North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may have made his boldest and most dangerous claim yet. The communist country has been raising multiple concerns over their nuclear weapons claim. Giles Hewitt of Yahoo News reported yesterday that North Korea claims they will test a nuclear warhead and ballistic missile capable of carrying them. Just this morning, BBC News reported that there has been a small artificial earthquake in North Korea caused by a blast.
South Korea officials reported that the earthquake was most likely due to blasting work. The magnitude of the earthquake does not match that of a nuclear bomb. South Korea officials don’t believe it was caused by a nuclear detonation.
However, the artificial earthquake is oddly timed. The North Koreans claimed that they would continue to conduct nuclear testing despite the sanctions imposed. The original weapons claim was released on Monday by North Korea’s news channel, KCNA.
North Korea’s most vital ally, China, has not supported them in any way. China has reported that they will continue to enforce the sanctions already in place and that they are not condoning North Korea’s actions.
Kim has threatened Washington, Seoul, and, most recently, Manhattan. South Korea and the United States both agree on the fact that they are skeptical of North Korea’s abilities to launch a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile.
The Washington Post reported this exact quote from a North Korean media outlet called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Today.
“If this H-bomb were to be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile and fall on Manhattan in New York City, all the people there would be killed immediately and the city would burn down to ashes.”
Experts have claimed that it is doubtful the North Koreans have the technology to put a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile. South Korea stated the North does not have the ability to launch a missile intercontinentally.
President Barack Obama decided to address the issue by using an executive order to impose more sanctions on North Korea which took effect Wednesday. The sanctions were a response to the North’s nuclear testing and their recent imprisonment of a United States citizen.
The North arrested a United States college student for taking down a propaganda poster in his hotel. They sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor without any mercy. The student, Otto Frederick Warmbier, has been held in custody since January.
The White House demanded for his immediate release and claimed that his human rights were violated. The North has yet to respond to the United States’ demands and they may never give in. This is not the first time North Korea has imprisoned Americans.
USA Today reported Obama’s statement to congress on his decision to make the executive order.
“The order is not targeted at the people of North Korea, but rather is aimed at the Government of North Korea and its activities that threaten the United States and others.”
The White House has quite a situation on their hands. How the United States handles this situation could effect the rest of the world.
The in place sanctions target multiple organizations in North Korea and blocked any vessels that have done business with the rouge country from entering United States’ ports. Some of the organizations effected were the Workers’ Party of Korea Propaganda and the Agitation Department.
The United States government is going to continue to press the North to release the student. There is a small possibility of Kim actually releasing the young student without wanting something in return. The North will want to display some sort of strength in the situation.
[Photo by KCNA/Getty Images]