North Korea in a new era of US-South Korea partnership
State, society, and markets in North Korea
A conversation with HASC Chairman Adam Smith
North Korea’s staunch defense of Russia is unsurprising given that the regime will use any opportunity to pinpoint global problems to U.S. imperialism. [But] ironically, North Korea, which often justifies its nuclear weapons program as a matter of security and sovereignty, has dismissed Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty.
[In response to North Korea's latest missile launches.] Nothing we say or do is going to affect Pyongyang’s game plan. The most important thing to do now is to ramp up the diplomatic, economic, and military pressure and ensure that North Korea pays a major price for its actions.
Under President-elect Yoon's [administration], the United States and South Korea are likely to find themselves on the same page more often than in the recent past on a range of issues including the best strategy for dealing with North Korea.
While there’s some debate about the precise state of North Korea’s missile capabilities, including the new hypersonic missile it claims to have tested, what is clear is that North Korea’s continued advancement of its nuclear and missile programs are exacerbating the security dilemma in the region. Because diplomacy has failed thus far to restrain Pyongyang, Northeast Asian states, especially South Korea and Japan, feel as if they have no other choice but to increase their own military capabilities and joint capabilities with the United States to deter, or in the worst case, preempt, a North Korean attack. Beijing, however, claims these moves shift the military balance in the region in a way that threatens its own security, and that it must continue to advance its own strategic capabilities in response. In sum, North Korea’s ever-advancing missile and nuclear programs are creating major ripple effects on the region.
Pyongyang is likely to continue to make choices driven chiefly by its own interests and strategic timetables. China has never been able to dictate North Korea’s actions.