US knew of DPRK satellite launch before it signed the 29 February agreement with North Korea

The cat’s out of the bag: the US did know of North Korea’s intention of launching a satellite in mid April, to commemorate its founder Kim Il Sung’s centenary.

Gassy Evans Revere gave the game away during an interview with NPR’s Mike Shuster on 23 February 2012. He plainly stated that in discussions with North Koreans, the Americans had been told of the DPRK’s intention of sending a satellite into space.

The US tried to dissuade the North Koreans, but in the end demurred and went on to sign the 29 February 2012 agreement whereby in exchange for 240.000 tonnes of powdered milk and high energy chocolate bars, Pyongyang would stay its nuclear and long range missile testing. The accord remained silent on the matter of satellites, however.

Will the US make hay out the North Korean satellite issue at next week’s World Nuclear Conference in Seoul? If it does and delays the delivery of food or even scuppers the 29 February agreement, it is an indication that the Obama administration, at heart, was not serious in talking to the DPRK.

Revere is a former high ranking diplomat specialising in northeast Asia. More recently, he was president of the New York based Korea Society and presenter of the CFR’s special report on Korea; he is an advocate of rolling back North Korea to the point of collapse.

Today, Revere is a senior member of Madeleine Albright’s Washington think tank, and advises government, military, and business on matters dealing with Korea, Japan, and China.

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