WASHINGTON, DC — February 12, 2017 — As reports roll in that North Korea has tested what appears to be an intermediate range ballistic missile, Harry J. Kazianis, Director of Defense Studies at the Center for the National Interest, the Washington, D.C. based think tanks that hosted Donald Trump for his first foreign policy address, offers the following remarks.
“One again, North Korea has provided clear evidence that its growing missile capabilities are a dangerous threat to the international community—and perhaps the first major test for the new Trump Administration.
“Over the last decade or so, Pyongyang has been working to develop a range of short, medium and long-range missiles with the capability to not only hit targets in South Korea and Japan but eventually the U.S. homeland.
“To make matters even worse—North Korea is desperate to arm such missiles with a nuclear warhead, the ultimate nightmare for the Asia-Pacific and the United States.
“And North Korea’s military capabilities don’t stop there. America and its allies must now come to the realization that Pyongyang’s missiles—soon or possibly already armed with nuclear warheads—as well as chemical and biological weapons, submarines, special forces and cyber capabilities are a threat to the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region.
“What the Trump administration must do is clear—take a firm line to ensure that Pyongyang’s aggressive actions are punished.
“First, Washington must speed the deployment of advanced missile defense systems—like THAAD—to South Korea and possibly even Japan. Our allies must know we will defend them from this threat and that we stand shoulder to shoulder with them.
“Second, we must put increasing pressure on China to reign in their rogue ally. As President Trump has said on numbers occasions, Beijing has enormous leverage over Pyongyang thanks to being one of its only trading partners and in fact could not survive without Chinese economic assistance. If China were to take a tougher line, North Korea would have no choice but to respond.
“Last, the Trump administration should consider increased military deployments to the Asia-Pacific to ensure North Korea’s actions are not left without a response. In the short term, a B-2 stealth bomber deployment to South Korea, for starters, would be an excellent signal that President Trump means business.”
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Harry J. Kazianis (@grecianformula) is director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, founded by former U.S. President Richard M. Nixon, and Executive Editor of its publishing arm, The National Interest. He also serves as fellow at both the Potomac Foundation and the Center for China Policy at the University of Nottingham (UK). He is the author of “The Tao of A2/AD: China’s Rationale for the Creation of Anti-Access”. In the past Kazianis has led the foreign policy communication efforts of the Heritage Foundation and served as editor-in-chief of The Diplomat and as a fellow at CSIS:PACNET based in Hawaii.
His work has been quoted by CNN, FT, CNBC, BBC, Bloomberg, Reuters, RollCall, The Hill, Slate, Foreign Policy, The Washington Times, The Daily Caller and many other outlets from across the political spectrum.