Among the stated goals put forward by Kim during a recent meeting on state objectives is a push to mass produce battlefield tactical nuclear weapons that will be used to target South Korea. These moves come as Kim claims that efforts at isolating North Korea from the international community mean increasing his country’s military strength is necessary for the future. Given previous announcements by North Korea of claiming to have successfully completing important tests necessary to develop a new strategic weapon, as well as a spy satellite, it is unlikely the rhetoric coming out of North Korea is simply empty words.
Most worrying, however, is how these policy goals for Kim come after the passage of a new law in North Korea last year in which preemptive use of nuclear weapons was authorized for a wide range of situations, and threats were made that they might well use their nuclear weapons first.
For their part, the Defense Ministry of South Korea has warned that any attempt by North Korea to use nuclear weapons will lead to the end of the Kim regime in North Korea, which echoes previous warnings made by the military of the United States in response to Kim’s policies. Diplomats of South Korea, Japan, and the United States have all agreed to respond with cooperation to provocations coming from North Korea, yet also have reaffirmed that they are still open to dialogue with North Korea. Regardless, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command has reiterated that its commitments to defend South Korea and Japan “remain ironclad.” Given the potential for a conflict to spiral out of control, we can only hope that diplomacy triumphs and North Korea is deterred from following through with its threats of nuclear escalation.
Comments / 222