As Kim Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions continue to destabilize the east-Asian region, the North Korean leader is planning to take his nuclear testing one step further while threatening the United States at the same time.
North Korea is considering conducting a nuclear weapons test over the Pacific Ocean as a response to President Trump’s promise to respond with military action in the case of an attack, according to CNN.
Ri Yong Ho, North Korea’s foreign minister, spoke to reporters in New York recently after Kim Jong-un made an appearance on national television, accusing Trump of being “mentally deranged” in light of his recent comments at the United Nations Assembly on Tuesday.
In his speech, Trump had threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, saying that “if the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph,” all the while detailing many of the horrors of what he also referred to as a “depraved” regime. “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” he added.
In response, Kim Jong-un delivered a rare statement directly to the camera, saying that President Trump will “pay dearly” for these threats, and offered a grim warning that North Korea “will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”
“I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire,” Kim continued.
Hours later, North Korea’s foreign minister would echo these sentiments, telling reporters that his government could launch a nuclear missile test in response. “This could probably mean the strongest hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean. Regarding which measures to take, I don’t really know since it is what Kim Jong-un does,” said Ri.
Japan, in particular, has become even tenser as a result of these developments. Japan’s Defense Minister, Itsunori Onodera, said that the nation will be ever vigilant. “We cannot deny the possibility it may fly over our country,” he said on Thursday.
Many experts have felt that North Korea’s saber-rattling is merely an attempt to pressure the world into giving in to their demands for attention. However, this most recent message from the young leader has some experts especially concerned.
“I’d like to advise Trump to exercise prudence in selecting words and to be considerate of whom he speaks to when making a speech in front of the world,” Jong-un said. The fact that this was the first time he ever released an in-person statement is an indication of how impacted the young leader was by Trump’s statements.
North Korea is considering conducting a nuclear weapons test over the Pacific Ocean. Will he do it?
One expert, Vipin Narang, professor of political science at MIT and expert on nuclear deterrence, was particularly worried about this message. “This is unprecedented, as far as we can tell. It’s written by him, it’s signed by him…He was clearly offended by the speech, and what concerns me most is the response he says he is considering.
Narang also said, “The message is chilling.”
Considering the potential destruction that could be caused by a pre-emptive EMP attack over the United States, this change in communication style might be indicative of a future escalation foreign policy from the rogue nation. Only time will tell.