Analysis: North Korea's Missile Launch

Professor Kim Tae-woo Dongguk, an expert on North Korea, joins anchor Mitsuko Nishikawa in the studio from Seoul.

Nishikawa: The North launched the missile while the leaders of Japan and the US were meeting in Florida. Why did officials in Pyongyang choose this timing?

Kim: For Pyongyang regime, shooting missile at this timing might be a difficult decision after some hesitation as it had both reasons to shoot and not to shoot. Kim Jong Un had to do something in order to celebrate his father's birth day on Thursday, and more importantly, to support his big talk in his new year address to continue nuclear weapon advancement and not to submit to the international sanction. Also, the regime may have wanted to shout "I am here, look at me" by aiming at the President Trump's first summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Nishikawa: What kind of impact did the North expect from launching this medium-range missile?

Kim: North Korea is telling that missile can brutalize South Korea's capital area and that solid-fuel missiles could neutralize both the U.S.-South Korea pre-emptive capabilities and their defense systems as that kind of missile is difficult to detect these moves. Pyongyang regime once again reconfirmed its threatening capability against South Korea while challenging the security collaboration between the U.S. and Asian allies.

Nishikawa: We've just hear that the UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting. What do you think will come of the meeting?

Kim: I think the UN Security Council will repeat strong warning but cannot adopt another resolution. Personally, I expect another warning will be the form of chairperson's statement. Launch of a medium-range missile, not on ICBM maybe reflected of maybe Pyongyang's precautions not to provoke Trump too much this time. Then China is not likely to accomodate with a new resolution.

Nishikawa: What do you think North Korea's next move will be, and is there a possibility it will be an ICBM test-launch?

Kim: Pyongyang knows its missiles launch will bring about complicated repercussions. It will strengthen U.S. alliance with Japan and South Korea. These developments will never stop Pyongyang's die-hard nuclear and missile ambition. Pyongyang will continue preparing for an ICBM launch next time.