Even If It Fails, North Korean Satellite Launch Is a Threat

In the midst of commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il Sung, North Korea is apparently preparing to fire a ballistic missile. While Pyongyang insists the rocket launch is for the sole purpose of sending a satellite into orbit, most analysts say the launch is an effort to develop ballistic missile technology to support North Korea's growing nuclear weapons program.

The satellite launch is seen as a clear violation not only of United Nations resolutions requiring North Korea to suspend activities -- including launches -- related to its ballistic missile program, but also of an agreement North Korea made with the United States just six weeks ago, when the isolated country promised to suspend nuclear weapons tests and allow visits by international inspectors in exchange for food aid.*

Experts tell Trend Lines that regardless of the outcome of the upcoming launch, it creates another opportunity for North Korea to expand its missile capability.

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