Missile Defense: Blocking Threats or Blocking Diplomacy?

North Korea’s latest test on Sunday of a nuclear capable Pukguksong-2 intermediate range ballistic missile displayed its inexorable advance in acquiring missile technology.  The test disrupted a dinner between President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and has earned North Korea further rebuke not only from the United States and Japan, but also South Korea and China.  And the UN may levy more sanctions on Pyongyang.

North Korea has become the first national security test of Trump’s presidency. The overall threat posed by North Korea has prompted the U.S. to deploy missile defense systems, including the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in Asia. The fear of Iranian missiles has garnered similar deployments across Europe. While the deployment of these defensive systems by the U.S. is meant to defend specifically against nuclear tipped missiles, they can also be disruptive to regional stability and obstruct diplomacy.

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