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Risky launch 'shows leadership problems'

Military has touted satellite launch to flex its muscles, expert says

A North Korean missile launch A North Korean missile launch
  • Stephen Hong, Seoul
  • Korea
  • March 20, 2012
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Pyongyang’s intended satellite launch could be the result of problems at the top of the leadership, an expert on North Korea has said.

North Korea announced on March 16 that it would launch "an observation satellite" into space on the back of a long-range missile between April 12 and 16, as part of celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder Kim Il-sung on April 15.

Park Jong-chul, director of the Center for Unification Policy Studies, said the move is a risk considering recent progress in dialogue with the US.

“The move suggests its new leader Kim Jong-un has succumbed to the military's demand to allow it to flex its muscles," he said.

The announcement of the launch sparked widespread international condemnation and cast doubts over an agreement with the US which was to provide 240,000 tons of food aid in exchange for a North Korean moratorium on nuclear
testing and uranium enrichment activities.

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