Last week North Korea conducted a nuclear test and fired at least five short-range missiles. This week the rogue nation may conduct a long-range missile test. Collective criticism against North Korea’s actions have been somewhat understated, which no doubt will embolden the country to continue testing and launching.
Last week U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said there is no crisis. Today he said “there were some signs” that North Korea will launch a Taepodong-2, which reportedly has a range of 6,200 miles. (Source) In 2006, North Korea test-launched a Taepodong-3 missile, which failed.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that Israel is concerned that North Korea’s defiance will encourage fellow rogue nation Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. Gerald Steinberg, a political science professor at Bar Ilan University, told the paper that if “the Americans can’t show credibility on North Korea, then they won’t be able to go far. It’s a thermometer. The US has been threatening to take action against North Korea since the 1990s and the North Korea has been able to buy time. The Israeli concern is that’s exactly what will happen with Iran.”
It’s anyone’s guess what the Obama administration will do about North Korea besides downplaying the crisis.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports on “tougher responses” from the U.S. and our allies in Asia if North Korea continues its nuclear program. Gates said “other steps may be considered” if North Korea doesn’t disarm. A Pentagon official said the U.S. preferred six party talks, but admitted that such talks haven’t been effective against the rogue nation.
FOX News has posted a transcript from Greta Van Susteren’s show “On the Record.” News anchor Martha MacCallum interviewed retired Major General Bob Scales on May 29. An excerpt:
“MACCALLUM: All right, so it would seem that North Korea is a bit peeved, to put it mildly, that South Korea has joined this initiative with the United States and that they have — and as part of that initiative, they have the right to stop a ship. So that says to me that North Korea really wants to get some things on ships out of there and perhaps sold to other countries. And they’re doing quite a bit of advertising lately, aren’t they.
“SCALES: Well, that’s exactly right. And one of the reasons they fired these missiles is to demonstrate to their allies, people like Iran and Syria, Yemen, and so forth, that they have the technological capability to do this because, you know, they make several hundred million dollars off of sales of missiles and missile parts every year. And it’s that money that then fuels their nuclear weapons development and their missile development. So they need this money to keep coming in, in order for them to keep producing these weapons.”