As North Korea Moves Forward With Missile Development, Talks With US At A Standstill

North Korea Moving Forward On ICBM Development
Many analysts agree North Korea is making headway in its development of an intercontinental ballistic weapon, there is not so much agreement over how much Rachel Oswald writes in Defense One.

Jeffrey Lewis, an Asian analyst with the James Martin Center, and John Schilling, an engineer with the Aerospace Corporation, write in a new analysis that the rogue nation is developing an ICBM using solely North Korean technology.

The authors write on the website of the Johns Hopkins University’s US-Korea Institute concur in large part with their analysis. The report contends even if the missile mockups are fakes, they are indicative of North Koreas ability to “produce missiles with theoretical ranges from 5,500 to over 11,000 kilometers,” a range which is large enough to reach mainland US.

The report comes after satellite imagery showed signs of efforts by North Korea to upgrade its main launch facility.

However, German engineer Markus Schiller is more skeptical of how far they have advanced, saying, “If you look at their past records of rocket work, it could be that they are working on a rocket design but it could be 20 years before we see something fly.”

Whether real or fake Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the US Pacific Command, contends the United States is capable of countering any North Korean threat.

“Whether they [ballistic missiles] are real or not, or whether they have the capability or not, North Korean regime wants us to think they do and so we plan for that,” said Adm. Locklear.

Stephen Soesanto, non-resident James A. Kelly Fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS, notes that US-North Korea relations are presently at a standstill with little movement on either side toward reopening negotiations.

“While there is a reasonable consensus within the Obama administration to avoid repeating the mistakes of the Six-Party Talks, there is also currently no political incentive within Washington to make any concessions towards Pyongyang.  At this critical juncture in time, nobody is going anywhere,” he writes in The Hill.


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