North Korea launches rocket and tensions rise
On Thursday evening, North Korea dismissed warnings from the US and Asisan nations by proceeding with the launch of what it claimed was a weather satellite. The missile launch, however, failed, according to South Korean and US officials.
Prior to the launch, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the UN Security Council would consider action if the rogue nation went ahead with the rocket launch. Clinton also warned North Korea that the US would consider limiting food aid to the nation if they went ahead with the launch.
As with much about North Korea, little is understood about why the regime acts in the manner it does. Some believe the rocket launch is intended to bolster the new regime, while others see a more obscure motive.
Rudiger Frank, a North Korea expert at the University of Vienna, says that anniversary is the main reason for the rocket launch.
“I think we shouldn’t really misunderstand everything the North Koreans do as a signal sent to us. In a way we could picture this rocket launch as a gigantic firework to mark the 100th birthday of Kim Il Sung, which I think is by far the largest holiday they ever had,” Frank tells National Public Radio.
Whatever the motive, how the international community responds, and, in turn, how North Korea reacts to its response will determine whether the situation intensifies or is contained.