North Korea Does Not Want to Initiate Conflict

Lindsey Ford on MSNBC

On September 6, 2017, Lindsey Ford, ASPI’s Director of Political–Security Affairs, spoke with Stephanie Ruhle and Ali Velshi on MSNBC about North Korea’s defensive strategies, and the importance of China and Russia combatting the North Korean nuclear program.

Ford points out that Ambassador Nikki Haley’s “statement that North Korea is ‘begging for war’ is a fundamental misread of the situation.” She emphasizes that Kim Jong-Un does not want “to initiate conflict,” but to “demonstrate that they have the ability and the will to respond in such a strong way…to prevent the United States from considering attacking it.”

Ford adds that in order to combat Pyongyang, leaders have to “[go] after companies and entities that are doing business with North Korea.” There are “two targets here: one is North Korea and one is China,” Ford says. In addition to exacting some pain on Chinese entities engaging with North Korea, this tactic will hopefully “change their calculus about how they see the North Korean situation, and deciding that at the end of the day, they are not willing to prop up this regime anymore.” However, As China and Russia have historically been North Korea’s strongest allies, Ford mentions that it will not be easy to get their full support in applying pressure on North Korea. (6 min., 01 sec.)

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