Another missile from N Korea soared over Japan causing perturbations in Japan, South Korea, and the United States. There will be more sanctions, warnings, and threats of war. However, the action does not support the North Korean cause.

Another missile is fired

North Korea shot off another ballistic missile that rocketed over Japan. The missile can hurl nuclear warheads and has a range of 3,700 km. The purpose was to test, challenge, and provoke. The missile achieved the most efficient trajectory that maximized the missile’s range. The launch has clarified that UN sanctions will not deter the country from missile or nuclear bomb tests.

Neither Japan nor the United States attempted to intercept the missiles. This exposes the weak underbelly of Japanese and United States missile defense system. One argument is that interception of this missile would have been a stronger deterrent than any economic sanctions. At the same time, North Korea may not achieve much with the test.

The test will be punished

The action of North Korea faces negative outcomes. The UN Security Council will impose even stronger economic sanctions. The economy and the livelihood of North Korean people are likely to be hurt. Still, North Korea persists with its tests. This is an action pattern in which a country or a regime that is faced with increasingly negative outcomes from past decisions continues to use the same actions rather than alter course.

North Korea continues actions that are illogical but align with the previous missile and bomb tests. What is the justification of further missile tests, provocation, and belligerence in face of crippling costs to the country’s economy and people’s incomes? The cost of past tests, losses because of embargoes, and UN resolutions are used to justify further missile tests.

Once a large number of tests are carried out by the country, it will face heavy economic losses and deprivation because of escalating sanctions. What North Korea has done is to start an irreversible series of actions.

How do these further the goals of the country?

The goals of N. Korea are entirely different from what it is achieving through missile tests.

It wants friendly neighbors; instead it has surrounded itself with hostile countries. The citizens of N. Korea want unification with those of Japan; instead it has straddled itself with alienation. It also wants a strong economy but economic embargo has harmed its economy. The citizens want survival, but these tests have put the very survival of the country under a cloud.