More and more experts in Washington, D.C. agree that the short-range missile launched by North Korea on last Friday was indeed a missile.
“The first round of analysis showed the actual distance traveled by the North Korean projectile at 220 km and its maximum range at 450 kilometers,” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Project at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, in a phone interview with the Dong-A Ilbo Monday. He added that this was a very threatening short-range missile putting entire South Korea within its range. He was the expert who released satellite pictures of the smoke trail to CNN immediately after a rocket launch by North Korea and claimed, “all suggest this was the short-range ballistic missile.”
“The missile launched by the Soviet Union targeting the U.S. mainland (FF18) was also a surface-to-surface type,” said Director Lewis on the comment of the National Intelligence Service that the surface-to-surface type alone can’t prove whether it was intended for attack or defense. “It is crazy to claim that a short-range ballistic missile capable of reaching several hundreds of kilometers is not threatening.”
David Maxwell, a senior fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, mentioned three potential objectives that have prompted North Korea’s missile launch in an interview with the Dong-A Ilbo on the same day: 1) to test a new type of missiles; 2) to show a strong stance to the global community after the fallout of the U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi; 3) and to convey a message that North Korea can attack the U.S. military by launching a projectile capable of reaching Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek.
David Schmuller, a senior fellow at James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and Joshua Pollack, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, also said at the Radio Free Asia that this was clearly a missile taking into consideration various factors the presence of a guidance device, the shape of the launch pad, etc. It is now drawing attention whether a reignited hardline approach to sanctions on North Korea will lead to actual legislation. Republican Senator Pat Toomey tweeted, “North Korea isn't a good faith negotiator and we must step up the pressure.”