North Korea's Continuous Provocations

July 17, 2017

North Korea's continuous provocative behavior has heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and caused alarm throughout Northeast Asia and beyond. Most recently, Pyongyang sent a signal to Washington by launching a missile on the U.S. Independence Day holiday that appears to have been an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching Alaska but not the contiguous United States.

This provocation is the latest in a string of destabilizing actions that include missile tests and the development of nuclear weapons. The seriousness of North Korea's bad behavior was summed up by Secretary of Defense James Mattis when he testified before the House Armed Services Committee that North Korea was "the most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security."

In this briefing, RAND researcher Bruce Bennett will discuss

  • North Korea's nuclear and missile programs
  • China's role on the Korean Peninsula
  • implications for U.S. policy.