Like father, like son: Kim Jong Un achieves father’s dream

Protesters react to the rocket launch in North Korea today.

The successful launch of a North Korean rocket Wednesday has been condemned by the international community and caused anxiety over the pariah state’s intentions. But leading expert Rüdiger Frank, who also studied in Pyongyang, has a different view.



Q: What was the aim of this launch?

A: Mainly domestic. Kim Jong Un has been in power for almost a year, and there was a failed launch in April he had to make up for. He had to demonstrate that he can be a successful modernizer and the rocket can be seen as a great achievement. It will make North Koreans believe he can make more progress, such as in the economic situation, but signals to the military that military issues will not drop out of sight. He has pleased a broad range of domestic opinion.



Q: The regime claims this is about space exploration – do you take that seriously?

A: I believe it is a priority but not the only one. North Korea does have a mobile phone network and is heavily oriented toward modern communication technology. Having a communication satellite is a key component – no other country would send a North Korean satellite into space so they have to rely on their own technology.



Q: What will it cost them?

A: That is the biggest problem. The government admits they have serious problems feeding the population – as well as providing heating, electricity and everything else. It’s highly questionable to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in this program, and it also renders all efforts at securing humanitarian aid very difficult.



Q: What does it tell us about the new Kim Jong Un regime?

A: He continued his father’s program. Kim Jong Il launched the first rocket in 1998 but it failed, so Kim Jong Un has accomplished something his father always wanted. It’s a massive cause for celebration that solidifies the rule of Kim Jong Un. Traditionally after such a bold event conciliatory moves happen and I believe there will be an economic reform proposal reaching out to South Korea.



Q: What are the implications for foreign relations?

A: If you’re in a corner there is nowhere else to go anyway, so its not such a big issue. It improves their standing with China, which is not happy because it shows some independence although the economy is heavily dependent on China. South Korea is not affected because it’s the conventional military threat from North Korea that matters. The US has no choice but to condemn it, which makes co-operation more difficult.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Actor Tracy Morgan wasn't wearing seatbelt in June…

By Jonathan Stempel(Reuters) - Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan and others in his limousine were not wearing seat belts when their vehicle was struck by…

National

Connected cars: Is AT&T leaving Verizon in its…

By Marina Lopes and Bernie WoodallWASHINGTON/DETROIT (Reuters) - Verizon Communications, the No.1 U.S. wireless carrier known for its widespread coverage, is falling behind its biggest…

Local

Grand jury begins hearing evidence in Eric Garner…

A grand jury began hearing evidence Monday relating to the death of Eric Garner while in police custody in July. Garner, 43, of Staten Island,…

Local

Mayor announces plan for solar panels at city…

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the planned installation of 24 new solar panels at city schools on Monday morning. The panels, a $28 million investment,…

Going Out

Taste what Lower Manhattan is cooking at today's…

The Lower Manhattan food scene has changed a lot in three years, which you can taste first hand when the neighborhood's food festival returns. On…

Television

Review: 'Selfie' tries to coast on the charm…

"Selfie" offers cute leads and some good jokes, but focuses too much on a vague distaste for social media.

Movies

Review: Jason Reitman's 'Men, Women & Children' is…

Jason Reitman's "Men, Women & Children" takes a hysterical and melodramatic look at disconnection in the digital age, turning strong actors into zombies.

Television

TV watch list, Monday, Sept. 29: 'Castle,' 'Mom'…

Tune in for the season premieres of "Castle," "Mom" and "NCIS: Los Angeles."

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

MLB

Joe Girardi not confident David Robertson will return…

David Robertson was as seamless as anyone could be replacing Mariano Rivera as he converted 39 saves, with a 3.08 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony preaches patience with new coach, offense

While star forward Carmelo Anthony said he’s “enthusiastic” and “optimistic” for the upcoming season, he still wants everyone — from within the locker room and…

Education

How to ace your private school interview

Getting ready for a private school interview can be daunting for many, most of whom might never have been in an interview situation before. We’ve…

Education

5 questions parents should ask while visiting private…

It can be hard to know what to look for when searching for a new school for your child. Parents considering several different schools can…

Education

3 ways to save money on college application…

With the average high school student applying to 5 or 6 schools, hefty application and test score fees can add up quickly. We’ve compiled some…

Education

Nap rooms: The latest college campus trend

College is a time filled with new experiences (and lots of schoolwork), leaving little time for students to get a good night’s rest. University of…