North Korea Missile Threat: Will Washington Blink?
A Direct Challenge
- Three, Two, One...Launch: North Korea is preparing to
launch a long-range Taepo Dong-2 missile in early April, capable of
hitting targets in the western United States.
- A Continuing Threat: A 2001 U.S. National Intelligence
Estimate assessed a two-stage Taepo Dong-2 could threaten Alaska,
Hawaii, and the western United States while a threestage missile
could threaten all of North America with a nuclear warhead.
- Civilian Satellite? North Korea is characterizing the
launch as a civilian satellite to minimize negative repercussions
from its provocative act. However, mastering the difficult
multistage capabilities of a satellite launch and a ballistic
missile are technologically identical. The same missile that can
launch a satellite can launch a nuclear warhead.
Threat to International Community: North Korea's
defiance represents the first foreign policy test of whether the
Obama Administration's actions will match its strong rhetoric.
- United Nations: U.N. Resolutions 1695 and 1718
unambiguously prohibit Pyongyang from launching a missile or
"satellite." China and Russia may use the "civilian satellite"
argument to justify resistance to a strong Security Council
Deserves a Direct Response
- Strong Signal: The United States must demonstrate that
Pyongyang cannot continue to benefit from brinkmanship and military
- Sanctions: The Obama Administration must demand that all
U.N. member nations fully implement the existing sanctions of U.N.
Resolutions 1695 and 1718.
- New Resolution: The Obama Administration must demand a
firmer, follow-on U.N. Security Council resolution that imposes
punitive measures as well as a deadline for compliance.
- Enforcement: The United States must resume enforcing
U.S. and international laws against North Korea for illicit
activities such as currency counterfeiting, money laundering,
production and distribution of illegal drugs, and production of
- Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI): The U.S. must
urge South Korea and China to join PSI to better defend against
North Korean proliferation of missile- and WMD-related technology
- Continued Development and Deployment: The United States
cannot afford to stall its missile defense deployment. It must
augment deployment of existing systems and continue development of
enhanced missile defense capabilities.
- South Korean Missile Defense: President Obama should
call on South Korea to deploy a multi-layered missile defense
system that is interoperable with a U.S. regional missile
- 33 Minutes: The truth is brutal--no matter where on
Earth a missile is launched from, it would take 33 minutes or less
to hit the U.S. target it was programmed to destroy. President
Obama must invest in a strategic missile defense system that is
proven, capable, and affordable.
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