News

    Analysts: North Korea Situation Seen Spiraling Toward Nuclear Test

    North Korea’s decision last week to press ahead with a missile launch, despite international warnings, is raising tensions once again in the region.  Just months after becoming the country's new leader, Kim Jong Un faces a choice to either continue testing the will of the international community or take a different path.

    Massive celebrations Sunday in North Korea's capital, Pyongyang, marked the birthday of the reclusive country's founder, Kim Il Sung, and the beginning of a new rule under Kim Jong Un.

    For now, the young Kim appears to be moving in lock step with his late father, Kim Jong Il.  And after last week's missile launch there is growing concern a nuclear test could be next.

    "We have seen this pattern in the past, where they have a missile launch, the rest of the world has responded and rather than to compromise or to negotiate, the North has taken another provocative action and in several instances, in two instances the provocative action has been an attempt at a nuclear test," said former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

    Hayden says some believe the untested new leader's actions may be an attempt to show his strength.  But others say the missile launch -- just weeks after an announced agreement not to carry out such tests and to stop nuclear development in return for food aid -- may have been inevitable.

    "Both the missile test and the food aid from the United States were set in motion by Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il, and that Kim Jong Un is not yet quite strong enough in his own position to have turned off either since they were both started by his father," Hayden said.

    The United Nations has condemned the launch, and warned of further consequences if Pyongyang carries out another launch or a nuclear test.

    The situation appears to be slipping back into a cycle of what analysts say typically leads to more provocations from the North -- in the hope it can get more concessions during nuclear-development negotiations.

    But Victor Cha, who was White House Asian Affairs director during the George W. Bush administration, says the U.S is unlikely to show more patience with North Korea. “I think that they are just going to focus on sanctions, and counter proliferation and military exercising, essentially a containment strategy is where they are headed.  Certainly at least for the remainder of this administration," Cha said.

    With upcoming elections in the United States and South Korea, and a leadership change about to occur in China, analysts say domestic issues in those countries will have a higher priority than North Korea.

    "In today’s political environment I think it is very hard for any administration or any of the parties involved to really try something different. To try to break out of this sort of downward spiral that we've fallen into," Cha said.

    Analysts say it is clear there is little optimism for the situation to improve soon, especially in a year the North has aims to become a nuclear state.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jonathan Huang
    April 21, 2012 10:49 PM
    US didnt say single word to India's nuclear test and rocket launch but put all the sanction on NK. what a double standard.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.