Source: East Asia Forum
In his 2017 New Year’s address, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un claimed that ‘an epochal turn was brought about in consolidating the defence capability of juche Korea’ and that the country had ‘achieved the status of a nuclear power, a military giant, in the East which no enemy, however formidable, would dare to provoke’. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves at a photo session with attendants in the fourth Active Secretaries of Primary Organization of KPA Youth in Pyongyang, 1 September 2017 (Photo: KCNA via Reuters).
” data-medium-file=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/RTX3EQVT-400×267.jpg” data-large-file=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/RTX3EQVT-600×400.jpg” src=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/RTX3EQVT-400×267.jpg” alt=”North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves at a photo session with attendants in the fourth Active Secretaries of Primary Organization of KPA Youth in Pyongyang, 1 September 2017 (Photo: KCNA via Reuters).” width=”400″ height=”267″ srcset=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/RTX3EQVT-400×267.jpg 400w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/RTX3EQVT-150×100.jpg 150w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/RTX3EQVT-768×512.jpg 768w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/RTX3EQVT-600×400.jpg 600w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/RTX3EQVT-300×200.jpg 300w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/RTX3EQVT-100×67.jpg 100w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/RTX3EQVT-500×333.jpg 500w” sizes=”(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px”>In response, regarding North Korea’s capability to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the United States, US President Donald Trump tweeted: ‘It won’t happen’.
In the 11 months since, Kim Jong-un has repeatedly announced a series of accomplishments in his missile and nuclear programs that have diversified and expanded North Korea’s capability to strike targets (including the United States).
The February launch of the solid-fuel mobile Pukkuksong-2 missile signalled efforts to develop missiles with a more stable fuel supply. This occurred in the same month that North Korea demonstrated its willingness to use chemical weapons by assassinating Kim Jong-un’s half-brother Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport using the VX agent. North Korea then conducted intermediate range ballistic missile tests, initially on a lofted trajectory and then in September on a standard trajectory over Japan. These demonstrated a range sufficient to reach the US island of Guam.
Successful tests of the Hwasong-14 …continue reading