After a year full of nuclear missile tests, taunting rhetoric and surviving international sanctions, North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un declared during the New Year’s Day speech that he now has a ‘nuclear button’ on his desk.
The Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, dressed in traditional western attire, said that his country’s development as a nuclear force was ‘completed.' In the speech broadcast by the state TV channel, he mentioned how he wishes to “mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles and accelerate their deployment”.
The speech was aimed at convincing the United States and its allies that Pyongyang is not putting out empty threats and instead just stating the reality of the country’s capability. He further mentioned that “the entire area of the US mainland is within our nuclear strike range. The US can never start a war against me and our country.”
However, he did go on to confirm that the weapons were only there as a deterrent against military pressure, saying, “these weapons will be used only if our security is threatened.”
When President Donald Trump was asked about his North Korean counterpart’s comments, he commented saying, “wWe’ll see, we’ll see.”
Strangely, Kim Jong-un fashioned a somewhat conciliatory tone for South Korea. He wished that Winter Olympics slated to be held later this year in South Korea be fruitful and “with good result(s).” He had further stated that the North might even take steps to send a delegation to the Olympics.
Diplomats and political analysts are observing the move as an attempt to drive a wedge between the U.S. and South Korea. South Korea would like to focus on the games for the time being, but with the U.S. driving for military drills in the area, this would be a useful tool to poke fissures in the U.S.-South Korea alliance.
Daniel Russel, a former top U.S. diplomat for East Asia said that North Korea’s move to be involved in the Olympics could be taken positively but with a pinch of salt. “It’s perfectly legitimate to dial down some of the signaling and the rhetoric ... but not to load up their tray with concessions in advance. We should reward responsible behavior, but not try to bribe North Korea into behaving; that doesn’t work,” he said.
Whether it’s a bluff or if Kim Jong-un will call upon the services of the button on his desk, is a scenario no one wants to test. At the same time, he has been known to change his stances often and throw fiery rhetorics at the U.S and her allies, in an attempt to establish North Korea as a ‘nuclear power.'
We know one thing - if that button gets pressed, then it's GAME OVER for North Korea.
Posted on January 2, 2018 in and filed under Kim Jong-un.