Pyongyang Claims Hydrogen Bomb Test

By Thomas Cynkin

Dr. Thomas Cynkin is Vice President at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School, and Adjunct Professor of Economics at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.  Cynkin previously headed the Washington Office of Fujitsu Ltd. as Vice President and General Manager.  A former Foreign Service Officer, he served seven years as a Japanese-speaking diplomat in Japan, and was the Asian affairs advisor to two Deputy Secretaries of State and two US Ambassadors to the UN.

North Korea tested what was initially announced by Pyongyang to be a hydrogen bomb on Wednesday, though the Obama Administration is skeptical.    White House Spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters, “the initial analysis is not consistent with North Korean claims of a successful hydrogen bomb test.”   Still, Pyongyang’s announcement has serious repercussions for regional and global stability. China, North Korea’s only semblance of a friend in the region, “firmly opposed” the nuclear test.  How Beijing and the international community responds to the latest nuclear test, remains the key issue at hand. Thomas Cynkin, a former diplomat and former head of the Washington office of Fujitsu Ltd., discusses what the nuclear test means for East Asia.

North Korea gets exactly what it wants out of its nuclear tests, which it trumpets to the world: attention from the U.S. and other major players, and renewed discussion within the international community about how best to deal with, or even accommodate, North Korea.  Arguably, North Korea may even see a positive side to resultant increased isolation, given its desire to maintain “Hermit Kingdom” status and keep North Koreans insulated from “corrupting” foreign influences.  Under the circumstances, other than China, members of the international community have little leverage with North Korea in the short term.

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