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DU Prof: ‘N. Korea Does Pose Threat’

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North Korea (credit: CBS)

North Korea (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4)- A University of Denver professor of International Studies believes that what North Korea is doing now isn’t much of a threat but they will pose a significant threat later this decade.

Jonathan Adelman said on CBS4 Morning News on Thursday that the situation is definitely something to pay attention to.

“In the short run we shouldn’t take them very seriously. They’ve done things like this before on several occasions going back to the 1990s. But in the medium and the longer run it does pose a threat because they will be able by the end of this decade to develop a missile and miniaturize the war head so that they would be able to hit the East or West Coast of the United States. But I don’t think that’s actually the biggest problem we have with this but that’s one of them. I think the biggest problem we have is the message that’s being sent to other countries, to Iran for example which poses a much greater threat to the United States. That they are going to have allies out there,” said Adelman.

“In which we may be facing a world in the next 10-20 years in which there are several rogue states out there with nuclear capabilities, with uncertain rationality among their leaders. That’s a significant problem.”

North Korea has moved a missile with “considerable range” to its east coast, South Korea’s defense minister said Thursday, but he added that there are no signs that the North is preparing for a full-scale conflict.

The report came hours after North Korea’s military warned that it has been authorized to attack the U.S. using “smaller, lighter and diversified” nuclear weapons. It was the North’s latest war cry against America in recent weeks. The reference to smaller weapons could be a claim that North Korea has improved its nuclear technology, or a bluff.

RELATED: CBSNEWS North Korea

The North is not believed to have mastered the technology needed to miniaturize nuclear bombs enough to mount them on long-range missiles.

“The Chinese have ambivalence about North Korea. On one hand they would like them to go the Chinese way in an integrated global economy but on the other hand, in an odd way they’re theirs because 400,000 Chinese soldiers died fighting to preserve North Korea in the Korean War. And so they are going to try to put a little bit more pressure on North Korea but they don’t really object because they want to see the long term decline of the United States and this is one of the ways to do it which doesn’t directly involve them,” said Adelman.

“The louder they yell the more they want to do things. They want money, they want fuel, they want international aid. They want it all to be masqueraded because after all this is a country that a few years ago allowed two million people to starve to death rather than take openly delivered United Nations aid. So this is a great way to bargain in the 21st Century.”

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