North Korean officials confirmed on February 24 that their country is making preparations to launch a communications satellite, a move that would also constitute a new test of North Korean missile capabilities.
The DNI Open Source Center recently reviewed indications in the North Korean press (pdf) that preparations for a new missile test might be underway. The OSC analysis (which pre-dated the official government confirmation of the test plans) also ventured an interpretation of the meaning of such a test.
“Almost certainly aware that a launch would be seen by the international community as provocative, Pyongyang appears to be deliberately raising the stakes, possibly the result of a calculus that envisions making headway in bilateral negotiations if it could present itself as an equal partner,” the OSC analysis said.
The OSC document has not been approved for public release, but a copy was obtained by Secrecy News. See “Analysis: North Korean Media Campaign Signals Possible Near-Term Launch,” February 11, 2009.