North Korea may hold off if Washington actively engages Pyongyang in dialogue and promises to ship stalled food assistance to the country, said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Seoul’s Dongguk University.
In February, the US agreed to provide 240,000 tonnes of food aid to North Korea in exchange for a freeze in nuclear and missile activities. The deal collapsed after North Korea attempted to launch a long-range rocket in April that broke up seconds after liftoff.
Analyst Baek Seung-joo of the South Korean state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in Seoul said China must have sent a “very strong” message calling for the North to cancel the launch plans.
“North Korea won’t say it would delay the launch due to foreign pressure so that’s why they say scientists and technicians are considering delaying it,” he said.