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PacNet #16 – Why Was North Korea In Such a Hurry with its Missile and Nuclear Tests? The Challenges for 2013 and Beyond

Following Kim Jong Il’s orders, his son and successor Kim Jong-un recently conducted tests of both a long-range missile (under the pretext of launching a communications satellite) and a nuclear weapon. This was useful to consolidate his power within North Korea, whose starving masses have little else to celebrate, but it was also a grave provocation to the international community, even to its principal ally China. So what is the payoff for North Korea – why be so brave?