North Korea's plans to test a long-range missile

Thursday, June 22, 2006

North Korea's plans to test fire a long-range missile are merely the latest efforts of the country to assert itself regionally and internationally, but the plans bring up questions about a new U.S. missile defense system designed to protect against such a threat, according to the director of the Military History Center at the University of North Texas.

Dr. Geoffrey Wawro says U.S. military forces should be wary of the missile test fire because North Korea "is a rogue nation craving attention."

"It is unable to get it any other way because of its poverty and relative insignificance," says Wawro, a former professor of strategic studies at the Naval War College and host of four programs on the History Channel. "However, this needs to be placed in perspective alongside the other threats facing the United States."

Wawro says Kim Jong-Il, supreme commander of the North Korean military and the most powerful person in the country's government, is upset about being marginalized by the United States, explaining that since the U.S. has engaged Iran with direct talks over that country's nuclear program, the North Korean regime wants the same.

"They have one little lever they can use as a negotiating tool, and that is the missile," he says.

Wawro points out other talks with North Korea have brought in other nations, including South Korea, China, and Japan.

He adds that the North Korean government has manipulated its people so they are incapable of rising up against it. And because the country's domestic economy is in a shambles, it is incapable of making multiple long-range missiles, he says.

"Even if the missile test is successful, North Korea won't be deploying dozens of these missiles; they can't afford it. They are trying to build a credible threat, and there is always the threat that they could sell this technology to a terrorist group," Wawro says.

U.S. officials have said the nation is ready to respond to the potential North Korean launch with a ground-based missile interceptor system. The program was a key component of President Bush's 2000 election campaign, but Wawro says questions remain as to its effectiveness.

"Nobody knows exactly how the missile defense system will work in a practical sense. The technology is new, and it's somewhat sketchy. In the final analysis, it's the last-ditch tool in the toolbox to deal with this," he says.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

Category:

Latest News

Scott Dikkers
Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Scott Dikkers, founding editor of the satirical publication The Onion, presents "Funny Story Behind the Funny Stories," part of the 2014-15 Mary Jo and V. Lane Rawlins Fine Arts Series, at the University of North Texas.

Mike Campbell
Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Teachers and instructors of survey-level college courses will learn how to use stories about world leaders to interest their students in history during the University of North Texas' annual Teaching of History Conference Sept. 20 (Saturday).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The University of North Texas Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism has awarded $140,000 in scholarships to students for the 2014-2015 year.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gary Webb and Nicole Dash have received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study disaster preparedness among Native American communities -- a historically underrepresented population in the field of emergency preparedness research in the United States.

Union construction
Thursday, August 28, 2014

UNT will celebrate the placement of the highest steel beam at a topping off ceremony on the UNT Library Mall.