A Direct Challenge

  • Three, Two, One … Launch: North Korea is preparing to launch a long-range Taepo Dong-2 missile in early April, capable of hitting targets in the western United States.
  • A Continuing Threat: A 2001 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate assessed a two-stage Taepo Dong-2 could threaten Alaska, Hawaii, and the western United States while a three-stage missile could threaten all of North America with a nuclear warhead.
  • Civilian Satellite? North Korea is characterizing the launch as a civilian satellite to minimize negative repercussion from its provocative act. However, mastering the difficult multi-stage capabilities of a satellite launch and a ballistic missile are technologically identical. The same missile that can launch a satellite can launch a nuclear warhead.
  • Threat to International Community: North Korea’s defiance represents the first foreign policy test of whether the Obama Administration’s actions will match its strong rhetoric.
  • United Nations: U.N. Resolutions 1695 and 1718 unambiguously prohibit Pyongyang from launching a missile or “satellite.” China and Russia may use the “civilian satellite” argument to justify resistance to a strong Security Council response.

Deserves a Direct Response

  • Strong Signal: The United States must demonstrate that Pyongyang cannot continue to benefit from brinkmanship and military threats.
  • Sanctions: The Obama Administration must demand that all U.N. member nations fully implement the existing sanctions of U.N. Resolutions 1695 and 1718.
  • New Resolution: The Obama Administration must demand a firmer, follow-on U.N. Security Council resolution that imposes punitive measures as well as a deadline for compliance.
  • Enforcement: The United States must resume enforcing U.S. and international laws against North Korea for illicit activities such as currency counterfeiting, money laundering, production and distribution of illegal drugs, and counterfeit pharmaceuticals.
  • Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI): The U.S. must urge South Korea and China to join PSI to better defend against North Korean proliferation of missile- and WMD-related technology and components.

Missile Defense

  • Continued Development and Deployment: The United States cannot afford to stall its missile defense deployment. It must augment deployment of existing systems and continue development of enhanced missile defense capabilities.
  • South Korean Missile Defense: President Obama should call on South Korea to deploy a multi-layered missile defense system that is interoperable with a U.S. regional missile network.
  • 33 Minutes: The truth is brutal – No matter where on Earth a missile is launched from, it would take 33 minutes or less to hit the U.S. target it was programmed to destroy. President Obama must invest in a strategic missile defense system that is proven, capable, and affordable.