June 03, 2020

Understanding North Korea’s Next Satellite Launch
This time the launch is Nothing To Do With Issues Outside of The Korean Peninsula

Having launched just four long range rockets in the past two decades, news that the DPRK will try to put a satellite into space for the second time in a year is striking.  With a date set for between December 10 - 22, the next launch coincides with forthcoming South Korean presidential elections, a Japanese general election, and the anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death.  The proposed timing is also noteworthy for following a major leadership change in China and the reelection of President Obama to the White House.

With the last launch having cost an estimated $850 million dollars, it is clear that there must be strong imperatives for cash-strapped North Korea to want to launch another rocket so soon. But what are they and what do they mean?  A close look at the context of today's news suggests that five motivations internal to the Korean peninsula might be behind this launch. And if this is the case, it seems that little can be done to prevent the launch from going ahead.