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North Korea Issues New Nuke Threat

North Korea Issues New Nuke Threat

North Korea issued new threats of nuclear and long-range missile testing on Thursday, including a claim that the isolated communist nation would seek to build strike capabilities against the United States of America.

Calling the U.S. its “arch-enemy,” the North Korean military issued a statement through state-run media announcing the threats, which they said were in retaliation for United Nations sanctions adopted on Tuesday.

“We do not hide that the various satellites and long-range rockets we will continue to launch, as well as the high-level nuclear test we will proceed with, are aimed at our arch-enemy, the United States,” the statement said. “Settling accounts with the US needs to be done with force, not with word.”

North Korea has long had nuclear ambitions, and has attempted two nuclear tests to date. While neither tested weapon was as strong as the atomic bombs used by the United States against Japan in 1945, there is some evidence that North Korea may now have enough uranium to build a more powerful weapon.

North Korea also launched an unmanned satellite into orbit in December. While there were indications that the satellite was non-functional, the launch indicated that North Korea’s ballistic missile technology has reached a point where it may be possible for them to launch conventional intercontinental strikes. Fortunately, North Korea’s nuclear weapons are likely still too large to mount on a missile, but the combination of the nuclear testing and missile projects is unsettling, to say the least.

The satellite launch drew unanimous condemnation from the UN Security Council, including a vote for the resolution by China, which has long been the closest thing North Korea has to an ally.

North Korea has followed rocket launches with nuclear tests twice before, in 2006 and 2009.

North Korea remains in a technical state of war with the United States and South Korea. Though an armistice was signed in 1953, no peace treaty has ever been formally agreed to. Nearly 60 years after the armistace was signed, American troops remain stationed in South Korea to deter North Korea from resuming hostilities.

Exactly what North Korea hopes to accomplish with more saber-rattling is unclear. North Korea was desperately poor, even before sanctions were put in place to dissuade them from pursuing nuclear weapons. It is possible that North Korea could put together a nuclear weapon that could threaten America or South Korea, but even if they wanted to attack, they face less of a mutual assured destruction scenario than a self-assured destruction one. Use of a nuclear weapon by North Korea would be suicidal.

That said, the North Korean government does not operate in a particularly logical manner. Under the leadership of Kim Il-sung, his son Kim Jong-il, and now his grandson Kim Jong-un, North Korea has operated less as a traditional communist nation than as a cult of personality. Officially, its Juche theory of government extols the virtue of the common Korean worker, but in practice, it has developed into overwhelming hero-worship of the Kim family.

The country is extremely insular, and its government’s function is opaque even to experts in the region. While the North Korean aim of becoming a nuclear power may not seem to make much sense from a rational standpoint, the goal of symbolic power has been often shown to be more important to the North Korean government than almost any other consideration.

How the world will respond to the latest threat is unclear; North Korea is already under a massive sanctions regime, and it seems hard to image what, short of military action, could dissuade North Korea from proceeding. It seems likely that the world will have to simply hope that however unclear the motivations of the North Korean government, their instinct for self-preservation will at least keep them from using whatever weapons they may develop.

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Image Credit: Michael Jesus Day

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87 comments

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12:15PM PDT on Mar 30, 2013

Ref. Marta S. I tent to agree with you that if crazy Rodman's opened diplomacy can communicate with Kim Jong Un, the kid trying to establish himself as a tough man and prevent him from making a big-big mistake in trying to take on the USA would be for the best.What stooped the Korean conflict; Eisenhower promised that if elected he would go to Korea and end the conflct himself. He also publicity started hinting that the USA might make use of its nuclear arsenal to break the stalemate in Korea. He also allowed the National Chinese government on Taiwan to begin harassing raids on mainland China. In 1953 all sides involved in the conflicit were ready to sign an agreement to end the bloodshed. In essence the USA told them we will use nuclear to win and this of course scared the hell out China and they forced the North korean's to sign the agreement.

8:10AM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

I have no idea why someone on an environmental site would even think of using nukes, This whole thing is a humongous gigantic mess and somehow, someway there is a good answer. In this case,, it way be pushing the envelope, but if we can use Dennis Rodman as a go-between, I think its a must do..Is this unusual ? Yes, of course, but do we really need another war, which in this case could wipe all all of civilization as we know it? Think about it before killing our children and any and all hopes of our future, too. I have no idea what ended the Korean War, but somewhere something went very wrong. Somebody has the answer or answers to resolving this mess peacefully, and those means and persons need to be a part of resolving this before its way too late..

6:48PM PST on Mar 8, 2013

Bomb

6:46PM PST on Mar 8, 2013

Would a Nuclear Bom in testing or used for real not harm the environment, testing Nukes is environmental terrism.

6:43PM PST on Mar 8, 2013

Why don't we just leave them be they are at war with each other not us?
Same in the Middle East they where at war with each other, not us. It has cost us a fortune to go there and many lives.

12:40PM PST on Feb 7, 2013

territory

But they will have to be dealt with. And we'll have to bribe and deal with China to do it. We cannot afford another war, the economies of the world can't handle it (although for a few, it would be a boom), the ecology of the planet can't take it. This HAS to be a diplomatic/cold war.

12:39PM PST on Feb 7, 2013

Jane, Will, and a few others - Under normal circumstances, I'd agree with you, but this is not a normal nation. It is not just rogue; it's leader is seriously deluded and borderline insane! You don't deal with crazy people threatening you - you drop them and lock them up. They are Dangerous! Would you appease a rabid dog? Thought not.

And it's clear that most folks here don't really know that much about NK. Lynne S, & Paul C. have some of the pieces of the puzzle (actually, quite a few people have escaped NK's gulags) What I haven't seen addressed is the fact that this leader is a KID!! He's what? 28? 30? To run an entire nation, that is desperately young! Not to mention the fact that this kid spent the vast majority of his life in solitary save for his teachers, trainers and bodyguards. What does that do to a kid's mind? He's probably never known any form of nurture.

And let's face it - we don't have that much intelligence about the running of their government. Who's really ruling that nation, 'cause it's sure as shit not this kid! His uncle, his aunts, some generals of high rank? A coalition of these entities? No one is really sure.

As for intent, that is also somewhat mysterious. Folks are right that they are China's bitch. And they know where the butter for their bread comes from. They're insane, but not crazy. But they are also nationalistic as a faith and Who Knows? Maybe this is simply a late-blooming, post-adolescent pissing for terr

4:05AM PST on Jan 30, 2013

thanks for sharing.

7:58PM PST on Jan 28, 2013

Just get them before they can get us. Why can't the people of this world learn to live and let live? We don't have to have the same beliefs, the same lifestyles, or the same religion. Why can't we just let each other be? There's no need for war. All that is needed is to allow your neighbors to live their lives as they choose. That's the way we get along with our neighbors in our subdivisions in the U.S. Be friends with them or just leave them to theirselves. The U.S. cannot take care of the whole world. Each country has to be responsible for their own country and people. If they have problems then they need to find a solution and not look for help elsewhere.

8:18AM PST on Jan 28, 2013

No way should sanctions be dropped against them !! Those sanctions were put in place for good reason and NK has not only shown NO intention of "conforming" but now are "stepping-up" their defiance !!! South Korea has recently shown "reserved" willingness to talk and try to sort things out between themselves and North Korea ...... North Korea's answer was, near enough, unprintable !!! You can't reason with them, you can't ignore them, and you certainly cannot "give-in" to them and welcome them back "into the fold" ....... SCARY SITUATION !!!!

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