On March 27, 2012, North Korea announced that it would not abandon its satellite launch in mid April despite United States (U.S.) President Barack Obama's high profile visit to South Korea this week. Strong reactions have come from South Korea and Japan, the latter having prepared its missile defense system in case the satellite rocket entered Japan's airspace.
As North Korea's closest ally, China's President Hu Jintao has been rather prudent in expressing his position. In the social media, the news has caught a lot of attention among netizens but their viewpoints are divided.
In the news discussion thread at Sina Weibo [zh], quite a number of netizens found North Korea courageous in confronting the U.S. hegemony:
superman哥哥：Well spoken. How could other countries stop a country from launching a satellite. How can you prevent others from eating meat while you enjoy eating meat!!!
称成：support North Korea. It has the ability and courage.
肥鸭KidAtCardiacSurgery：Of course an independent state should have the rights to launch satellites. What a joke! How could other countries intervene into other's internal affairs?
LGX9930：Launching satellites is not only legitimate rights of an independent country. It is necessary for the nation's economic development. Of course it won't give up. Strong country can launch and small country can't?
长河落日故乡人：How come no one urges the U.S and the North Korea to become nuke-free?
路殿下：satellites, rockets and nuclear weapons, all need money. If they gave up the development of military technology, Syria and Iran could not maintain their control. The axis powers are a pain in the ass for the U.S.. North Korea knows that they cannot depend on its big brother [China] anymore, and they can only hold onto their control with the development of military force. Such a strategy serves China's short term interest, or else it won't have the guts to confront the U.S.
子虛烏有-先生：Obama is acting hysterically in this. North Korea won't give up in exchange for food aid, turning the U.S into a clown. Hegemony, please die.
穗海原川：Remember we were starving back in 1958, we still launched so many satellites. Let's give [North Korea] some faces and let them launch their satellite or satellite-in-disguise.
At the same time, some argue that the North Korea satellite development will eventually harm China:
Daniel桑：reply to @昊孟中月: please use your brain. Why do we allow police officers to carry guns while not allowing thieves to do the same. Do you know the meaning of North Korea's satellite launch? It will be a headache for China.
热气青年3代：This is like giving a sharp knife to a maniac.
mjintokyo：North Korea's rocket can only reach Alaska. But they can reach all corners in China. For those who support North Korea, do you think China has nothing to worry about?
There are also sarcastic comments such as the following:
吉普寨老农：Great. North Korea should hold on and have a hard battle. Once the war starts, the dictator would be wiped off within a month.