North Korea’s Missile Test: Off-Target?
April 8, 2009
North Korea’s launch of a multi-stage rocket has been assessed by international experts as a technical failure, but the test has been at least a partial success in hitting four political targets: North Korea’s domestic audience, exploitation of international divisions among members of the six party talks, testing of the newly-established Obama administration, and exploitation of Chinese dilemmas over how to balance multiple conflicting objectives in its North Korea policy.
Target #1: The “Song of General Kim Jong Il” Plays in North Korea
The North Korean Taep’odong-2 rocket launch occurred just days prior to the April 9th convocation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s rubber-stamp Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA). This follows prior precedent, as North Korea’s 1998 Taep’odong-1 test was timed just prior to an SPA meeting and Kim Jong Il’s consolidation of control over the state, party, and military institutions.
The Korean Central News Agency reported that the Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite, “a shining product of self-reliance, was smoothly and accurately put into its orbit.” Rumors from external media may eventually challenge North Korea’s official narrative, but the message to the people of North Korea – following doubts raised by rumors of Kim’s illness – is that Kim Jong Il’s power remains intact, unthreatened, and unchallengeable. Read more.
Scott Snyder is a Senior Associate at The Asia Foundation and Director of the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy. Snyder first posted this piece in Globalsecurity.org. He can be reached at [email protected] For more analysis on North Korea, read the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy’s newsletter.
About our blog, InAsia
InAsia is posted and distributed every other Wednesday evening, Pacific Time. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].
ContactFor questions about InAsia, or for our cross-post and re-use policy, please send an email to [email protected].
The Asia Foundation
465 California St., 9th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
PO Box 193223
San Francisco, CA 94119-3223
HIGHLIGHTS ACROSS ASIA
Sustainable Fashion Pioneer Eileen Fisher and Sri Lanka’s Women In Need to be Honored at 2021 Lotus Leadership Awards
April 20, 2021
Fighting the Good Fight: The Case of the Philippine Rice Sector
April 14, 2021
Impact Report 2020
Leading through change