North Korea's Missile Tests: Saber Rattling or Rocket's Red Glare
July 5, 2006
North Korea clearly chose the Fourth of July as a date it knew would irritate and provoke the U.S. and “show the world” it could not be intimidated by American demands to halt its tests. It benefited from the irony of a U.S. space launch on the same day, and the very different kind of fireworks that Americans use to celebrate their independence.
North Korea also knew that it was sending an even more direct signal to its neighbors: Japan and South Korea. It was showing that it could ignore their main military ally, and efforts at regional persuasion from both those states and China. It simultaneously put pressure on the U.S. to directly negotiate on North Korean terms and on the region to find compromises that suited North Korea.