SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- North Korea is likely to seek dialogue once it solidifies its status as a nuclear state, according to a South Korean think tank.
The Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security said Thursday in its 2018 outlook that the North may initiate dialogue with the United States next year, if it manages to launch a missile from a standard trajectory and masters a crucial missile technology.
The think tank predicts the North will launch its latest Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile at least once next year.
The North's latest missile test on November 29 revealed the new Hwasong-15 rocket which was shot at a lofted angle. It flew at an altitude of 2,800 miles over a distance of 600 miles, higher and farther than any previous launch.
However, most experts believe the North has yet to acquire the technology that enables the projectile's warhead to survive reentry through the atmosphere.
The report says once this technology is complete, there is a high possibility that the regime will seek a one-on-one with Washington, as it would have higher bargaining power if its ICBMs are fully operational.
However, if the North fails to master the technology, the institute believes the diplomatic confrontations seen this year will continue throughout 2018.
"Pyongyang will consider the degree of sanctions on its economy as well as the completion of its reentry technology when deciding on the timing of its provocations," the report said.
The U.S. has maintained that it will never accept North Korea as a nuclear power.