[North Korea][Diplomacy][Regional security][US-NK] - The Economist - 2012.03.24

[North Korea][Diplomacy][Regional security][US-NK] - The Economist - 2012.03.24

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Nobody’s satellite state In negotiating with the outside world, Kim Jong Un turns out to be a chip off the old block LIKE a candle in a howling gale, optimism about North Korea is hard to keep alight. The latest flicker of  hope was snuffed out on March 16th, when North Korea announced its plan to make the 100th birthday  next month of its late but eternal president, Kim Il Sung, go with a bang. His grandson, the country’s  juvenile new leader, Kim Jong Un, intends to mark the centenary with the launch of a home-made  satellite, the Kwangmyongsong-3. This seems certain to scupper the agreement with the United States announced on February 29th that  had spawned a fragile little hope: under the deal, North Korea would observe a moratorium on nuclear  testing, uranium enrichment and missile launches, and allow inspectors from the United Nations’ nuclear  watchdog into the country to monitor this. For its part, America agreed to provide 240,000 tonnes of food  aid (as a humanitarian gesture, it insisted, not a direct quid pro quo). Other positive signals followed  through “track two” diplomatic channels. A route back to the “six-party talks” on North Korean  denuclearisation (the other four being China, Japan, Russia and South Korea), stalled for over three  years, seemed to be opening. No more. North Korea needs the food more than the satellite. Its people had long been promised that their  founder’s centenary would be marked by their nation’s emergence as “a strong and prosperous power”.  Instead it is in the grip of grinding poverty and the imminent threat of mass hunger. Like his father, Kim 
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