[Letters] Pyongyang’s deceitful nuclear ambitions backfire

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[Letters] Pyongyang’s deceitful nuclear ambitions backfire

The North Korean government deliberately used its state machinery (the Korean Space Technology Committee and Korean Central News Agency) to deceive the international community about its true intentions with respect to the latest rocket launch. Evidently, its earlier public announcements about “technical problems” and “extension of the launch period until Dec. 29” were part of the deliberate campaign to mislead the world, to lull it into complacency, and present it with the fait accompli.

By skirting international rules, Pyongyang achieved a tactical success to the surprise of many. But the long-term price it will have to pay will be enormous: its young leadership lost significant credibility, especially with respect to its claims about the so-called peaceful nature of its space program, because of its deliberate deception campaign.

Whatever goodwill they had in the international community is now gone, and they have unleashed a deterrent force beyond their imagination. The new Kim regime may be proud of its tactical victory now and, no doubt, will use the results of today’s missile test to boost its domestic legitimacy and international bargaining power, especially in inter-Korean relations. But from now on, the world will always scrutinize with a great deal of suspicion everything Pyongyang says or does, presuming it is a deliberate effort to mislead and cheat.

Make no mistake about it: the United States will stand together with its allies in South Korea and Japan as they come to grips with the shock of today’s successful launch of Unha-3. This highly provocative act will strengthen our resolve and remind us all of the danger of complacency during Pyongyang’s decades-long drive to obtain nuclear weapons with inter-continental ballistic missile capability to deliver them.

by Alexandre Y. Mansourov Ph.D. Visiting scholar at U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University in Washington
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