Despite obvious signs that President Trump will have a different approach than his predecessor, tensions continue to rise on the Korean Peninsula. Just days after the U.S. rerouted a naval strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson, North Korea launched yet another missile test. Although the test ended in embarrassing failure, it showed the regime was willing to defy international condemnation.
In the wake of that missile test, rhetoric coming out of North Korea has only increased in intensity. Officials close to the Kim regime have said they are ready for war, even threatening to launch a preemptive strike. Despite the growing pressure, North Korea shows no signs of backing down.
This isn’t the first time North Korea has issued threats, the isolated country has a long history of heated rhetoric towards the United States and South Korea. Nevertheless, there is a big difference between talking tough and being able to act on it. And if the most recent threat is any indication, North Korea still doesn’t understand the difference.
North Korea will continue to test missiles, a senior official has told the BBC in Pyongyang, despite international condemnation and growing military tensions with the US.
“We’ll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis,” Vice-Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol told the BBC’s John Sudworth.
One might remind North Korea that conducting missile tests only shows strength if – ya know – the missiles actually work. Nobody fears a missile that blows up thousands of miles before it reaches its intended destination.
Nonetheless, North Korea is undeterred by the embarrassment, vowing to continue to make a fool of itself on a weekly basis from here on out. Even worse, the promise comes with a threat of war if the U.S. doesn’t comply:
He said that an “all-out war” would result if the US took military action.
Of course, it would be hard to conduct an “all-out war” if not all of your weapons systems function properly. But reality has never dissuaded North Korea before.
The rhetoric comes as the U.S. has hinted it has limited patience remaining for the antics of the rogue regime. As Vice President Mike Pence visits the area this week, he issued a harsh warning:
Earlier, US Vice-President Mike Pence warned North Korea not to test the US.
He said his country’s “era of strategic patience” with North Korea was over.
While it is still unclear what the breaking point is for the U.S. to trigger action, North Korea isn’t helping ease tensions. Despite the heated rhetoric, North Korea hasn’t given its adversaries much to fear either.
[Note: This post was authored by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]