First, to make up for the embarrassment of the failed missile; second, the regime's past nuclear tests didn't go very well.
Seoul, South Korea
North Korea today signaled its determination to go through with a third nuclear test in the face of warnings from friends and foes alike.
Today on the 80th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean armed forces, Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho said North Korea now had mobile weapons that were strong enough to strike targets in the US.
That boast appeared to refer to North Korea’s development of long-range missiles that should theoretically be able to deliver a nuclear warhead as far as the US West Coast. Mr. Ri indicated the North’s intention to miniaturize nuclear devices in order to fit them on the missile by claiming that the North could deal a devastating defeat in “a single blow.”
The North Korean rhetorical blast, as reported by Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency, is the latest in a flood of invective, most of it directed against South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak and his government. The rhetoric leaves little doubt for most analysts that North Korea sees the test as needed to compensate for the humiliation suffered on April 13 when its vaunted long-range rocket broke up and plunged into the Yellow Sea 90 seconds after it was launched.
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North Korea also has more practical military and political reasons for wanting to conduct the test in defiance of diplomatic efforts to persuade its new leader, Kim Jong-un, to call off the project.
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