North Korea: Launch or Lunch?

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Kim Jong-un, center with head down, visits a military school in Pyongyang to celebrate the lunar New Year.

The Pentagon made it clear Wednesday: North Korea’s plan for a missile launch next month has led the U.S. to suspend its plans to provide food to North Korea’s starving millions.

“Our suspicions…were confirmed when North Korea announced on March 16 that it plans to conduct a missile launch between April 12th and 16,” Peter Lavoy, the Pentagon’s top Asian official, told the House Armed Services Committee. The action “is highly provocative, because it manifests North Korea’s desire to test and expand its long-range missile capability.”

Washington and Pyongyang discussed food aid in February, after the World Food Program said up to 3 million North Koreans were at risk of starvation. Lavoy said the U.S. was explicit that a satellite launch would kill the aid. It’s a safe bet that the unsvelte Kim Jong-un won’t be harmed by the food cutoff. The launch of what North Korea claims will be a Kwangmyongsong-3 polar-orbiting Earth observation satellite is designed to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of his grandfather, NoKo founder Kim Il Sung.

Interestingly, Iran is buying wheat from the U.S. Apparently, we’ll sell you food if you’re part of the Axis of Evil, just not give it away. Wonder if stomachs can tell the difference?