UMN Expert: North Korea ICBM Launch

Mark Bell

This week, North Korea launched a missile which is likely an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the country’s third ICBM test. In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated, “Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now. The United States remains committed to finding a peaceful path to denuclearization and to ending belligerent actions by North Korea.”

Mark Bell—assistant professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota and expert on nuclear weapons and proliferation, international relations theory and U.S. and British foreign policy—is available to provide expert comment on U.S. options in response to this latest launch.

"On Tuesday, North Korea tested its most powerful and capable intercontinental ballistic missile yet, the Hwasong-15. This missile was launched from a mobile missile launcher and appears to have the capability to reach the entire continental United States. The test makes clear that the United States cannot engage in military action against North Korea without risking a nuclear attack on its major cities, including Washington DC. Notably, North Korea's statement in the aftermath of this test was less belligerent than previous statements, emphasizing the completion of its program, the accomplishment of its goals, and its plans to use nuclear weapons solely for deterrence. This appears to open the door for possible diplomacy to constrain the further development of the North Korean program, if the United States is prepared to abandon its goal of denuclearizing North Korea."

Professor Bell holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a Frank Knox Memorial Fellow, and a B.A. in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from St. Anne's College, Oxford University.

Mark Bell
Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota

Contact information:
612-626-2889  (office)
202-294-3364 (cell)

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Media Note: Professor Bell will speak on “Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy” at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs on December 5, 2017. He will offer a framework for thinking about how nuclear weapons affect the foreign policies of the states that possess them, with significant implications for international security and U.S. nonproliferation policy.

Additional event details are available here.

University of Minnesota experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. See selected experts on UMN’s Experts Guide or inquire about additional experts via email at

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