On December 30, 2020, The National Interest published an article by Asia Security Initiative non-resident senior fellow Markus Garlauskas entitled “Expect Missile Testing and Probing From North Korea, Not a Cry For Attention or Help.” The article recounts possible actions from North Korea as the United States goes through its presidential transition, stating that “North Korea will nevertheless be probing and testing, and probably seeking the right conditions to escalate to testing an ICBM at acceptable risk.”

Whether or not Kim Jong-un orders a major weapons test early in the Biden Administration’s tenure, North Korea will nevertheless be probing and testing, and probably seeking the right conditions to escalate to testing an ICBM at acceptable risk. It will not be a simple matter to organize international responses that dissuade Pyongyang from escalating further—particularly with all the other urgent issues the new Administration will be facing—but how the Biden Administration responds to North Korea’s probes will likely be crucial to shaping North Korea’s behavior in the next four years.

Markus Garlauskas

Nonresident Senior Fellow, Asia Security Initiative

Asia Security Initiative