Should North Korea’s surprise rocket launch raise concerns over security in the region?


Raheem Kassam

There is no doubt that North Korea’s test will terrify the people of South Korea as well as other nations in the region. The West will not only be concerned by the threats and strains created by an emboldened North Korea, but also by the reaction of its partners. Over the past few years, North Korea and Iran have stepped up their co-operation and interdependence over their respective nuclear programmes. This was made all the more clear by Iran’s congratulatory remarks to North Korea yesterday. Their alliance threatens the West and its allies – not just militarily or territorially, but economically also. The British defence secretary Philip Hammond noted last week that an attack on Iran could drive oil prices up and threaten our economic recovery. As the situation stands, Iran holds many cards in the region already. Both of these tyrannies must be confronted.

Raheem Kassam works at the Henry Jackson Society.


Ashvin Patel

North Korea’s provocative rocket launch should not create global panic. Instead, it will most likely serve to bolster the regime of its young leader Kim Jong-Un, especially as the test occurred close to the anniversary of the death of his father and former leader Kim Jong-Il. But despite the recent launch, North Korea’s missile ambitions are still some time away from fruition, and some distance away from being technologically proven and tested. The development of a functioning miniature nuclear warhead would require continued nuclear tests, which would further expose North Korea’s secretive actions to international scrutiny. The US and Europe are continuing to develop a credible deterrent capability, through a multilayered and flexible missile defence architecture, which could be reconfigured to intercept long-range North Korean missiles.

Ashvin Patel is project manager at the Royal United Services Institute.