A month has passed since North Korea’s last missile test — of a long-range projectile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland — and many wonder whether Pyongyang’s weapons program will grow even more aggressive in 2018. Kim Jong-un’s regime has promised to develop a viable nuke-tipped missile in the coming year and is also reportedly also attempting to add anthrax and other biological weapons for an extra dose of fear.
As such, Kim Jong-un has greeted the world with a New Year’s Day address geared (at least partially) toward these goals of intimidation. His speech made hefty mention of the North Korean nuclear button, via CNN’s translation:
“The United States should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table. The entire area of the U.S. mainland is within our nuclear strike range. They should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality … As for the areas of nuclear weapons research and rocket engineering, we need to accelerate the mass production of nuclear warheads, whose power and reliability have already been secured, and ballistic missiles.”
However, the Washington Post adds that the speech also contained a vow to use the nuclear weapons “only if our security is threatened.” This could be viewed as a positive sign, but one should also remember that the North Korean foreign minister recently declared that Trump’s aggressive tweets were “a declaration of war.” There’s no telling when that could happen again.
Meanwhile, Business Insider reports that Kim Jong-un expressed hope that the upcoming Winter Games in Pyeongchang will allow his country to “show unity” with South Korea. Of course, that’s far easier said than done (and probably mere rhetoric), but at least the entire address wasn’t filled with talk of violence.
It’s a start?