North Korea

Why is North Korea Suddenly Launching So Many New Missile Tests?

North Korea has already launched more than six missile tests since the start of the new year.

Why is North Korea is suddenly launching so many new missile tests — and what can be done about?  Three experts weigh in:

Jeffrey Lewis is a Professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterrey and an open source researcher at the James Martin Center for non proliferation studies

Ankit Panda is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Michelle Kae is the Deputy Director of the 38 North Program at the Stimson Center

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Transcript lightly edited for clarity

How are the recent missile tests in North Korea different than those in the past?

Jeffrey Lewis [00:02:44] North Korea has done four tests this January. The first two tests on January 5th and January 10th are what we would call a maneuvering reentry vehicle, so it’s just a regular ballistic missile but the warhead is a kind of cone shape, and it has these little fins and that allows it to pop off into what’s called a pull up maneuver and to kind of turn. That’s a pretty interesting and novel capability, as Ankit will, I’m sure, soon tell you. We saw the North Koreans show one of these off at the defense exposition they did. But they hadn’t tested it until now and it’s a different system than the hypersonic glider they tested in September. The other two tests are more prosaic. On the 14th of January, North Korea tested, for the second time, one of its short-range ballistic missiles off a railcar. So, this is less about the missile and more about the ability to use the rail network as a way to move around missiles. And then on the 17th of January, they tested the KN-24, which we’ve nicknamed the Chonky Boy, which is a different short range ballistic missile that North Korea has tested many times in the past.

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:03:53] Why have you nicknamed it the Chonky Boy?

Jeffrey Lewis [00:03:56] Because, like Kim Jong-un, it’s short and stout.

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:04:00] Fair enough. So, what do these tests suggest to you about North Korea’s evolving, I don’t know, say, approach to deterrence.

Jeffrey Lewis [00:04:12] Well, so there are really two things going on with North Korea’s nuclear program right now. One is the completion of the ability to deter the United States. So that’s an ICBM and a thermonuclear warhead. At the same time, North Korea has talked about repelling an invasion, which is if deterrence fails, North Korea, I think, plans to use a significant number of nuclear weapons early on in the conflict to try to prevent the United States from building up an invasion force in South Korea. And one of the things we saw about a year ago is Kim Jong-un gave a major speech in which he outlined the development of tactical nuclear weapons for North Korea as a big priority for them. So, I think what we’re seeing is a variety of short and medium range missiles that are intended to defeat US and South Korean missile defenses and strike US forces throughout South Korea and Japan early on in a nuclear war, which is, you know, not great.

What is a hypersonic missile and why is North Korea testing them?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:05:07] How concerning, or what does the fact that at least one of these missiles that have been tested over the last few months, at least, is like a hypersonic missile? Can you explain exactly what we mean when we say hypersonic missile and how that might potentially complicate conventional theories of deterrence, if at all?

Jeffrey Lewis [00:05:29] Yeah, I got to be honest, I have no idea what the hell the rest of you are talking about when you talk about hypersonic missiles. I mean, I’m teasing a little bit, but all missiles are hypersonic. Anything that goes over a couple hundred kilometers is going to be traveling at hypersonic speeds. So typically, what people are talking about when they say hypersonic is, what they really mean, is a glider. And it’s the ability to glide, at least initially, at hypersonic speeds that’s a little bit novel. So, the system that North Korea tested in January, the first two tests, which some people prefer to call it a maneuvering reentry vehicle, which is fine by me. What it’s really designed to do is to maneuver, not really in an evasive way, but to give North Korea, for example, the ability to fire a missile out over the East Sea or the Sea of Japan. And then it can kind of turn and maneuver back say to strike something like Busan. And if North Korea did that, the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system would probably never see it or only catch a faint glimpse of it, and we’d have no chance of intercepting it.

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:06:31] So it is like a complicating factor in like, you know, conventional deterrence?

Jeffrey Lewis [00:06:38] Well, but also in North Korea’s ability to use nuclear weapons early in a conflict. I mean, my read of what the North Korean emphasis on tactical nuclear weapons is, is that the North Koreans think that Saddam made a terrible mistake when he let the United States build up a giant invasion force. And so, I think their theory is, if they believe an invasion is coming, it makes a lot of sense to go first and to go first with nuclear weapons and try to hit US forces in South Korea and Japan before the invasion gets going, which is, you know, a fairly aggressive and I would think, unstable posture.

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:07:11] Ankit, I wanted to bring you into the conversation. Could you briefly introduce yourself so folks can hear your voice?

Ankit Panda [00:07:17] Sure. Thanks for having me, Mark. Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment, where I work on all things nuclear and space, mostly focusing on the Asian region and the Korean Peninsula in particular.

How are foreign powers reacting to the missile tests in North Korea? And how has North Korea reacted to US sanctions?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:07:27] So what has been the international reaction thus far to these spate of missile tests early in 2022?

Ankit Panda [00:07:38] Well, sure, so the fact that the North Koreans are testing missiles again isn’t necessarily new because they did this in September 2021 on October 2021, which was not that long ago. They conducted four tests of novel weapon systems in September, they conducted a new test of a submarine launched ballistic missile in October, Kim Jong-un held a defense exposition where he pretty much told the United States that he expected to see some change in US behaviors. And so, the reaction now I think the most significant reaction, of course, is that the U.N. Security Council has met, of course, without any consensus because China and Russia insist that the predicament, we find ourselves in today is primarily the United States fault for not giving Kim Jong-un what he was looking for in the diplomacy that happened under the Trump administration in 2018 and 2019. As for the United States, we have done what we are very good at doing, which is announcing a new round of sanctions after North Korea tested new missiles. It’s pretty much, you know, part of the old playbook, and the North Koreans have reacted to that poorly. In fact, the two missile tests that took place after the round of sanctions, there were a few indicators of what the North Koreans said in their state media about those tests that suggested to me, at least in part, that those tests were a way to demonstrate their defiance against the United States. But the divide that’s happening between Russia and China on the one hand and the United States, on the other hand, over how the international community should deal with North Korea’s resumption to testing missiles again, is pretty different from what happened let’s say in 2017, when things got pretty bad—the North Koreans were testing intercontinental range ballistic missiles, they conducted three of those tests, and Russia and China at that time weren’t willing to block US promoted sanctions measures. And of course, there’s been a lot that’s changed since then, not just with North Korea, but in the geopolitical relationships between the U.S. and China, US, and Russia, certainly. So, all of that, I think, is weighing into how the international community is reacting to these resumed tests.

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:09:31] Yeah, I mean, you know, it’s interesting to me. I follow the UN more closely than I do, say events in North Korea. And as you said, there have been moments, key moments, in the history of the Security Council’s approach to North Korea in which there has been, you know, demonstrated unity. This is not one of those. And just the other day, or even earlier today, I saw a tweet from the Russian Foreign Ministry suggesting, as you did, that sanctions relief right now is the preferred policy towards North Korea, as opposed to what the United States and the rest of the P-3, the Western countries, are urging, which is a ratcheting up of sanctions. And again, that seems to be just like a dramatic split from where we were just a few years ago.

Ankit Panda [00:10:17] Well, yeah. So, you know, it relates to this phrase that was pretty important in the diplomacy that happened in 2018 and 2019 and this and this phrase was “corresponding measures.” The North Koreans used this first, and then the South Koreans began using it, especially after the summits on the inter-Korean side between President Moon and Kim Jong-un. And what “corresponding measures” really meant to the North Koreans was that, look, in April 2018, before Kim Jong-un met with Donald Trump and about a week before Kim Jong-un met for the first time with Moon Jae-in, Kim Jong-un got up and gave a speech where he said, ‘We are not going to test long range missiles or nuclear weapons anymore.’ And, effectively, what the North Koreans expected was some kind of reward for doing that. Then came the Hanoi Summit in February 2019, where they said, ‘Okay, look, we haven’t tested long range missiles or nuclear weapons. Can you please give us some “corresponding measures,” i.e., sanctions relief?’ and the United States was unwilling to go there. And for Russia and China, I think there is an interest in both Moscow and Beijing to not see Kim Jong-un return to ICBM testing and certainly not nuclear testing. So, the position they’ve taken now is that, look, nobody wants to see this go back to where things were in 2017. Kim Jong-un has effectively already, you know, use the old sort of Chekhov’s Gun approach of introducing a new ICBM, he paraded this honking new missile, called the Hwasong-17, for the first time in October 2020. He gave a speech standing by it in October 2021, telling the United States that you better change your behavior. And for those of you that don’t know what Chekhov’s Gun is, it’s when you put a gun on the table in the first act of a play and you pretty much are guaranteed to see that gun go off by Act Five. And so, the North Koreans have pretty much upped the ante now, right? They have put this ICBM on the table, they’re basically indicating just at a Politburo meeting last week that they’re very unhappy about the US sanctioning them again, and they’re potentially going to go back to testing those kinds of capabilities. I think Russia and China are trying to sort of stave off by promoting sanctions relief, which they see as de-escalatory in this context.

Why has the Biden Administration approach to international relations with North Korea failed?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:12:09] So we’re about a year into the Biden administration. How would you so far characterize the administration’s policy approaches towards North Korea, Ankit?

Ankit Panda [00:12:20] So in a very traditional sense, the Biden administration has ticked all the right boxes. They did a policy review, they said that they wouldn’t pursue a policy that was in line with their predecessors but of course, every administration says that. Sung Kim, the special representative for North Korea, has really been saying all the right things, you know, the United States is not hostile to North Korea, we’re not trying to change their regime, we’re willing to meet North Korea anytime, anywhere in the world to talk about any issues under the sun. Unfortunately, all of that for the North Koreans, is not good enough because, like Kim Jong-un himself said in October 2021, North Korea is not going to look at the words that are coming out of the United States, it’s going to look at actions. And so, this month, the action that the United States took by announcing new sanctions has pretty much overridden all of the goodwill that might have come out of the Biden policy review and might have come out of all the things that Sung Kim was saying in my opinion. I think the North Koreans have basically interpreted now, or come to a sort of conclusion, that the Biden administration is much like its predecessor, is going to be difficult to deal with. And of course, the North Koreans have their own plans, right? Kim Jong-un, I think what’s important to note, is that before Biden was even inaugurated, the North Koreans had a party Congress where Kim Jong-un announced that he wanted, as Jeffrey indicated, tactical nuclear weapons, intercontinental range ballistic missiles to resume testing again. So, it’s quite possible that the North Koreans were going to do all of this anyways but now, with the sanctions coming out, they’ve been sort of given an excuse to move forward to do those things. And then there’s the other issue of just, you know, American presidents I think unfortunately need to devote political capital to various foreign policy issues, and that’s different for every president. North Korea, unfortunately, I don’t think is going to likely receive the kind of urgency that that it deserves. I mean, frankly speaking, just given everything else that’s happening in the world, the focus in Asia more broadly on China, what’s happening right now in Ukraine. All of that, I think, is taking up quite a bit of oxygen. So, the North Koreans historically have been very good at putting themselves at the top of the agenda in Washington. And the way that they usually do that is by generating a major crisis, right? Either that’s launching an ICBM, it’s pre-notifying that they’re going to launch a satellite in a matter of weeks, or perhaps return to nuclear testing, but they have quite a few tools in their belt to generate urgency in Washington.

Is there a policy move that could stop North Korea from continuing their missile tests and reduce tension with the United States?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:14:35] Jeffrey, you know, I’ve had you on the podcast many times over the years, and the conversation frankly seems to be sort of very similar, you know, between the Obama administration, the Trump administration, of course, now the Biden administration. We see these same patterns of behavior. Is there any sort of meaningful policy change that you would recommend that could sort of break this pattern?

Ankit Panda [00:15:01] Well, there’s a yes and a no answer to that question. I mean, in the very near term, I don’t think there’s any breaking of this pattern in particular because I think the North Koreans are pretty well committed to a testing cycle at this point. They’ve restarted the reactor, Kim Jong-un has, as Ankit noted, placed the gun on the table, and I just can’t imagine we’re not going to see it go off before they’re ready to talk again. In the long run, yeah, I do, because I think fundamentally the reason that our policy seems like Groundhog Day is because everybody believes that we’re going to get the North Koreans to disarm. And what we disagree about is, does that require more pressure or does that require more engagement? I think the fundamental transformation that we have to make is ultimately accepting that Kim Jong-un is not going to disarm and that we have interests other than disarmament. I think if we made that intellectual leap, then I think there is an enormous prospect for transformation in the relationship or reduction of tension and maybe even some modest progress on reducing nuclear risk. But it really requires us to accept the idea that North Korea is genuinely worried about a US invasion, and they are extremely unlikely to give up the nuclear weapons that they believe safeguard them against that possibility.

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:16:18] So once having made that intellectual leap, how would you rank policy preferences towards North Korea? So, say disarmament is off the table, what sort of US policy or more broadly international policy towards North Korea therefore emphasize more prominently?

Ankit Panda [00:16:42] Well, I think the priority task for me is trying to bring down tension and then moving to a point where we are more aware of how our military capabilities interact with theirs. So, the thing that scares the pants off me right now is, on the one hand, we have Kim Jong-un running around talking about how North Korea would use its nuclear weapons preemptively in the event that they believe an invasion is coming. We have also seen a South Korean presidential candidate say the quiet part out loud, which is, it would be madness for them to wait for North Korea to use their nuclear weapons—that they would preempt. And so, you have a situation where both sides claim they’re going to go first and one of them is wrong about that. So, to me, that is extremely destabilizing. So, if we focus on bringing tension down so that nobody thinks they’re going to get invaded and therefore nobody thinks they need to go first and then if we can start to think about some of the military doctrines that the two parties have in place and think about changing those, I think then we’re well on our way to a much safer scenario.

What is the relationship between China and North Korea like amidst recently resumed missile testing?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:17:46] And, Ankit, in terms of Chinese policy towards North Korea, I mean, it’s often been said that their most important priority is to prevent a complete collapse of the North Korean state to prevent a humanitarian crisis on their borders. Does that still resonate with you? And if so, are there any diplomatic opportunities that might present itself in the coming years or months or whatever in terms of China’s approach to North Korea?

Ankit Panda [00:18:23] Yeah. So, you know, I think the first thing is that, yes, I do think that continues to be an abiding Chinese interest. I think, on the China North Korea relationship one of the pervasive sources of misunderstanding, at least in the popular political discourse that happens in the United States on North Korea, is that Kim Jong-un wakes up, picks up the phone, and takes his orders from Xi Jinping, which could not be further from the truth. The North Koreans, I mean, really going back to Kim Il-Sung and then the Cold War era have maintained an arm’s length distance from China, even though they do have a fair bit of propaganda that emphasizes the Korean War legacy. The relationship between the two is often described as like the relationship between lips and teeth, implying a degree of proximity but the North Koreans have their own sense of interest, they are not Chinese clients by any means. But I think right now with the pandemic and sort of the recalibration of the North Korea-China relationship that’s really happened since the first meeting between Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un in March 2018 is in an interesting place because the North Koreans have hunkered down because of the pandemic, although there are few signs that they   do resume cross-border trade when they need to shore up their stocks of various goods as needed. But in this current circumstance, the North Koreans, I think, are interacting with China slightly differently than they did since that 2018 recalibration. The other question is the role that geopolitics is likely to play because I think what we’re also seeing now is that a lot of the traditional concerns that China has had about US military presence on and around the Korean Peninsula is sort of shifting because now the US is pretty much doing everything it can in the Indo-Pacific to broadly deter China and so North Korea is somewhat falling off the top of the agenda there. Right now, I think the biggest concern is the internal economic situation in North Korea, actually. I think as much as, you know, we’re talking about missiles today, I actually think the overriding concern and, you know, it’s funny because I do spend a lot of time thinking about missiles, but really the COVID situation in North Korea, the potential collapse of their health system if COVID does penetrate further, the fact that we have some fairly credible indicators from Kim Jong-un himself that either their agricultural output is completely collapsing or about to completely collapse later this year, I think a lot of that is going to shape how China especially thinks about North Korea in the coming months and years.

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:20:40] So say these predictions about a collapse of North Korea’s agricultural system kind of come through, how would you think China responds?

Ankit Panda [00:20:52] Traditionally, China has been a provider of aid to North Korea on various fronts, either through bartering or through the North Koreans purchasing. I suspect that if things really did come to a place where we did see another famine like we did in the late 1990s, I think we could expect China to play an important role in stabilizing North Korea. I think the big variable is to what extent will the North Koreans be willing to accept more risk when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing the amount of trade with the outside world? I mean, the level of, I think it’s actually very difficult for those of us who particularly live in the United States and other Western societies to appreciate the measures the North Koreans have taken to protect themselves against COVID-19. I mean, we’re talking about goods that are being imported, a tiny amount of goods that are being imported, staying at pre-designated sites, being disinfected, waiting a matter of weeks before they can be transferred anywhere else in the country. It’s really remarkable and I think the North Koreans, if we talk about sanctions, for instance, COVID-19 has basically shown us that the North Koreans have sanctioned themselves better than we could ever hope to. And unfortunately, that hasn’t had any effect on stopping their weapons of mass destruction programs, but it is clearly having an effect on their internal economy and most importantly, the North Korean people.

How might the increasing tensions between North Korea and the United States play out in the next few months? Will North Korea do more missile tests or launch a satellite for Kim Jong-un’s anniversary of leadership?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:22:07] So I’m going to bring Michelle into this conversation in just a minute. Let me ask Jeffrey and Ankit one last question. In the coming days or weeks or months, is there an event or an inflection point of some sort that would suggest to you how this crisis may evolve?

Ankit Panda [00:22:27] Sure, so I can kick that off. In the next few months, the North Koreans, like I said, just had a Politburo meeting where they were very angry about American sanctions, but they also underscored some pretty important anniversaries coming up. Namely, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un’s father’s birthday, coming up on February 16th and Kim Il-sung’s 110th birthday, founder of the nation, on April 15th and in 2012 for Kim Il-sung’s centennial they did carry out a satellite launch, which also coincided with Kim Jong-un’s first months in power. And that’s another anniversary they are celebrating, 10 years of Kim Jong UN’s leadership. The record of the North Koreans conducting significant testing around anniversaries is a little patchy, there’s not a consistent pattern but based on the fact that the North Koreans just said that they want to celebrate these anniversaries with splendor, you know, I, for one, will be watching for signs of either long range missile testing, new kinds of operational drills, potentially a satellite launch, any of those indicators, I think coming up. I think a satellite launch in particular is interesting to me because the North Koreans, when they test missiles, don’t offer any kind of pre-notification. You know, we just all wake up and we see push alerts on our phones saying that the North Koreans launched something. With satellite launches because the North Koreans insist that their satellite program is strictly peaceful and civilian they always offer pre-notification by a number of weeks and that’s useful from the perspective of bargaining with the United States because it does generate a crisis without actually launching something right away, which gives the United States an opportunity potentially to intervene although I’m not holding my breath that if that did happen, that the Biden administration would sort of reverse its overall approach to North Korea?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:24:09] Jeffrey, same question to you.

Jeffrey Lewis [00:24:11] Well, so I absolutely agree with that. The interesting feature is that the anniversaries are even numbers, so it would be Kim Jong-il’s 80th birthday, and the 110th birthday of Kim Il-sung so those are typically things that are celebrated with a pretty large amount of fanfare. There are signs that there might be a parade coming, but I think like Ankit, because the history of this stuff has been spotty, I think we have to keep in mind that on the one hand, there is the demonstration effect and the commemoration effect. On the other hand, these systems have to be ready to be tested. And so, I think the North Koreans have done a lot of signaling that they want to put a military satellite off, they want to test a solid propellant ICBM, they want to test the ICBM with multiple warheads but as much as they may want to do that, we don’t really know where they are technically. So, I think from the outside, it’s kind of a mug’s game to predict because there are these anniversaries coming up that are really strong opportunities for that stuff to happen but if the system isn’t ready, it’s not ready and it’s not going to fly.

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:25:19] Well, a big thank you to Jeffrey and Ankit. I wanted to now bring Michelle into the conversation. Michelle, can you just briefly introduce yourself?

Michelle Kae [00:25:30] Hi Mark, thanks for having me. My name’s Michelle Kae, I’m the deputy director of the 38 North program at the Stimson Center and within our program, the producer of the 38 North website, which is a publication that seeks to curate and present informed policy commentary and technical analysis on broad North Korea issues. So, our website is 38North.org.

Why is North Korea launching these missile tests?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:25:48] First, Michelle, I wanted to get your response and reaction to what you heard from Jeffrey and Ankit. Is there any point that you would emphasize or a suggestion that you would make?

Michelle Kae [00:26:03] Sure. So, I have to say it’s really an art to have crammed that much information in 20 or so minutes, and it’s really great to be considered a participant in this greater discussion of Ankit and Jeffrey. So, I think within the common something that hasn’t really been discussed in really the greater policy community is also the domestic factor. It’s something that’s under examined, I think when we talk about North Korea’s missile tests. Maybe it’s a very American thing to assume that this is only about grabbing US attention but I think as both Ankit and Jeffrey have mentioned, some of the technical capacities and developments that were already outlined in Kim Jong-un’s national plans and, you know, as North Korea has maintained close borders since January 2020 and the really difficult state during the pandemic, missile tests are also one avenue to demonstrate some level of progress or success to a domestic audience. I don’t know if it’s effective, but it is still perhaps in the regime’s rationale—one way to still demonstrate strength in a time of struggle. So, with the 8th Party Congress, there was definitely talk about improving and training military readiness on a short notice and also demonstrating that systems are operational. Something that we’ve seen over the last two years has been that Kim Jong-un only goes to specific tests. A lot of his visits are still more economically focused, and still all of these appearances are a fulfillment of their Five-Year Plan. I think there has been an emphasis, even especially with the first two tests this year that, you know, these technologies, these developments are already planned. However, misguided it may be, we’ve joked that it’s likened to a project deliverable where Kim Jong-un said they were going to increase the country’s defenses and capabilities and within that, you know, their weapons systems and military readiness. And so that was just one point.

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:28:18] Can I press you on that point just briefly? So generally speaking, like my bias is in favor of the idea that bureaucratic politics often explains bizarre foreign policy decisions when they might otherwise lack better, you know, better explanations. So, you know, are there like bureaucratic pressures, as you just said, suggesting like why now North Korea is testing these missiles?

Michelle Kae [00:28:45] I mean, I think bureaucratic pressures with North Korea, is definitely a mystery for a lot of us. We’ve seen this with also, 38 North has done some projects looking at other bureaucratic debates on North Korea’s economic policy so I would think that it’s not too far-fetched to say that some of the demonstrations, whether it’s on defense spending or development, are also topics that are debated within the North Korean government.

Are sanctions effective in reducing tensions with North Korea?

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:29:15] Thanks. Okay, so you’re going to make another point before I interrupted.

Michelle Kae [00:29:23] Let’s see, so another thing that I did want to underscore. Mark, I think you had mentioned the comment about sanctions relief as a more compelling kind of policy option than continued sanctions. I will emphasize that North Korea knows sanctions. They’ve been sanctioned for so long, and I think it’s something that we see as a policy option that while we can continue to keep sanctioning North Korea, and it seems like maybe a logical explanation to keep squeezing North Korea, it seems if we look at the UN panel of experts reports, North Korea continues to be an extremely savvy evader of sanctions and will continue in their own ways to innovate, to figure out how to still acquire currency. So, I think that is definitely something that, you know, is a continued, and it’s a discussed policy option that that remains. But I think our track record has shown that North Korea is very, very savvy at evading them and so I find that the point about sanctions relief as a more compelling policy option, as something that I agree with.

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:30:34] Similar to the question, I asked Jeffrey and Ankit, which is, in the coming days or weeks or months, is there an event or an inflection point that you will be looking towards that will suggest to you how this situation may unfold?

Michelle Kae [00:30:53] That’s a hard question, because I feel like as soon as we say that North Korea will do one thing and we’ll all be looking out for it and certainly not going to happen so we’re kind of speaking it, not into existence. But I do think that commentary from state media or the absence of it regarding any future testing will be definitely something to watch for. I think, you know, as much as North Korean rhetoric gets headline grabbing, colorful words and phrases, I think sometimes the absence of it as well is something to note in terms of where North Korea may want to be going.

Mark Leon Goldberg [00:31:46] Alright, thank you all for listening. Thank you to Jeffrey, Ankit, and Michelle for your contributions and to the audience who participated live. If you are new to the podcast, I just want to say welcome, we’ve gotten many new followers in recent weeks. Mostly, I think, folks who are discovering the podcast through the live events that I’m hosting on Twitter. Welcome, do take a moment to peruse our robust archives. You can open up and access the entire archive by simply following or subscribing to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or wherever it is that you are listening. And please do share the podcast with your friends and colleagues who might be interested. Thanks, we’ll see you next time, bye!

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