Saturday, April 4, 2009

N.Korea Rocket Launch Likely to Fail: Rand

from The Korea Times
April 4, 2009

North Korea’s rocket launch is likely to be unsuccessful up to 80 to 90 percent, said a prominent analyst at the U.S.-based Rand Corporation.

“I estimate the possibility of North Korea’s rocket launch failure up to 80 to 90 percent,” said Hahm Chai-bong of Rand. He added, however, that in case it succeeds, it will pose a “serious security threat” to Japan, Yonhap reported Saturday.

Hahm believes that North Korea aims to strengthen its domestic power grip through the missile program and its development of nuclear weapons, while also trying to get the attention of Washington which has been preoccupied with other priorities, including the economic crisis, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Surrounding the debate on whether what North Korea plans to launch is a missile or satellite (as North Korea claims), Hahm said things will get worse anyway because, after all, the underlying technology for both is the same and North Korea will want to show off its military achievement with the thinking of selling the weapons to other countries.

Meanwhile, Hahm said that with the rocket launch Pyongyang will put China, its staunch ideological ally and also the main economic benefactor, in a dilemma by further scaling down Beijing’s room to advocate Pyongyang in international community.

He, however, was less hopeful about what the international community can do about North Korea’s belligerence. “The U.N. Security Council sanctions will be the ‘least and at the same time the maximum’ response the international community can take,” and that the sanctions will eventually turn to be a mere symbolic political gesture.
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