Why North Korea is testing so many missiles

IT IS as if Kim Jong Un wants to be seen to be flinging his explosive toys about with ever more abandon. In recent months his rocketmen have fired off missiles in one test after another, often with the young, overfed dictator gleefully looking on. During his first two years in power (2012 and 2013), North Korea launched just eight missiles in total. Over the following three years, there were 15 tests a year on average. The tempo has risen again this year, with five firings since May 10th, when Moon Jae-in was inaugurated as president of South Korea. Rumours of a fresh underground nuclear test, which would be North Korea’s sixth, are growing. Korea-watchers are increasingly wondering what’s behind the ballistic frenzy.

A simple answer is that only vigorous testing can advance a country’s missile programme—and that Mr Kim sees the ability to launch nuclear-tipped missiles as the key to his regime’s survival in the face of American hostility. Rocket failures can be as important in...Continue reading

from Asia http://ift.tt/2syXAiq

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