Failure to launch: North Korea shoots down US food aid

North Korean soldiers at the demilitarized zone. The country has pushed ahead with its scheduled satellite launch on April 12. Photo by: Joseph Ferris III / CC BY

Defying pressure from the international community, North Korea pushed ahead with its scheduled satellite launch April 12. But the rocket failed to reach orbit, taking down with it all chances of much-needed food aid from the United States.

U.S. and South Korean officials said the three-stage “rocket” broke up one and a half minutes into the flight, The Washington Post reports. But to think that no one got hurt in the event is false.

Millions of women and children in North Korea have to go by with growling stomachs and face malnutrition for who knows how long. The United States suspended plans to send 240,000 metric tons of food aid to the reclusive Asian nation in the lead up to the launch, the Telegraph reports.

Unlike in previous attempts, North Korea’s state media acknowledged the failed launch, albeit after a four-hour delay. But with the international community widely regarding the launch as “provocative,” the country is likely to be slapped with an additional set of sanctions. The U.N. Security Council will be convening April 13 to discuss its response to Pyongyang’s actions.

Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, said North Korea’s move illustrated “once again” that negotiating with the regime is a “fool’s errand.”

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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