With North Korea announcing to the world that it will be attempting to launch a second satellite for 2012, many analysts have been speculating as to why Pyongyang is so keen to try another launch just months after the last one ended in catastrophic failure. Marking the 100 year anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birth, 2012 is a highly symbolic year for North Korea and it seems likely that domestic motivations are playing an important role in understanding the timing of the next launch. But with South Korea’s presidential elections coinciding with the rocket launch window, it is also possible the DPRK may be attempting to influence that the ROK’s electoral outcome.
To make sense of what's going on, Korea Kontext spoke to Mark Fitzpatrick, the Director of Non-Proliferation and Disarmament at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Following North Korea's weapons of mass destruction programs for a number of years, Fitzpatrick has a close understanding of the drivers behind Pyongyang's strategic thinking. Prior to his appointment at IISS, Fitzpatrick focused on non-proliferation issues at the State Department in Washington DC for over 25 years. Among his duties, Fitzpatrick oversaw implementation of the Proliferation Security Initiative, advanced conventional arms and technology controls, proliferation sanctions, and export control cooperation programs.
Join us for a timely and insightful conversation on the impact and consequences of North Korea's next satellite launch.