(NationalSecurity.news) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in a New Year’s address to his nation, said the country is close to testing its first intercontinental ballistic missile, just as the administration of Donald J. Trump prepares to take office.
Kim Jong Un said North Korea is in the “last stage” of preparations to test-fire an inter-continental ballistic missile, refusing to slow his nuclear arms development as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office in Washington.
Kim made his remarks in a New Year televised address as he outlined his country’s military achievements for the past year, North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said Sunday. North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests under Kim and launched a series of long-range rockets.
North Korea “will continue to strengthen its ability based on nuclear might to mount a preemptive attack,” Kim said during a half-hour speech that touched on a range of issues, including economic policy and relations with South Korea.
Since he took over the reigns of power in 2011, Kim has relentlessly pursued nuclear weapons, even to the detriment of improving his country’s economy. He has also poured scarce resources into improving other military facilities as well.
The U.S. has some 28,000 troops in South Korea.
North Korea possesses a large military but it is largely outdated and not much of a threat outside of inflicting heavy regional damage on South Korean infrastructure. Still, North Korean capability to deliver a nuclear weapon thousands of miles away is a direct threat to the countries within its reach.
And it’s a problem that the incoming Trump administration will have to deal with at some point.
“North Korea is showing its leverage ahead of future negotiations with the Trump administration,” Kim Tae-woo, who teaches military issues at South Korea’s Konyang University, told Bloomberg. “North Korea’s hope to be recognized as a nuclear power through some sort of big deal with the U.S. hasn’t lessened, and we may even be seeing Kim deploying ICBMs this year.”
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