It will be interesting to see whether Kim Jong-Il does in fact test launch the North's new Taepodong 2 missile.
North Korea appears to have completed fueling of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States, American officials said today, a move that greatly increases the probability that Pyongyang will actually go ahead with a launch.
... Fueling a missile is generally considered close to an irreversible step, since it is very hard to siphon fuel back out.
...experts say there are two main reasons why the North Korean regime might launch a missile right now.
For one thing, the country's military may well want to verify their missile capability. It has almost eight years since the last missile launch, which occurred in August 1998, and "it may well be that Kim Jong Il is getting a lot of pressure from his generals to verify the design" of the Taepodong 2 missile, said Robert Einhorn, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation under President Bill Clinton.
But, he added, "whenever the North Koreans act up, one has to assume in part at least that they are trying to get the world's attention."
...North Korea has boycotted the talks in recent months after the United States cracked down on financial institutions, including a bank in Macau, that dealt with the government in Pyongyang and with North Korean companies suspected of counterfeiting American dollars and laundering money. If North Korea goes ahead with a missile launching, the already floundering talks would likely go into a deep freeze.
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