A debate is under way about how best to respond to North Korea’s cyberattack on Sony, an attack designed to punish the firm for making a movie that humiliated Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. Ideas range from a cyberattack to weaken North Korean political and military assets to relisting the country as a state sponsor of terrorism, presumably accompanied by new sanctions.
These ideas are fine as far as they go, but they don’t go far enough. The serious threat posed by North Korea far transcends cyberspace. Only one approach is commensurate with the challenge: ending North Korea’s existence as an independent entity and reunifying the Korean Peninsula.
Pyongyang possesses between four and 10 nuclear devices as well as hundreds of short- and intermediate-range missiles. The regime has active uranium enrichment and plutonium programs. It is only a matter of time before North Korea can place a nuclear warhead on one or more of its missiles and produce missiles capable of reaching the U.S. The regime is already a known proliferation threat—a decade ago it was helping to build a nuclear reactor in Syria—and it remains a potential source of missiles and nuclear materials to rogue states and terrorists.