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Kim Jong-un and North Korea Now a Bigger Threat Than Ever

On July 4, North Korea test-launched an ICBM, in defiance of the world. The test raised speculation that the country is now capable of delivering a nuclear weapon to places as distant as Alaska and northern Australia.

New York-based political analyst and Asian specialist Sean King said of the event, “Yesterday’s launch, a truly successful ICBM launch or not, is a long-overdue wakeup call that’s been decades in the making.

“Not enough of us have…taken North Korea as seriously as we should, as we haven’t always understood the Kim regime for the evil ultranationalist cult and global organized crime network that it is,” King added, noting that the U.S. Cold War playbook doesn’t apply here, since “Kim’s inner circle won’t even listen to friends like Moscow and Beijing.”

King said the Cuban missile crisis was a major turning point in this regard because then-North Korean leader Kim Il-sung saw Russia as having sold out Cuba. “Hence Pyongang’s long craved its own nuclear arsenal, so as to never have to rely on others for its survival and pursuit of Korean unification on its terms,” King stated.

Other analysts believe that the world’s governments have taken the North Korea issue seriously. Brendan Thomas-Noone, a research fellow at the University of Sydney, said it really comes down to how hard the issue is to solve, particularly because governments have found it easier to wait for the Kim regime to collapse or for North Korea to come back to the negotiating table.

That would, however, require sanctions and international pressure, and some countries just don’t have the resources or political will to enforce sanctions against North Korea.

Although many expressed doubts over the pace and capabilities of the DPRK’s program, the launch marks a triumph for North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong-un. The missile flew for almost 1,000 kilometers and landed in Japanese waters. David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote that available figures implied the missile had “a maximum range of roughly 6,700 km on a standard trajectory.”

 

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