North Korea Playing Nuclear Footsie With U.S. Again

North Korea made yet another promise that they will stop their nuclear testing, but only if the U.S. stops its military exercises first. Obama doesn’t buy it.

It was not an accident that North Korea just conducted its fifth nuclear test, firing “what appears to be a ballistic missile from a submarine toward the sea,” NBC News reported.

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What is worrisome is that North Korea keeps testing missiles, engines, and bombs with the intent of eventually being able to put a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile that can reach the U.S. Another worry is that they are testing the ability to fire these weapons from a submarine, which means the vessel is submerged, making it more difficult to see and thus prevent a dangerous launch. This, of course, gives the leverage of surprise against an enemy to North Korea, or at least whoever North Korea perceives to be an enemy, which isn’t a good thing if you are that perceived enemy.

Granted, North Korea’s tests have failed so far, but as Dean Cheng, Senior Research Fellow Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Center, told RT McFarland of Fox News, “at some point, they’re going to get the stuff right.”

A nuclear weapon in the hands of an unstable leader is not a satisfactory situation, especially to all countries within potential missile range of said nuclear weapon, which the U.S. could possibly be.

Posturing or Peril

President Obama, who was in Germany working on negotiations for a U.S.—Europe trade deal with German chancellor Angela Merkel, understands the gravity of the continued tests by North Korea, saying even though North Korea’s tests have mostly failed, “they gain knowledge each time they engage in these tests,” he said.

He continued, “What is clear is that North Korea continues to engage in continuous provocative behavior, that they have been actively pursuing a nuclear program, an ability to launch nuclear weapons.”

North Korea’s Foreign Minister, Ri Su Yong, said in an interview with the Associated Press that North Korea would stop its nuclear testing, but only if the U.S. stopped the annual military exercises it is conducting in South Korea, which run through the end of this month. He said if the exercises were halted “for some period, for some years,” then they might consider sitting down to chat.

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However, North Korea seems unsure about where it stands regarding the military exercises in the South or the reasons why it continues to experiment with its nuclear testing up until now.

On one hand, it is believed North Korea is angry about the increased sanctions it has received over the nuclear tests and a long-range rocket launch. The foreign minister blames others and insists the “U.S. drove his country to develop nuclear weapons as an act of self-defense.” On the other hand, he warns that North Korea won’t be “cowed” by international sanctions and made sure his message was heard when he was in New York for a United Nations meeting.

“If they believe they can actually frustrate us with sanctions, they are totally mistaken,” he said. “The more pressure you put on to something, the more emotionally you react to stand up against it. And this is important for the American policymakers to be aware of.”

In other words, North Korea’s promise to halt future nuclear testing, no matter what else takes place, can probably be taken with a grain of salt. All posturing aside, even the threat that Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, has developed its long-range and nuclear technologies enough to be a serious danger to targets elsewhere, even the U.S., is not at the present time being accepted. But, each time they fail brings them one step closer to succeeding.

[Photo by China Photos/Getty Images]