North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has announced: “offensive measures” which he says are necessary to ensure his country’s security and sovereignty. The deadline he has set for the US to respond expired on Dec. 31. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is staying patient.
Kim Jong-un: It’s Time For ‘Military Countermeasures’ Against The USA
In the ongoing nuclear dispute with the United States, North Korea’s dictator Kim announced Dec. 30 that it will be necessary to take “military countermeasures” for the country’s security and sovereignty. His statements were made at a meeting with senior members of the North Korean Communist Party in Pyongyang on Monday, according to state media. Kim reportedly spoke for seven hours at the meeting, which was held to discuss an unspecified “important document.”
Also, at the party meeting, Kim reportedly said that the time had come for a “decisive turn” in economic development. North Korea’s economy is being crushed, not least because of international sanctions. The central committee proclaimed a change of political course last year, agreeing that the country must concentrate more on the economy in the future.
Traditional North Korea New Year Speech Jan. 1
Kim seeks to deliver his traditional New Year speech on Wednesday, which is considered a highlight of the year in North Korean politics. Two years ago, Kim threatened the world with nuclear weapons, but at the same time communicated his willingness to talk with South Korea. Six months later, Kim met with President Trump at their first summit.
Most recently, Kim gave the United States until the end of the year to resolve the dispute over the nuclear armament of North Korea by mutual agreement. Negotiations have not progressed since Kim’s failed meeting with Trump in Vietnam in February. If no agreement is facilitated, Kim said he will take an unspecified “new path.”
What To Expect In Kim’s New Year’s Speech
Observers are eagerly anticipating Kim’s speech, as it will likely provide the world with clarity as to what precisely the “new way” eludes to. However, it can be expected that it may include the announcement of testing a long-range missile with nuclear warheads. Moreover, South Korea anticipates that North Korea may lift its moratorium on testing nuclear bombs and long-range missiles.
Any of these occurrences would be a major issue for the US, not merely due to security concerns, but as a testimony for what former National Security Advisor Bolton in his recent interview called “no visible process” despite continuous contrary claims from Trump. Since 2011, Kim has launched more than 100 missiles and conducted four nuclear weapons tests, which is more than his predecessors Kim Jong-il, and Kim Il-sung launched over nearly three decades.
The Trump Administration’s Position
Despite the potential implications, the Trump administration has pledged not to be pressured by Pyongyang. US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said he did not want to speculate on possible missile tests; however, he did say the US was willing and able to counteract any measures taken by the regime in North Korea.
Trump himself has warned North Korea not to break its commitment to nuclear disarmament. With a view to Kim, Trump wrote on Twitter: “Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore.”
Where The UN Fits Into The North Korea Picture
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council is scheduled for an informal meeting on Monday to consider a Russian and Chinese proposal to ease sanctions against North Korea. It will not be more than a diplomatic gesture, due to the virtual certainty of a US veto. The sanctions imposed on North Korea in 2016 and 2017 aim to make it financially harder for Pyongyang to conduct its nuclear and missile programs.
Whatever Kim may or may not reveal on Wednesday, the US has minimal options at this stage other than buy time and contain the threat North Korea poses through continuous appeasement. North Korea, at the same time, will lose the leverage it holds over the situation in precisely eleven months and the presidential election, especially if Trump wins.