North Korea has been obsessed with nukes for decades but went hog wild last year. This binge included over 20 ballistic missile tests and the country’s largest nuclear test (to date). However, the foreign power’s not thrilled about Trump’s reaction to its nuclear prowess, and the threats are starting to fly.
The latest round began a few weeks ago when a high-profile defector to South Korea revealed that an emboldened Kim Jong-un was racing ahead with his nuclear plan in 2017 amid “political uncertainty” in the United States. This confidence led to last week’s announcement of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test — of a weapon that theoretically could reach the U.S. — in the near future.
Trump, in typical fashion, responded to this delicate foreign policy matter on Twitter: “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!”
North Korea didn’t appreciate this response from the incoming U.S. president. A spokesperson for Kim Jong-un issued a warning that the ICBM “will be launched anytime and anywhere” at North Korea’s discretion. The rep also blamed the U.S. for “hostile” policy in no uncertain terms:
“The ICBM will be launched anytime and anywhere determined by the supreme headquarters of the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea]. The U.S. is wholly to blame for pushing the DRPK to have developed ICBM as it has desperately resorted to anachronistic policy hostile toward the DPRK for decades to encroach upon its sovereignty and vital rights. Anyone who wants to deal with the DPRK would be well advised to secure a new way of thinking after having clear understanding of it.”
Of course, there’s the question of whether North Korea’s blowing smoke, which it has done before. And the ICBM isn’t expected to be in operable condition until a few years after the testing phase.
Still, nukes aren’t anything to take lightly, and CNN spoke with some foreign policy analysts, including Yonsei University professor John Delury, who assessed this threat as “definitely a message to the Trump transition team to say don’t go down this dead end (of sanctions).” Delury stated, “There’s no question signaling is going on.” He believes Kim Jong-un is hoping to convince the U.S. “to reverse the Obama policy and talk with them in a serious way.” Trump’s tweet surely didn’t help matters from any perspective, and North Korea will likely churn ahead with more testing.