Sophie Black writes:

North Korea has started another fight with the US and its allies by test-firing several missiles, apparently including the Taepodong-2,
the long-range missile at the heart of growing diplomatic tensions.

But the long-range missile seems to have
malfunctioned less than a minute into its flight, which is a major
embarrassment for the North Koreans. Ron Huisken, Senior Fellow at the
Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at ANU, told Crikey
this morning, “The Taepodong-2 is the largest missile that the North Koreans have built and tried to test, it’s a 3 stage missile…it could go
4,000 kms which is a serious range… but according to the North American air defence
command… the missile disintegrated 35 seconds after launch, a
complete fiasco.”

In 1998 North Korea floored western and
Japanese analysts by firing a Taepodong-1 missile over Japan into the
Pacific Ocean, revealing more advanced missile capabilities than the country
was previously thought to possess.
This time around, says Huisken, the “blizzard of tests was
overwhelmingly political, stunt may be a strong word, but clearly the North
Koreans think the fallout will be to their advantage.”

“This is a way of throwing sand in
the US’s eyes and saving face,” and Pyongyang may now come back to the six way talks, says Huisken, “but I think on
balance they’ve miscalculated…made worse by the fact that the missiles didn’t

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey