Pyongyang’s latest threat

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Pyongyang’s latest threat

North Korea made it official. Yesterday, it announced it will conduct a nuclear test in response to UN Security Council Resolution 2087, which condemned Pyongyang’s long-range missile launch last month and imposed tougher sanctions against the recalcitrant regime.

In a statement issued by the National Defense Commission, following a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement a day earlier, Pyongyang declared, “We do not hide that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets which will be launched by the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] one after another and a nuclear test of higher level which will be carried out by it in the upcoming all-out action, a new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle that has lasted century after century, will target against the U.S., the sworn enemy of the Korean people.” North Korea is expected to push ahead with another nuclear test soon, exacerbating the volatile situation in northeast Asia.

Pyongyang wants to be recognized as a de facto nuclear power by the international community by making public its cherished nuclear ambition since its secession from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1993. The North’s declaration amounts to a defiance of the international community’s efforts to achieve peace by curbing indiscriminate propagation of weapons of mass destruction.

North Korea attempts to justify its nuclear armaments by the logic of self-defense. But the nuclear sovereignty it insists on is nothing more than the means of maintaining a despotic regime for the sake of a tiny elite at the expense of a vast majority of the country’s ordinary people.

That’s ridiculous. It does not need to compare its missile launches with Seoul’s space projects. No one doubts our government’s attempts to launch rockets to put satellites into orbit.

Pyongyang’s emphasis that its missiles are aimed at America suggests that it has negotiations with Washington in mind. It also means that Pyongyang wants to create a new paradigm for talks by scrapping the existing negotiation framework - the Six-Party Talks in particular - aimed at the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

But there’s no possibility that Washington will succumb to Pyongyang’s signature brinkmanship. Instead, another provocation will only lead to a worsening of its traditional ties with China as Beijing will be more reluctant to provide support and aid to its maverick neighbor.

Pyongyang’s over-the-top hawkishness suggests that the new Kim Jong-un regime is having trouble settling in. If that’s the case - and if Pyongyang’s nuclear threat does not work - it will most likely mount a new provocation.

The government must prepare for any contingencies.
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