Kelsey Davenport, an expert on North Korea’s nuclear program and director for Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association, said that it is “important to remember that satellite launch vehicles are not ICBMs,” or intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The launch was announced just before the start of the ABC News Republican debate Saturday evening, during which the candidates discussed the possibility of a pre-emptive strike against DPRK.

This weekend’s launch follows the detonation last month of an alleged (but unlikely) hydrogen bomb, which spurred similar fears and bombast over the growing nuclear threat in that country.

But anti-nuclear activists and experts continue to argue that the best way to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program is through the universal ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty—particularly by the nine nuclear-armed states, particularly the U.S.—as well as a United Nations resolutions declaring  any new nuclear test a threat to international peace and security. 

These measures, in conjunction with penalties and increased incentives, including a move to open dialogue with the “hermit nation,” said Ploughshares Fund president Joe Cirincione, give the global community the best shot of convincing DPRK of abandoning its nuclear weapons and capabilities.

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