Korea's official news agency reports North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the country's nuclear weapons be made ready for use. This action follows the firing of a volley of short-range projectiles into the sea to the south after the UN Security Council unanimously passed sanctions targeting North Korea’s banks, mineral exports and cargo vessels.
- *KIM JONG UN VOWS TO BOLSTER NUCLEAR DETERRENT, KCNA SAYS
- *KIM CALLS FOR PREPARING NUCLEAR WARHEADS FOR USE AT ANY MOMENT
The international community is seeking to tighten the screws on North Korea’s economy. But, as Bloomberg explains, with Kim Jong Unmotivated mostly by his quest for prestige at home, tougher United Nations sanctions may not dampen his nuclear ambitions.
Hours after the UN Security Council unanimously passed sanctions targeting North Korea’s banks, mineral exports and cargo vessels, the regime fired a volley of short-range projectiles. It had already urged its people to prepare for the impact of the penalties and called for greater economic self-reliance.
At the heart of North Korea’s defiance -- as shown in its January nuclear test and February long-range rocket launch -- is Kim’s ultimate goal of forcing the world to recognize his country as a nuclear power. That could ensure him a place in the annals of Kim family rule and the respect of the elite, including military chiefs. It would also help him consolidate the power he’s been seeking primarily though a series of bloody purges.
“One part of the nuclear test and rocket launch activity is about Kim Jong Un boosting his domestic profile, giving him accomplishments that he can use for internal retail politics,” said Michael Madden, North Korea Leadership Watch blog editor and a contributor to 38 North, a Johns Hopkins University website. “A lot of the veneration around him is for internal audiences, specifically for indoctrination of certain populations.”
North Korea’s government calls its nuclear arms a “precious sword of justice” that would prevent it from being toppled like regimes in Iraq and Libya. Shortly after the nuclear test, North Korea urged the Obama administration to “get used to North Korea as a nuclear-armed state.” What would president Trump do?