“ROCKET ROIDS”—After two failed launches this year, North Korea set a new personal best by successfully “heaving” a spy satellite into orbit. South Korean lawmakers, likely perturbed by the North’s success, have cried foul, suspecting illegal military dealings with Russia. In September, Vladimir Putin promised Kim Jong Un support building satellites as both countries shored up relations in the midst of mounting geopolitical tensions. The Kremlin, for its part, has denied these allegations, just as it had those made by the International Olympic Committee regarding the state sponsorship of performance enhancing drugs (Russia was subsequently banned from the Olympics for four years beginning in 2020).
Ultimately, one can’t help wondering at the mental gymnastics required to reconcile Russian assistance with the North’s Juche ideology of self-reliance. For now, Kim is making gains and looking swole; only time will tell what the cost of cutting corners will be.
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