As it prepares to ‘confront’ the US, North Korea threatened to resume long-range and nuclear missile testing.

Kim Jong Un has not tested inter-continental ballistic missiles or nukes since 2017 after putting launches on hold, but fears are growing the tests will restart after the US crossed a ‘danger line’.

As Kim seeks to strengthen the military to counter ‘hostile moves from the US,’ Pyongyang is conducting a series of weapons tests this week. 

Washington placed new sanctions on North Korea last week. They claimed it was an ‘invasion’, and increased conventional weapon tests. North Korea promised a stronger and more certain response to Washington’s efforts to control it.

According to KCNA, a report from Thursday’s meeting of the Politburo was that the US’s hostile policy and military threat have crossed a line that cannot be ignored.

North Korea has threatened to resume its nuclear and long-range missile tests as it prepares for 'confrontation' with the US

North Korea is preparing for “confrontation” with the US by threatening to resume nuclear and long-range missile test.

KCNA reports that the top North officials ‘unanimously agreed’ to make better preparations for a long-term confrontation against US imperialists.

This includes examining restarting all temporarily-suspended activities, the report added.

North Korea’s sixth and most recent nuclear explosive device testing was conducted in September 2017, and the country launched its last ICBM in November 2017. 

Experts believe Kim may be reviving Pyongyang’s traditional playbook of brinkmanship in order to get concessions from Washington. He is struggling with an economy that has been crippled by mismanagement, the pandemic and US-led sanctions regarding his nuclear ambitions. 

Following the Biden administration’s last week imposition of new sanctions for North Korea’s missile-testing activities, the Foreign Ministry in the North had warned about stronger and expliciter action. 

A closed-door session of the UN Security Council is scheduled for Thursday, to address North Korea’s non-proliferation issues.

On Monday, North Korea carried out a test of a tactical guided missile as it ramps up its militarisation

North Korea tested a tactical-guided missile on Monday as part of its military expansion.

Boo SeungChan, spokesperson for South Korea’s Defense Ministry said that it closely monitors North Korea’s military activity but did not make any assumptions about the North’s future plans.

It is a sensitive time for the region with Kim’s only major ally China hosting the Winter Olympics in February and South Korea readying to hold a presidential election March. 

North Korea waited for the US to give it its chance during Joe Biden’s first-year in office. But, with no offers for high-level negotiations, they have moved on. Hong Min, Korea Institute for National Unification, Seoul, stated that North Korea has now offered talks.

He said that it was almost 2017 once again. This refers to a year when Pyongyang had tested nukes, ICBMs, and Kim Jong Un, a ‘little rocket man,’ exchanged barbs.

He stated that ICBM launches would be conducted by North Korea after the North had made the announcement.

Ankit Panda, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, agreed that although nuclear testing seemed unlikely it was possible to conduct long-range missile tests.

When Washington imposed fresh sanctions last week, North Korea said it was a 'provocation'

North Korea claimed that Washington’s latest sanctions were a provocation when it imposed new ones last week.

Kim Jong Un is “reiterating the message he delivered in late 2019: That US actions don’t give him any reason to follow his self-imposed moratorium.”

Panda reported that Kim had placed new long-range missile launch plans on his military modernisation plan last January. However, he always linked a return of such tests with US actions.

He said that the latest round of sanctions had unfortunately precipitated such a move.

Rachel Minyoung Lee from the Stimson center said that the latest KCNA missive’s wording suggests that ‘Pyongyang may leave some flexibility, depending on the Biden administration’s response’.

The United States called the nation to cease its illegal and destabilizing actions earlier this week, after North Korea said that it will seek UN sanctions.

However, China’s special representative for Korean peninsula affairs has scuttled the idea of holding a meeting with the security council to address new curbs against the North’s struggling economy.

Liu Xiaoming tweeted that ‘The #SecurityCouncil does not plan to discuss this so-called draft resolution regarding sanctions against the #DPRK.’

While it is flexing its military muscle, North Korea has quietedly resumed cross-border commerce with China, despite being reeling from an economic blockade by coronavirus.

The first freight train carrying North Korean cargo arrived in Dandong, China’s border town, last weekend.

Analyst at Washington’s Center for a New American Security Duyeon Kim said that North Korea’s claims of US hostility are a pretext for testing.

Pyongyang has made it clear that its military will force Pyongyang to achieve its nuclear weapons milestones. She said that there will be more tests. 

“The pandemic in North Korea has given Pyongyang enough time to make nuclear weapons. North Korea is now closed at its borders. Pyongyang refuses direct talks for fear of getting the virus.

Kim Jong Un has shown some of the new weapons he might wish to test in recent years, including what appears to have been North Korea’s biggest-ever ICBM. It was unveiled during a military parade that took place in October 2020.

In addition to announcing an ambitious list of advanced weaponry in the first quarter of last year, he also set a five-year strategy for developing military forces. This included spy satellites, submarine-launched nukes, and hypersonic missiles.

Experts say that if the North conducts another nuclear test it could use it to prove it has the capability to make a small nuclear weapon to mount on its hypersonic missile, which it had tested twice already this year.

The US Treasury Department placed sanctions last week on five North Koreans in response to North Korea’s earlier missile tests.

For their support of North Korea’s weapons-of-mass destruction activities, the State Department placed sanctions on a Russian citizen and another North Korean. 

Biden’s administration said that additional UN sanctions would be applied to North for its continued testing.