North Korea faces international sanctions after a May 2009 nuclear test and persistent missile launches in June and July 2009. In 2010, North Korea sparked concerns again with an attack on a South Korean ship. One explanation for the regime's erratic behavior is that the alleged stroke of the North Korean leader raised the possibility of a power struggle over his succession. Another theory is that North Korea resumed aggressive activities seeking international attention in the hopes of extracting future rewards for improved behavior. North Korea's intransigence has been interspersed with periods of apparent cooperation, during which it seeks concessions.
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