North Korea's Taepodong-II is an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It was first tested successfuly in 2006, and again in 2009 to launch a satellite into space.
Despite pressure from its allies and promises of backlash from detractors against the 2009 test, it went ahead anyway.
While shortly after the launch the North Korean government issued a statement saying the satellite deployment was a success and that the satellite was broadcasting North Korean songs from space to earth, it was clear to other nations that the satellite was simply not there. it is widely accepted that the missile failed to reach orbit and its payload fell into the pacific ocean.
because of the criticism of the launch from many nations, North Korea threatened to pull out of six-country talks of nuclear disarmament and vowed it would continue its nuclear program.
while deemed a "nuclear power" of the world, it has yet to be seen if north korea actually harbors any nuclear weapons. there is one functioning north korean nuclear reactor, which was originally going to be dismantled completely in return for aid.
like many leaders of small nations, Kim Jong Il believes it is his country's right to defend itself and develop nuclear technology and weapons. the United States - a nation with nearly ten thousand nuclear warheads - disagrees.
here Kim Jong Il hugs a taepodong-II missile on a mountain watching the sunset. in many north korean propaganda paintings, Kim Jong Il and his father are often portrayed on the tops of mountains. North Korean legend says that Kim Jong Il was born on Mount Baekdu - the iconic mountain of North Korea.
Soviet records indicate he was born in a small fishing village in the USSR a year later.