North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, center, watches flight training as he inspects the Korean People's Army Air Force Unit 814 at an unknown location in North Korea.
"Don't Play Nuclear Chicken with a Desperate Pariah"
Magazine or Newspaper Article, Foreign Policy
June 19, 2009
Author: Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
"In retaliation for tightened U.N. sanctions following North Korea's May 25 nuclear test and subsequent missile tests, Pyongyang defiantly upped the ante on Saturday, June 13. North Korea said it will move forward with its plans to build a nuclear arsenal, begin a program of uranium enrichment, and take 'resolute military actions' against the United States and its regional allies. Then on Thursday, June 18, news surfaced that the next missile test might be pointed toward Hawaii (the missiles in question don't have the range to actually reach the islands — only head that way). Pyongyang is also reportedly preparing another nuclear test.
This game of escalation will go on and on until North Korea gets what it desires most from Washington: a reliable security assurance. Of course, no one likes to yield to dictators. But ultimately, playing chicken with a desperate and nuclear-armed North Korea is too risky to endeavor. The more isolated the North Koreans become, the more likely they will be to use the nuclear card in threatening two hostages: South Korea and Japan. Everyone loses that game...."
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