North Korea's failed rocket launch symbolizes the inefficacy of Pyongyang's economic and political system and the crash of brief hopes that the new Kim regime might lead to rapprochement with South Korea and the United States.
What the North Koreans intended as a long-range, three-stage rocket flight sputtered ignominiously when the rocket broke apart and fell into the Yellow Sea less than two minutes after its launch yesterday. The regime in Pyongyang claims the rocket was supposed to place a satellite into orbit to celebrate the 100th birthday of North Korea’s deified former leader Kim Il Sung.
Instead, the failed launch symbolized the inefficacy of North Korea’s economic and political system and the crash of brief hopes that the recent change in the country’s leadership might lead to rapprochement with South Korea and the United States.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) rocket launch also kills the short-lived Feb. 29 agreement in which the US government promised a quarter of a million tons of “nutritional assistance” (foodstuffs not likely to be diverted to the North Korean military) if the North Koreans would temporarily curtail some aspects of their missile and nuclear weapons programs.
Many observers saw this agreement as a test of the possibility that new ruler Kim Jung Un might take a different path than his father: seeking North Korean prosperity and security by trading away the nuclear weapons program in exchange for an improved political relationship and expanded economic cooperation with Pyongyang’s avowed enemies. Mr. Kim failed that test.
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