Kim Jong Un added that “if the U.S. persists in its hostile policy toward the DPRK, there will never be the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and the DPRK will steadily develop necessary and prerequisite strategic weapons for the security of the state until the U.S. rolls back its hostile policy,” KCNA said.
North Korea said it successfully performed another “crucial test” at its long-range rocket launch site that will further strengthen its nuclear deterrent. The test — the second at the facility in a week, according to North Korea’s Academy of Defense Science — possibly involved technologies to improve intercontinental ballistic missiles that could potentially reach the continental United States. Pak Jong Chon, chief of the Korean People’s Army’s general staff, asserted on Saturday that North Korea has built up “tremendous power” and that the findings from the recent tests would be used to develop new weapons to allow the country to “definitely and reliably” counter U.S. nuclear threats. The North in recent weeks has been dialing up pressure to coax major concessions from the Trump administration as it approaches an end-of-year deadline set by leader Kim Jong Un to salvage faltering nuclear negotiations. The Academy of Defense Science did not specify what was tested on Friday. Just days earlier, the North said it conducted a “very important test” at the site on the country’s northwestern coast, prompting speculation that it involved a new engine for either an ICBM or a space launch vehicle. The testing activity and defiant statements suggest that the North is preparing to do something to provoke the United States if Washington doesn’t back down and make concessions to ease sanctions and pressure on Pyongyang in deadlocked nuclear negotiations. Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, was to arrive in Seoul on Sunday for discussions with
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump have signaled their affection for each other so regularly it might be easy to miss rising fears that the head-spinning diplomatic engagement of the past two years is falling apart. Pyongyang has issued increasingly dire warnings to Washington to mind a year-end deadline to offer some new initiative to settle the nations’ decades-long nuclear standoff. Failure could mean a return to the barrage of powerful North Korean weapons tests that marked 2017 as one of the most fraught years in a relationship that has often been defined by bloodshed, deep mistrust and regular threats. As the deadline approaches, and as the North’s propaganda machine cranks up its warnings, here’s a look at how high-stakes diplomatic wrangling in one of the most dangerous corners of the world might play out: THE DEADLINE: HOW SERIOUS IS IT? North Korea has previously issued deadlines it doesn’t follow through on as a way to try to get what it wants in negotiations. But despite the usual skepticism, there are signs that Pyongyang means business this time. South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency has reported that Seoul is taking the year-end deadline seriously and is working on “contingency plans” with the United States, which has been trying, and failing, to get North Korea back into serious talks before time runs out. The chief U.S. nuclear negotiator warned recently that the North could turn to provocations if the deadline is unmet. When diplomacy broke down at a
“Japanese Prime Minister Abe, who is now making such a fuss over our super-large multiple rocket launcher test-fire as if a nuclear warhead had fallen on Japanese soil, is a moron,” the North Korea’s KCNA news agency said, citing a statement by Song Il Ho, its ambassador for ties with Japan.
“North Korea is investing all its strength in a hard-line position against Washington and Seoul,” said Nam, a former president of the Institute for National Security Strategy, a think tank affiliated with South Korea’s main spy agency. “If its missiles fly over Japan, the international impact would be huge because the United States and Japan would find it difficult to let it go,” he said.