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ISU Prof: Despite N. Korea's Sloppy Missile Launch, Behavior Still Successful

Last updated on Friday, April 10, 2009

(TERRE HAUTE) - Although most observers gauged Sunday’s North Korean missile launch as a failure, it represents a pattern of behavior the country has used successfully for decades.

Jacques Fuqua, Director of Indiana State University's International Affairs Center, is an expert on North Korea. He says a typical motivation for a missile launch is to gain the attention of a new US or South Korean president.

The strategy essentially resets the playing field left by the previous administration so that North Korea never really gives up any political ground. Fuqua says North Korean officials realize their country would be annihilated if it ever used nuclear weapons.

But he says it gets the world's attention and an extraordinary amount of economic aid by repeatedly playing its nuclear threat card. In the last ten years, North Korea has received more international aid through the UN's World Food Program than any other nation on Earth.

Fuqua suggests more economic engagement of North Koreans at a grass roots level would be an effective way to change the attitude within the isolated communist country.

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