North Korea's nuclear ambition carries a strategic and military logic

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nk missile test
A television shows breaking news about North Korea's long-range rocket launch in February 2016, Seoul, South Korea.
Photo credit: 
Getty Images - Han Myung-Gu

North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test in the wake of the G20 summit earlier this month. The United States immediately condemned North Korea’s behavior in a statement delivered by the White House, and a few days later, flew a set of bombers near the U.S. military base in Osan, South Korea.

Writing for Toyo KeizaiDaniel Sneider, associate director for research at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, said a consistent strategic and military reasoning drives the North Korean regime’s decision to test nuclear missiles. His analysis piece can be viewed in English and Japanese.

Sneider also spoke with Slate about how the next U.S. administration could respond, suggesting that a deployment of additional nuclear-capable aircraft at U.S. bases in Asia would send a strong signal to Pyongyang. The Slate article is available at this link.

South Korea has been seeking stronger international sanctions against North Korea since the test. As the country’s biggest trading partner, China is considered an important actor in the ability to influence North Korea. In the Korea Times, Sneider said a way to motivate China to augment their role in sanctions against North Korea is to remind Beijing that a continuation of North Korea's nuclear program would only lead to greater scale and capability of American military presence in the region. The Korea Times article is available at this link.