North Korea launched its Unha-3 missile yesterday in defiance of its neighbors and the U.S., but it didn’t go as planned. The missile broke apart only minutes after takeoff. Now, Kim Jong-Un must do something to save face, guaranteeing that he won’t back down from carrying out a third nuclear test in the coming days.
North Korea’s adversaries loudly protested the planned missile launch. The regime claimed it was innocently launching a satellite, but the technology is almost exactly the same as what is needed for a long-range ballistic missile. It was obvious that North Korea was testing its ability to strike as far away as the continental U.S. and Australia. Japan and South Korea threatened to shoot it down if it entered their airspaces. The regime proudly granted the worldwide media permission to come see the rocket, prompting the U.S. government to caution journalists that they could be feeding into its propaganda.
The U.S. warned that it would torpedo a deal struck on February 29 where the North Koreans would permit inspections of its nuclear facilities, end its nuclear weapons programs and stop testing missiles. In return, the U.S. would provide 240,000 metric tons of food desperately needed by the starving population. American officials assured the public that the delivery would be tightly monitored to make sure that the aid wasn’t diverted to the regime.
Kim Jong-Un decided to go back on the deal and spend $800 million on this failed rocket launch; money that could have been spent on 2.5 million tons of corn and 1.4 million tons of rice. North Korean engineers are digging an underground tunnel in preparation for a nuclear weapons test, spending even more money that could save its people. The regime is also spending $50 million on an amusement park and $140 million on upgrading 3,000 apartments used by government officials. Meanwhile, according to the U.N. World Food Program, about 16 of 24 million North Koreans rely on foreign food aid for survival and one-third of the children suffer from chronic malnourishment.
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