Maybe everyone’s already talking about this, but I haven’t seen elsewhere the point that Bernard Finel makes in this post:
From the WaPo:
Pyongyang hoped to use the rocket, which carried a satellite for weather observation, as the centerpiece of a national holiday weekend to honor the birth centenary of the country’s founder, Kim Il Sung. The failure of the launch, which the North described to its people in a television announcement, could heighten problems for foreign policymakers by giving the North new incentive to overcome this embarrassment.
I am not a North Korea expert, but my jaw literally dropped when I read that. When is the last time North Korea announced ANY failure? Much less on TV to its own people.
I don’t know if this is a big deal, but from my perspective rather than dreaming up new ways to punish them for this failed test, I would be actively trying to figure out whether the announcement of failure means anything more about the new regime.
As Finel points out, this is not exactly Khrushchev’s Secret Speech here as far as Stalinist reform goes, but it sure seems to be something.