Kim Jong Un has threatened that he plans to speed up the development of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and have missiles ready to fire without warning.
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During a military demonstration in the capital Pyongyang The times Saying that “intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), hypersonic weapons and other military hardware were on display,” the North Korean leader vowed to press ahead with nuclear weapons development despite international opposition to further testing.
“We will continue to take steps to strengthen and develop our the nation’s nuclear capabilities at the fastest paceKim said at the event marking the 90th anniversary of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army. “The Republic’s nuclear forces must be ready at all times to carry out their mission of responsibility and unique deterrence.”
How many nuclear weapons does North Korea have?
According to the Arms Control AssociationA US organization that tracks nations’ military capabilities, it has been estimated that North Korea has 40 to 50 nuclear weapons and enough fissile material to build six to seven nuclear weapons a year by 2022.
In 2003 North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. And since 2006, it has conducted a series of six nuclear tests, showing increasing levels of sophistication, leading to the imposition of Western sanctions.
Since the beginning of 2022, the country has been testing “hypersonic as well as short-haul, medium-haul and long-range ballistic missiles“, that BBC reported last month. The latest test involved an ICBM, according to South Korea, which if confirmed would be “the first time an ICBM has been launched since 2017.”
What kind of nuclear weapons?
Kim has a “diverse arsenal of ballistic missiles” The Wall Street Journal reported, including “a nuclear-powered submarine,” “hypersonic missiles,” and “powerful ICBMs.”
Most of North Korea’s missile tests in recent years have been aimed at “boosting short-range missiles,” the paper added, with experts in Pyongyang touting “successes in firing weapons from submarines and rail cars.”
However, the dictator is too Known for “having missiles that can reach the US‘ the BBC said, including the Hwasong-14, which has a ‘potential range of 8,000 km’. That would put New York within striking distance.
Its Hwasong-15 missile “is believed to have a range of 13,000km,” the broadcaster added, a range that “targets the entire continental US.” And in March, Kim unveiled a new, unnamed missile that North Korean experts claim “can carry a payload of 2.5 tons — so theoretically capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.”
How dangerous are they?
In recent years, North Korea has embarked on “an accelerated buildup of nuclear weapons,” alongside “modernizing its already large conventional military force,” the Washington-based official said Council on Foreign Relations.
Some experts now believe it may possess “more than 60 nuclear weapons,” the think tank continues, while the notoriously secretive state has also “successfully tested missiles that could hit the United States with a nuclear warhead.”
The US and its Asian allies view North Korea as “a serious security threat,” particularly given Kim’s tendency to use “aggressive rhetoric” when threatened, the think tank added. Sanctions have also proven to be “ineffective in slowing down its path to acquiring nuclear weapons“.
What will happen next?
Speaking to the crowd in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square, Kim said the build-up of its nuclear capabilities was intended as a deterrent, warning: “If any force tries to hijack our country’s vital interests, our nuclear force will have no choice but to carry out his second mission unexpectedly.”
Images released by the state-run Korean Central News Agency showed that the exhibit featured “submarine-launched ballistic missiles” and the “Hwasong-8 hypersonic missile,” The Times reported, as well as “a guided missile system for tactical nuclear warheads.” . .
Yang Moo-jin, a professor at Seoul University of North Korean Studies, told the newspaper that it was “remarkable that Kim is now more specific about the purpose of his nuclear weapons.”
South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol has previously “threatened a preemptive strike against Pyongyang if necessary,” he added. “Kim appears to be indirectly saying that should Yoon actually proceed, he may have to respond with nuclear tactics.”
Kim’s comments “suggest that he will continue provocative weapons testing in a pressure campaign to wring concessions from the US and its allies.” The guard called. He appears to have revived “nuclear brinkmanship” to “force the US to accept North Korea as a nuclear power and lift crippling economic sanctions.”
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/asia-pacific/956555/are-north-korea-nuclear-weapons-threat-to-west Are North Korea’s nuclear weapons a real threat to the West?