Center for Strategic and International Studies looks at North Korea's "successful" missile launch. What exactly is a successful launch and how has the US responded and how should they respond? Below is an excerpt:
Q1: What does a successful launch mean?
A1: DPRK has developed the ballistic missile launch technology to fly a missile possibly 4,000 to 6,000 kilometers.
DPRK could sell this technology to others, including Iran and Pakistan, who have been regular customers of North Korea’s other missiles (Scud, Nodong, Musudan).
The North has crossed a major threshold in terms of mating an ICBM with a nuclear weapon. They still have other technological thresholds to cross (miniaturized warheads, reentry vehicle), but this was undeniably a major one.
The North can claim to have accomplished something the richer and more technologically advanced South Koreans could not yet do (putting a satellite in orbit on their own).
This successful launch probably helps the young leader Kim Jong-un with his domestic credibility after the failed test in April.
Q2: What is the U.S. response?
A2: Thus far, the administration has made a brief statement condemning the launch. There has been no statement from the president either before or after the launch. The United States is not downplaying the test, but Washington is not giving it a high profile like the president’s strong statements last week to deter possible chemical weapons use by Syria.
There has been an unspoken tendency in the United States to discount these tests as yet another foolish attempt by the technologically backward and bizarre country. This is no longer acceptable. The apparent success of this test makes North Korea one of the only non-allied countries outside of China and the Soviet Union to develop long-range missile technology that could potentially reach the United States.
Washington will go back to the UN Security Council for sanctions as we have done after every North Korean missile test—the question is, will the United States do something else given the new strategic threat posed by the North, or will we wait for them to cross the next threshold to becoming a full-fledged nuclear threat to the U.S. homeland?
Read it all here.