The taunts and threats from North Korea are getting worse and worse. On Feb. 4, the North Korean National Defense Committee issued a statement, announcing that “We no longer have the need to face America, nor do we have the willingness to associate ourselves with them.” In addition, they threatened that “[should the U.S. ramp up the ‘aggression’ toward North Korea] the last dying page of the shameful American history will be written by our Mt. Baekdu [North Korean expression for something great or awe-inspiring] gunstock.” They also noted that this statement “was under the mandate [of Kim Jung Un]” revealing that it was Kim’s order. If North Korea is set on aggravating America like this, there is a big likelihood that they will push ahead with their long range missile launch.
But then, there is also the possibility of them pushing their fourth nuclear tests. North Korea has been claiming that they have the intention to cease nuclear testing if the Republic of Korea (ROK)-U.S. military training exercise scheduled for late this February is stopped. After all, they know the cancellation of Key Resolve — the annual defensive training exercise — is nigh impossible, and they use it as an excuse to continue their nuclear testing. In fact, Vincent Stewart, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), showed his concerns about the possibility of the additional North Korean nuclear testing in the written statement before his hearing in the House [Translator’s note: the original text doesn’t specify the committee that held this hearing] last Feb. 3. The U.S. Air Force in South Korea equipped and trained their personnel with Individual Protective Clothing (IPE) in preparation for nuclear and biochemical warfare on Feb. 1.
Yet the South Korean government is complacent. After a few hours of Kim’s threats, President Park Geun-hye said “We are waiting for North Korea to come out and talk with seriousness.” Now is not the time to cling to the hopes of conversation, but for a show of decisive responses. Regardless of the types of threats, we must let them know Kim Jong Un’s regime will be damaged tenfold; only that will suppress their threats. Resumption of nuclear testing or ICBM launch is in direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2087, in addition to Resolution 2094 which has a clause that can be enacted automatically. We need to remind them of this, and send a clear signal that we will retaliate to the maximum.