Kim Jong-un is 'Determined to Have a Nuclear Capability'

Lindsey Ford on WNYC's The Takeaway

South Korean protesters burn an effigy of North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un during an anti-North Korea rally on February 11, 2016 in Seoul, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
South Korean protesters burn an effigy of North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un during an anti-North Korea rally on February 11, 2016 in Seoul, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

The Asia Society Policy Institute's Director for Asian Security, Lindsey Ford, went on WNYC's radio show "The Takeaway" to discuss the challenges that the United States, Japan, and South Korea face in constraining North Korea's nuclear ambitions. Listen to the full interview below. 

Ford explained that North Korea is "clearly determined to have a nuclear capability, and they believe that it's essential to regime survival." She added that "the Trump Administration's decision to launch a strike in Syria has probably reinforced that belief for them. They see what happens in other places in the Middle East, and the takeaway lesson is if you don't have nuclear weapons, you get ousted and you get attacked." With the nuclear program "clearly escalating," she argued that there is growing concern in the region that Kim Jong-un cannot be convinced to trade away his nuclear capabilities.

Ford characterized Japan's decision to send destroyers to join U.S. naval forces as a signal directed both at North Korea and to its own people, who are "are keenly aware that were there to actually be a crisis on the North Korean peninsula, Japan and South Korea would be the first place that North Koreans would lash out." (7 min.)

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