China sends rocket 10,000km above earth

That’s a level previously only achieved by US rockets in the past. One US expert believes the Chinese are testing rockets at this level to develop satellite-killing rockets, which would be used to deny an opponent the use of them during a crisis.

“It was a ground-based missile that we believe would be their first test of an interceptor that would be designed to go after a satellite that’s actually on orbit,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak on the record.

The Chinese sent shockwaves through the space community in 2007 when they destroyed one of their decommissioned satellites with a missile.

Japan ups surveillance capability

Japan has launched another radar satellite, according to Kyodo News.

Once the radar satellite commences full operation in April, Japan will have two radar satellites and two optical satellites in operation, enabling it to observe any point on the ground at least once a day.

That ability to better observe its neighbors will be handy, especially as North Korea is threatening more missile launches and raised the prospect of a nuclear test.

Rocket launch to boost hawks in Japan…

…But that doesn’t necessarily mean the neo-nationalist Japanese Restoration Party cleans up in the December 16, according to this article.

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North Korea’s successful rocket launch on Wednesday is likely to swell support for hawks in the Liberal Democratic Party and in smaller parties, in a country already  feeling the heat from a territorial dispute with China.

Currently polls “point to an LDP-led coalition” winning, which would put ex-PM Shinzo Abe back in office.

Abe…has been hawkish since re-taking the LDP’s helm this year.
 
After months of tensions with Beijing over disputed islands in the East China Sea, he has pledged to boost maritime surveillance and re-write the post-World War II pacifist constitution foisted on Tokyo by its US occupiers, a nod to those calling for a more muscular military.
 
That stance could be boosted by North Korea’s launch.
Although to be fair, I understand that no matter who is elected, Japan won’t likely announce radical changes in its strategy with China, including over the disputed islands. Having said that, an increasing ratio of hawks to liberals points to an electorate growing restless with the status quo.