North Korea doesn't have a lot of experience dealing with the press (because it rarely does) so when it gave its most detailed defense of its rocket launch this morning, it didn't go over so well. The official line revealed by Ryu Kum Chol, a senior North Korean space official, is that there's nothing to worry about because a) the rocket uses liquid fuel not solid fuel and b) if this was actually a ballistic missile, it would require a much larger payload than is currently being used. Since the whole world is watching this launch, they probably should've done some homework on their talking points.
Liquid fuel The first point is the easiest to shoot down (ha). As the Associated Press reported this morning, Ryu dismissed worries as "nonsense" saying "solid fuel is used to launch ballistic missiles, while the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite will be sent using liquid fuel." While it's true that most sophisticated ballistic missiles use solid fuel, as the Claremont Institute explains, it's not all true that delivering a bomb can't be done with liquid fuel. As the institute explains, a ballistic missile can contain "either liquid or solid fuel." As recently as last year, Global Security Newswire reported that Russia obtained a nuclear-capable ballistic missile reliant on liquid propellant. As the report explained, "The three-stage weapon can launch from 180 feet below the ocean's surface, transport a payload totaling 2.8 metric tons and achieve a range approaching 7,500 miles."