Rocket Failure? Kim Jong Un Still Promoted

And North Korea re-confirms 'military-first' policy
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2012 6:32 AM CDT
Rocket Failure? Kim Jong Un Still Promoted
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left waves as North Korean military officers clap during a mass meeting of North Korea's ruling party at a stadium in Pyongyang.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

(Newser) – If at first you don't succeed, bomb, bomb again. In the wake of its failed rocket launch, North Korea is doubling down on its "military-first" policy, promoting 20-something Kim Jong Un to first secretary of the powerful National Defense Commission—that officially makes him the country's leader, reports the AP. In a special session yesterday, North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly also promoted several younger leaders in the National Defense Commission and dedicated 15.8% of the national budget to the military—about the same as the last two years.

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As for what went wrong with the missile: Despite using similar designs as Iran, which successfully put a satellite into orbit in 2009, North Korea continues to struggle with its missiles, suggesting quality control problems, says the New York Times. “Their overall design seems to make sense,” said one scientist. “But mundane sorts of things might get in the way, such as welding.” In the meantime, the South Korean navy sent about 10 ships into the Yellow Sea to look for debris from the North's rocket, reports the AP. Korea expert Aidan Foster-Carter notes in the Telegraph that North Korea's last two missile tests were soon followed by nuclear tests. "This could well be third time unlucky." (Read more Kim Jong Un stories.)

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