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North Korea's first successful rocket launch is a truly dangerous development. Although the North Koreans have previously detonated two nuclear devices, until now they have not demonstrated any ability to deliver them. Weaponizing a missile is hard, but Pyongyang's close ally Iran has made great advances in miniaturizing warheads. With the combination of North Korea's nuclear bombs and Iran's technology, a nuclear-tipped missile could be capable of striking the West Coast of the United States in the near future. We can no longer afford to ignore North Korea.
North Korea's provocative behavior may be part of a larger effort to break out of diplomatic isolation and economic dependency on China by pressuring Washington to return to the negotiating table. Commentary co-authored by Jane Harman, Robert Hathaway, and James Person.