North Korea demonstrated its new intercontinental ballistic missile capability over the weekend. It launched a guided missile with a range of at least 3,400 miles. It landed in the Sea of Japan. Experts say such a missile could reach Alaska, but North Korea does not yet have the capability to arm one with a nuclear warhead.
William Inboden is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs and executive director of the university’s Clements Center for National Security. He served as senior director for strategic planning on the National Security Council at the White House under President George W. Bush. He says North Korea’s new missile technology is a game-changer.
“The key distinction here is now, for the first time, North Korea seems to have developed a missile capability that could directly hit parts of the United States,” he says.
Inboden says there are no good options to deal with the missile threat, particularly because traditional tools of statecraft like sanctions or military threats are less effective with North Korea.
President Donald Trump heads to the G-20 meeting this week in Germany; Inboden says leaders will likely discuss North Korea but it won’t be at the top of the agenda.
“The G-20 already had a very crowded agenda with a lot of other major international issues and so I think it’s gonna be hard for the North Korea challenge to get all the attention it might deserve,” he says.
Written by Caroline Covington.