North Korean leader begins new year with threats against US

02 January, 2018, 11:53 | Author: Patty Aguilar
  • South Korea Proposes High-Level Talks With North Korea

'We must mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles and speed up their deployment, ' said Kim in his annual address to the nation.

Kim's customary New Year's speech is closely watched for indications of the policy direction the unpredictable and reclusive leader is likely to pursue in the coming year.

Lee Hee-beom, president of the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee, said it welcomed North Korean participation and would "discuss relevant matters with the South Korean government as well as the International Olympic Committee".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday the improvement of inter-Korean relations was linked to resolving North Korea's nuclear program, a day after the North offered talks with Seoul but was steadfast on its nuclear ambitions.

An official from the Pyeongtaek Regional Office of Oceans and Fisheries, who also requested anonymity, confirmed that the vessel had been disallowed from leaving the port since December 21. How things turn out, he said, rests on whether China puts more pressure North Korea. But Kim also repeated that South Korea must stop annual military exercises with the United States, which he calls an invasion rehearsal against the North. The Olympics in Pyeongchang are about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the North Korean border, prompting concerns that North Korea might disrupt the event.

The implication, for now, is simple: Kim Jong-un's nuclear forces are operational and ready to deter the United States and retaliate to any first strike that would seek to either disarm Kim Jong-un of his weapons or kill him.

Revere said Kim's speech contained the strongest defense yet of North Korea's status as a permanently nuclear-armed country.

North Korea has rattled the worldwide community in recent months with multiple missile launches and its sixth and most powerful nuclear test - purportedly of a hydrogen bomb.

Kim said during his address that his aim is to "lower the military tensions on the Korean Peninsula to create a peaceful environment".

But once they sit down, the North could put Seoul in a hard position by making unacceptable demands such as an end to the annual joint military drills with the United States, Koh added. The North was subsequently hit with toughened United Nations sanctions, and Kim and President Donald Trump exchanged warlike rhetoric and crude personal insults against each other.

Whether or not Kim Jong-un has a physical button to authorize launch or not, it remains the case that North Korea's nuclear weapons continue to see highly centralized and assertive command and control.


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