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One-on-One with Peter Beck: Meaning of N. Korea's Planned Missile Launch

Updated: 2012-03-19 12:00:00 (KST)
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One-on-One with Peter Beck: Meaning of N. Korea's Planned Missile Launch

[Reporter : Kim Yeon-ji, Reporter
yjkim@arirang.co.kr] "Hi, Peter, thanks for your time. North Korea announced last Friday it will launch a working satellite next month to mark the 100th birthday of Kim Il-sung, its founder. The international community is saying this is going to be another disguised test of its long range missiles. Do you think this is true[Interview : Peter Beck, Country Representative for Korea
The Asia Foundation
] "It is. Because the difference between a satellite launch and a missile test, there's virtually no difference. Really, what North Korea is trying to do is to see if they can make the third stage of this missile work."

[Reporter : ] "North Korea said it is going to invite foreign media and experts to the site of launch this time. What does this mean[Interview : Peter Beck, Country Representative for Korea
The Asia Foundation
] "They want to show off to the world.
But this puts pressure on North Korea because they never had a successful three-stage missile test before. So this tells me that if they do in fact invite all these foreign observers, they are very confident that they can succeed this time."

[Reporter : ] "What do you think is the primary motive behind North Korea's gesture to do this now[Interview : Peter Beck, Country Representative for Korea
The Asia Foundation
] "You know, the timing couldn't be worse because the North has reached many breakthroughs with the U.S. just a couple of weeks ago. It shows us that this was really a false dawn. And really, what the U.S. was giving to North Korea in exchange for this freeze of their activities was very little. North Korea has a grain shortfall of more than a million tons a year. This 250-thousand tons would not even provide three month worth of food for the amount of food that they need for their people right now.
So, this was not any major breakthrough that we have with North Korea.
And unfortunately, they decided to remind us sooner rather than later that much more is going to be done and needs to be done before we could actually impose a freeze. But what North Korea is trying to do is to show that not only do they have nuclear power, but they have long-range missile capability that they can send. Their ultimate goal is to create a nuclear bomb that could reach the U.S."

[Reporter : ] "Wrapping this up, do you agree that Kim Jong-un is doing this to make sure his country is stable and his people have something to be proud of this leadership[Interview : Peter Beck, Country Representative for Korea
The Asia Foundation
] "That's right. When they did the launch in 2009, they really played it up to North Korean public. And I have no doubt that they'd do so again. They are keen to nuclear tests. It's a way of showing off. And Frankly, kim jong-un doesn't have many accomplishments. And this is something that he would be able to point to, saying we launched this missile, this satellite to their people. I sure hope that he's confident that's going to work. If it doesn't, at least in the eyes of the world, it's gonna be embarrassing. And it will complicate trying to negotiate with North Korea."

[Reporter : ] "Thanks, Peter, for sharing your insight with us."

[Interview : Peter Beck, Country Representative for Korea
The Asia Foundation
] "Thanks for having me."


Reporter : yjkim@arirang.co.kr

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