According to reports, a rare interview with a North Korean official recently revealed that the communist regime has no intentions of halting its tests of nuclear missiles — no matter what the potential price may be. According to CNN, Sok Chol Won, the director of North Korea’s Institute of Human Rights at the Academy of Social Sciences, indicates that the nation will proceed with what will be its sixth nuclear test regardless of potential bite-back from countries like the U.S. According to Sok, the nuclear tests aren’t simply a gimmick to stir up tensions with disapproving countries — they are “an important part” of continued efforts to strengthen North Korean military forces.
Reports indicate that the curt comments by the North Korean director come after the U.S.’ recent decision to focus on more diplomatic rhetoric with North Korea, instead of threatening physical war. This more peaceful approach stands in stark contrast to Trump’s prior threats to use whatever means necessary in order to eliminate the North Korea nuclear threat.
Sources claim that a sixth nuclear missile test will more than likely escalate tensions between the U.S. and the Kim Jong-un regime again, which could be cause for major concern in Asia. The U.S. recently moved the THAAD missile system into South Korean territory, and officials say the hardware is nearly operational. As both China and North Korea have been adamant that the Trump administration remove the powerful weaponry, the decision by North Korea to carry on with its sixth missile test may be the North’s response to America’s stubborn refusal. As for the Chinese, officials are afraid that, if launched, missiles from the THAAD machinery could very well reach China’s mainland and deal catastrophic damage.
While some reports suggest the inevitability of war-like conflict between North Korea and America, other sources now seem to indicate that the likelihood of an actual war between the two nations has fallen to slim to none. According to analyst Euan Graham, the countries are in what he calls a “phony war phase,” with each country’s leader attempting to scare the other into submission by demonstrating military strength. Sources claim that with the threat of China entering the fray if a war were to ensue, both the U.S. and North Korea understand that there’s just too much to lose by actually engaging one another.
What Graham indicates instead is that Washington’s stubbornness and military posturing is the Trump administration’s attempt to “sufficiently rattle” the Chinese into seriously imposing sanctions against the communist North Korean regime, instead of playing around with empty threats. This theory seems to line up with the fact that though Trump has repeatedly called on China to help dispel tensions, the Chinese have not done much in terms of stepping up to North Korea. As the North’s only ally and primary trade partner, China possesses a considerable amount of power over the Kim Jong-un regime. However, for whatever reason, they’ve chosen not to enforce any strict regulations or tighten restrictions on the country. With the U.S.’ military moves, China may be forced to take more significant steps.
North Korea’s decision to continue with test launches of nuclear missiles comes after an unusual U.S. Senate briefing on Wednesday. Located in a secure wing of the White House, reports indicate top White House officials addressed senators in efforts to bring them up to speed on what was taking place in North Korea. While many senators simply found the meeting pointlessly ineffective (Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley indicated that they “learned nothing you couldn’t read in the newspaper), others assumed the “meeting” was nothing more than the White House’s attempt at a photo op to dispel rumors that the Trump administration was not entertaining ideas of a peaceful denuclearization of North Korea.
As American and North Korean tensions continue to emanate, officials from both sides will remain on high alert.
[Featured Image by Wong Maye-E/AP Images]