WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Antiwar.com analyst Jason Ditz said Pyongyang’s threat to the US mainland remained minimal, as North Korea's missile program continued to lack significant success with its long-range deployments.
"The United States and North Korea have virtually identical diplomatic dustups, with similar rounds of threats, every early spring, to coincide with the US-South Korea military drills," Ditz added.
However, Ditz pointed out that economic constraints always forced North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to damp down his rhetoric when facing the mundane demands of feeding his own people.
"The escalation is likely to be one of rhetoric for the next 30-45 days, until the planting season in North Korea. Everything builds up until North Korea has to redeploy its military to help with planting crops, at which point everything calms down until the following year."
Ditz was also skeptical about the likely impact of the latest round UN Security Council sanctions that were imposed on North Korea in February.
"Additional sanctions on North Korea at this point are a joke. The most recent new sanctions banned things like snowmobiles and tennis rackets, simply because they've already banned everything more biting long ago. North Korea can… smuggle anything it really needs from abroad."
Woodrow Wilson Center Senior Northeast Asia Associate Shihoko Goto told Sputnik that the new sanctions could be devastating if they were effectively imposed on North Korea, but she expressed skepticism that this would be the case.
"If the sanctions are imposed effectively, their effects will be crippling… including the possible sudden collapse of the North Korean regime," Goto warned. "There could be a real problem if there is a regime change — Russia, China, South Korea, Japan and the United States would all be affected."
However, major doubts remained whether the major powers could reach agreement and set up an effective monitoring and enforcing regime to make sure that the sanctions really did work, she cautioned.
"How are they actually going to implement this new sanctions regime? How are they going to impose the sanctions? I am not sure what the modalities are going to be. Who is going to enforce them? These are essential questions to answer," Goto pointed out.