Substance of North Korea's military threats and the security environment in Northeast Asia

Koo Sub Kim
September 2009
Korean Journal of Defense Analysis;Sep2009, Vol. 21 Issue 3, p239
Academic Journal
Despite continued strains on its economy, North Korea has yet to relinquish its nuclear weapons program. Coupled with such unwavering determination and tangible actions in the form of nuclear and missile tests, the perception that North Korea is only a threat within the region of the Korean peninsula and its immediate vicinity is antiquated. In fact, given the possibilities of North Korea exporting its missile or nuclear weapons technology to states such as Syria and Iran, ignoring the implications of the security threat posed by Pyongyang as global in scope would be committing a dangerous fallacy. Without exaggerating the threat through ulterior motives far removed from pursuing peace and stability in the region, one needs to set concrete principles on which to base a coherent policy toward North Korea. This would mean correctly identifying the threat from North Korea's arsenals, as well as departing from a highly paternalistic view of the North that only seeks to make Seoul more vulnerable to the security threat. In particular, coordinated bilateral cooperation between the respective administrations of Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Barack Obama may act as an auspicious harbinger to the possible resolution of the North Korean security threat.


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