North Korea Situation Different, but Probably Domestic

Apr 12, 2013

A North Korean soldier stands near the Demilitarized Zone - 2008
Credit yeowatzup / Flickr

The White House is trying to tamp down concern over a new intelligence report showing North Korea could arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead.

The Defense Intelligence Agency says in a newly revealed report that it has "moderate confidence'' that North Korea knows how to deliver a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile.

“The United States seems to be taking this a little bit differently as we're thinking about the deliverance capabilities of these nuclear missiles that we've started to see tested,” says Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the University of Oklahoma College of International Studies and a regular contributor to KGOU’s World Views.

“But we also have to keep in mind that he has a domestic situation that he's needing to deal with, and this kind of ‘rally around the flag’ or finding a common enemy could his attempt to really garner support inside his country,” Cruise says.

World Views host Suzette Grillot agreed, and says the domestic situation in the reclusive nation has been largely ignored as rhetoric and tensions heighten.

“We can't forget that North Korea is still a very poor country. There is a very small elite - some call it the Selectorate’,” Grillot says.

Cruise also says the situation is refocusing attention on last year’s cooled “Asia Pivot” as the U.S. gets more involved in the Far East.

"I think the key player to watch is China," Cruise says. "What is China going to do about all this?"