North Korea Tests its First Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un announced that his country has tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile, reaching a milestone that India, China, Pakistan, France, Russia and the UK achieved in the past. According to him, research and development of the pioneering nuclear weapon are reinforcing and progressing the country’s defense abilities, which includes the final preparation of tests for launching the intercontinental ballistic missile. The leader’s declaration, however, has a high, self-congratulatory tone that has caused the country to lose useful allies in the past.

Kim calls North Korea a “nuclear” and “military” power in eastern Asia and warns the US and its forces to stop nuclear threats and blackmail that would cause them to resort to nuclear force. However, unlike before, the leader’s threat has weight this time. The country supported its passionate bombast with two nuclear tests and a few land and sea-based rocket tests in 2016, while it has already conducted three nuclear tests before. The country proposes to combine nuclear explosives with ballistic missile technology, a situation feared by Harry Harris, the head of the Pacific Command of the US military. Albeit North Korea having a not-so-good rocket and missile technology to deliver nuclear weapons, Kim is steadfast on developing nukes by the end of 2017.

North Korea bets that the US and South Korea would fail in deterring their nuclear aspirations due to roiled domestic political conditions in both countries. South Korea, Japan and the United States feel the need to boost cooperation to safeguard their interests against such threats. US President-elect Donald Trump responded on social networking site Twitter that it won’t happen, but the response still needs some clarification in terms of any future course of action against such threats.

However, former US officials and some experts feel that the US has two options, negotiate or adopt military action. Neither option provides surefire success, and taking military action would jeopardize South Korea and Japan as these countries lie in close proximity to North Korea. John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State warns that the North Korean nuclear problem will be amongst the most serious issues that the Trump administration will have to face. He emphasized a comprehensive, sustained and untiring campaign that raises the cost on North Korea until it adopts a strategy of denuclearization and adheres to international regulations. Trump also said that China, North Korea’s only ally, needs to issue sanctions and take preemptive measures to normalize the situation.

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