North Korea announced it plans to carry out more nuclear tests and long-range rocket tests, but added a minor twist: they will be specifically targeting the United States.
“We do not hide that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets which will be launched by [North Korea] one after another and a nuclear test of higher level which will be carried out by it in the upcoming all-out action,” reads a statement from North Korea’s National Defense Commission, according to state-run media.
The Commission’s statement suggests that the isolated and communist country might be moving away from claiming its rocket launches are “peaceful” satellites. Last month, Pyongyang successfully tested a long-range rocket, sending a now-defunct satellite into orbit, but Western officials said it was a thinly-veiled attempt at testing ballistic missile technology.
The Commission said the move marks “a new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle that has lasted century after century [and] will target against the U.S., the sworn enemy of the Korean people.” It added, “Settling accounts with the U.S. needs to be done with force, not with words, as it regards jungle law as the rule of its survival.”
Typically, in the past, the North has followed up rocket launches with a nuclear test, as in 2006 and 2009.
On Tuesday, members of the United Nations Security Council, including the North’s main ally China, voted unanimously to impose more sanctions on the regime and condemned the Dec. 12 rocket launch.
A statement issued by North Korea in response to the resolution reads, “We have never recognized all forms of base resolutions tightening sanctions cooked up by the hostile forces to encroach upon [North Korea’s] sovereignty.”
The North Korean statement also said that there would be no more talks regarding the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Settling accounts with the U.S. needs to be done with force, not with words, as it regards jungle law as the rule of its survival.
—North Korea’s National Defense Commission
But despite the alarming nature of the Commission’s statement, it’s a well-trodden path. The Kim ruling family has long relied on creating military tension between itself and the United States and South Korea. Creating tension is the only form of power or influence the nation can exhibit on the world stage; the isolated state has a virtually nonexistent economy and very few diplomatic ties and is thus relatively powerless.
On Thursday, the website Daily NK reported that the North may already have began the process of preparing for its third nuclear test.
A South Korean government said, “North Korea has filled in a tunnel dug for the purpose of a nuclear test with dirt and concrete brought in from elsewhere. It has also been confirmed that a cable has been run out from the tunnel.”
Also, South Korea’s defense ministry said that Pyongyang could detonate a nuclear device if it chose to, reported the Yonhap News Agency.
“It is our understanding that if the leadership gives consent, the North can detonate a nuclear devise whenever it wants to,” a ministry spokesman told the agency.
The United States offered little in response to the North’s statement.
“North Korea’s statement is needlessly provocative, and a test would be a significant violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney, according to a transcript.
“Further provocations would only increase Pyongyang’s isolation, and its continued focus on its nuclear and missile program is doing nothing to help the North Korean people.”
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