N. Korea shouts ‘look at me’ with rocket

Unha-3 rocket (CNN)
Unha-3 rocket (CNN)

By Benjamin Habib, Special to CNN

December 12, 2012 — Updated 0218 GMT (1018 HKT)

Melbourne (CNN) — The curious timing of North Korea’s Unha-3 rocket launch, outside of its usual spring-summer launch window, raises questions about the political motivations behind Pyongyang’s attention-grabbing move.

On Wednesday morning, just before 10 a.m. local time, South Korean news agency Yonhap and the Japanese government reported that the rocket had been launched. It came just days after North Korea extended the launch window due to technical issues.

Taking heed of launch and the usual caveats about reading North Korean government behavior, we can discern three motives underlying Pyongyang’s latest move: international bargaining, domestic legitimacy and strategic leverage.

This year, Northeast Asia is experiencing a unique convergence of elections and leadership transitions in the United States, China, Japan and South Korea. This follows the change of leadership in North Korea in December 2011 […]

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