," he added.

China, North Korea's largest economic supporter, was pretty wishy-washy too. "We express regret at the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's [North Korea's] launch in spite of the extensive concerns of the international community," a foreign ministry spokesperson said, according to BBC News.

Then you have notoriously irascible international bodies like the United Nations Security Council, which, predictably, "has failed to agree on a response to North Korea's missile launch" according to Ireland's RTE.

They did eventually denounce the move, nodding to violations prohibiting the nation from "any launch using ballistic missile technology," but refrained from saying more, reported RTE.

The crowning response in politically complex reactions, though, was Pakistan's Daily Times pointing out erstwhile rival India's disapproval of the rocket launch, "even as it tested one of its own ballistic weapons, which were developed when India was a nuclear pariah itself," the report said.

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But Pakistan can't really take the moral high ground here — Islamabad has been a regular customer of North Korea's rocket business, according to CNN. The Daily Times, of course, does not mention this.

Well done, all. A truly unified stance on a potentially catastrophic event.

Contact Asia Economy

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