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International reaction has been swift and negative to North Korea's announcement that Sunday evening, it set off an atomic weapon underground.
This morning, I spoke with Dennis Hickey about the developments...He's a political science professor at Missouri State University who specializes in Asian politics and international relations. He's the author of four books, one of which looks at the armies of East Asia.
Shelton: Dr. Hickey, we'll just jump right in...what was your reaction to reports from North Korea that it had tested a nuclear weapon?
Hickey: I think everybody knew that this was coming. The surprise was that it was coming today rather than a year from now.
Shelton: What will the fallout be from this?
Hickey: The international fallout thus far has been pretty predictable. China has condemned the test, Japan, most of the international community, of course the United States and there's a movement today to take this to the U-N Security Council.
Shelton: And what kinds of ramifications would we expect to see?
Hickey: I would expect that there's a strong possibility of more international sanctions placed on North Korea. There were limited sanctions placed on them some time ago and there could be more. The scary thing with that is that the North Koreans have said that sanctions are an act of war.
Shelton: We've talked about this before and I think it's relevant to ask this question again but what is the end game with the North Koreans?
Hickey: Yes, it seems we've been through this before. In fact, I've been on this program telling you we've not heard the last of North Korea. I don't where all this is going to go. I think the scary about it is not just that North Korea has this bomb but what they're going to do with it. On the one hand, they could use it but more likely is that they might end up providing it to terrorist groups.
Shelton: What is the threat to the US of this action?
Hickey: I think it does constitute a threat, maybe not immediate. North Korea is working on a missile plan. And people can sit around and make jokes and say, "Well, their long range missile didn't work last year." Well, it might work next time. I would suspect they have a plan to be able to deliver this weapon by missile intercontinental to the US.
Shelton: As you said, this is a huge concern for China and Japan.
Hickey: It's especially a concern for Japan because of the historic problems they've had with the Korean people, both North and South.
Shelton: You mentioned an increase in sanctions...will that kind of diplomacy have an impact?
Hickey: It's unclear what kind of impact sanctions would have. Our government doesn't have much to do with North Korea. We don't sell them anything anyway. But they are dependent on aid through a number of countries and through UN agencies for survival. North Korea is a bankrupt, destitute country that's incapable of feeding its own people and frankly, it's in really bad shape.
Shelton: In conclusion, any words on what to look for here in the future with this:
Hickey: As I've said on previous programs, you haven't heard the last of North Korea. We'll be back here six months from now discussing some new missile program or something else. It's a continuing program.