I am not surprised that the North Koreans are causing another provocation to test the reaction of the US government since the election is over, but I figured they would wait until the ROK election was over December 19th before starting another provocation:
Russia and China urged North Korea on Monday not to go ahead with a plan for its second rocket launch of 2012, with Moscow saying the launch would violate restrictions imposed by the U.N. Security Council.
North Korea’s state news agency on Saturday announced the decision to launch another space satellite and reportedly told neighbors it would take a similar path to that planned for a failed rocket launch in April.
“We urgently appeal to the government (of North Korea) to reconsider the decision to launch a rocket,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Echoing its criticism of the April launch, Russia said North Korea had been warned not to ignore a U.N. Security Council resolution which “unambiguously prohibits (it) from launching rockets using ballistic technology”.
China was not so direct in its criticism of North Korea, but urged “all sides” not to take any action that “worsens the problem”.
“China believes that maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia accords with the interests of all sides and is the joint responsibility of all sides,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.
“In the present circumstances, we hope all sides can be calm and restrained and not take any moves to worsen the problem. China will remain in touch and coordinate with all sides.”
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland condemned the launch plan on Sunday as a provocative threat to the Asia-Pacific region. [Reuters]
You can read more at the link and I recommend checking out 38North that has a really good posting that provides an imagery analysis of the launch preparations being taken by the North Koreans.
The fact that they are causing a provocation now may mean they would prefer to have Park Geun-hye as ROK President. I just do not see how North Korea acting up now helps her liberal challenger Moon Jae-in? He is already on record as saying he would pretty much re-implement the failed Sunshine Policy with North Korea and this provocation is going to remind voters of its failure to modify the North Koreans behavior. In fact Park Geun-hye could probably make an argument that the North Korean’s rocket program was funded by Sunshine Policy money.
So why would the North Koreans be looking to negatively impact a South Korean liberal candidate? I think it could be because the North Korean regime feels that right now they need a leader in South Korea that they can mount a massive domestic propaganda campaign against to rally the people around the current Kim Jong-un regime. Park Geun-hye is the daughter of Park Chung-hee who is surely remembered in North Korea quite negatively and an internal propaganda campaign against her in North Korea should be quite effective.