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South Korea’s Launch and North Korean Satellite Envy: Take Two

by Scott A. Snyder
November 28, 2012

South Korea's first space rocket is launched from its launch pad at the Naro Space Centre in Goheung. (Ho/Courtesy Reuters) South Korea's first space rocket is launched from its launch pad at the Naro Space Centre in Goheung. (Ho/Courtesy Reuters)

In a previous post from last month, I asserted that South Korea’s efforts to launch its own satellite would likely enrage North Korea, which is banned from conducting similar launches under UN Security Council Resolutions 1695, 1718, and 1874. That post highlighted an essay by Clay Moltz of the Naval Postgraduate School that we posted last month.

Since that time, several additional analyses of missile development efforts in both North and South Korea have come out by Dan Pinkston, Stephan Haggard, and Nick Hansen. Media reports based on satellite analysis from Digital Globe suggests North Korea may be prepared to conduct a new launch of its own within three weeks, or just in time for South Korea’s December 19 presidential election. If indeed a new satellite launch is North Korea’s next provocation, it will be an early test of South Korean candidate commitments to reopen dialogue with the North, the willingness of the newly selected Chinese leadership to hold to a questionable status quo in policy toward North Korea, and the second time that North Korea has defied President Obama’s efforts to extend an “outstretched hand.”

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