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


Latest News

Mariachi sheet music
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The internationally-renowned Mariachi Sol de Mexico — a Grammy-nominated ensemble —  will be the headline performer of the University of North Texas Mariachi Aguilitas Summer Camp, an annual week-long workshop that teaches musical skills to middle school and high school mariachi players.

Clifford Morrison
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

University of North Texas senior Clifford Morrison, of Hughes Springs, has received a $5,000 Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship for his first year of graduate school. Morrison is one of eight students from Texas colleges and universities to win a fellowship this year.

Eli Saslow
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

For the second year in a row, an article in The Washington Post by reporter Eli Saslow received the first place award in the Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest sponsored by the University of North Texas’ Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference.

Individual fibers for C-lignin-based carbon fiber
Monday, July 7, 2014

Researchers at the University of North Texas have created a new carbon fiber from plants that can replace common petroleum and coal-based products in wide range of goods including parts for cars, aircraft, electronics and sports equipment. The patent-pending carbon fiber also is stronger and lighter than similar products on the market. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Nationally known leaders in autism research will discuss the latest developments related to autism treatment at the 6th Annual Adventures in Autism Intervention and Research Conference, presented by the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center.