Missile tests need a strong response

Daily Editorial Board

Over the past few weeks, news of alleged North Korean nuclear weapon and long-range rocket tests has surfaced, propelling the North Korea into the public eye as one of the foremost threats to global security.
 
 
National Intelligence Director James Clapper told Congress this Tuesday about the threats the United States faces in the aftermath of these tests. He posited that a plutonium reactor, shut down in 2007, is now functional once again. Furthermore, Clapper revealed, intelligence data and North Korea’s development of a long-range ballistic arsenal show the country’s growing capacity to directly attack the U.S. Finally, Clapper argued that North Korea’s cyber warfare capabilities are becoming increasingly menacing. 
 
 
While the threat of North Korea is not new, recent developments should revitalize American diplomatic and economic efforts to contain that country’s capacity to threaten foreign nations. The United Nations recently vowed to implement further sanctions on North Korea. In addition to approving these sanctions, the U.S. should also take a few extra steps. 
 
 
First, the U.S. ought to work with the South Korean military and intelligence network in order to forestall a possible North Korean attack. Second, the U.S. ought to take initiative in peace talks between North and South Korea. In November, officials from both these countries met to engage in dialogue. Furthermore, North Korea has publicized its desire to negotiate a long-term peace process with the U.S. These efforts demand leadership and encouragement, which the U.S. should provide.