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North Korea

Belligerence as strategy: Pyongyang and its provocations

In Japan, the prime minister said North Korea would be committing a "grave, provocative act" if it followed through on plans to launch a long-range rocket. South Korea warned of "searing consequences" if the launch went ahead. Moscow and Washington, which rarely agree on much of anything these days, both denounced Pyongyang's plans. Even China, North Korea's closest ally, said it was worried.

But in the end, the international outrage didn't make any difference. On Sunday, Pyongyang launched its rocket — which it says was designed only to carry a satellite into orbit, but which much of the world insists was a camouflaged long-range missile test —...