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News Tip: North Korea Nuclear Test a Symbolic Move

News Tip: North Korea Nuclear Test a Symbolic Move

A Duke professor says North Korea's imminent nuclear missile launch is a largely symbolic move designed to shore up internal support.

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Durham, NC - North Korea's plan to test a third nuclear missile later this week is an attempt to curry favor internally. It won't change much on the international stage, Duke expert says.

Hwansoo Kim
Professor of religion and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University
Kim teaches courses on Buddhism and Korean religion and culture.

"The missile launch is symbolic, domestically and internationally, in that it will prove the splendid accomplishment of North Korea's supreme leader. Such a demonstration helps to minimize internal threats while serving as a warning to other countries, especially the U.S.

"A successful launch won't fundamentally change the dynamics between North Korea and its neighbors. China will continue to be frustrated without doing much about it. Japan will use this case to renew the long debate on reversing Article 9 of its own constitution, which prohibits Japan from engaging in an act of war to defend itself.

"The U.S. will have to find another way to bring North Korea back to the negotiation table, and South Korea will have to deal with whatever diplomatic mess is created as a result of the launch." 

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