Korean affairs expert discusses North Korean missile test threat

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A report out of Washington D.C. Wednesday night says the U.S. military detected a failed North Korean missile launch Wednesday.

Columbus State University chose to host Korean Economic Institute Vice President Mark Tokola to talk on the global response to North Korea’s unsanctioned nuclear tests and missile launches.

He says the United States should be more worried about nuclear threats from North Korea than Iran.

“We have a deal with Iran now to cap their nuclear program.  North Korea is steaming ahead with its nuclear program so, that’s not a solved problem yet,” Tokola said.

He says North Korea is capable of attacking U.S. allies with nuclear weapons.

“They’re developing in nuclear weapon and nuclear missile policy that will be able to strike the US at some point unless you can stop the program,” Tokola said.

Tokola doesn’t think the outcome of the upcoming U.S. presidential election will have an effect on North Korea’s view towards America.

“I’m not sure North Korea sees our politics as being all that important for them.  Either way, we’re still the United States.  They see us as being a strong ally to South Korea.  It’ll stay that way so, I don’t think it matters to them who wins,” he said.

He also says North Korea has a horrible human rights record.

“The United Nations Commission of Inquiry found North Korea to be the world’s worst human rights abuser of any state.  We need to worry about North Korean people who are suffering in that regime,” Tokola explained.

He thinks America should continue to stand by its ally, South Korea.

“We have got 28,500 troops there.  We have a wonderful alliance in South Korea so, I think Americans should focus on the threat of North Korea, but they should focus on the strong alliance with the Republic of Korea, too,” he said.

Tokola advises that North Korea’s threat to the U.S. is more than just a nuclear threat.

“North Korea can engage in other threatening behavior like their cyber attacks.  In 2014, North Korea hacked into the Sony Pictures website and caused some real trouble.  They’re a menace,” he said.

A Pentagon spokesman says the U.S. condemns North Korea’s attempted missile launch Wednesday.  He adds the U.S. government plans to raise concerns with the United Nations.

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