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North Korea Defies the World With Nuclear Ambitions: QuickTake

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North Korea isn’t your regular totalitarian dictatorship. Yes, it has an appalling human rights record, corruption and poverty are rife, and there is no political or economic freedom to speak of. Yet a couple of chilling characteristics set it apart: a nuclear weapons program and a ruthless young leader. Whether Kim Jong
North Korea isn’t your regular totalitarian dictatorship. Yes, it has an appalling human rights record, corruption and poverty are rife, and there is no political or economic freedom to speak of. Yet a couple of chilling characteristics set it apart: a nuclear weapons program and a ruthless young leader. Whether Kim Jong Un’s military is capable of an effective nuclear strike is open to question. But the Asian country’s aggressive rhetoric and regular missile tests, in defiance of United Nations resolutions, are vexing the international community and pressuring China, North Korea’s only major ally, to rein in its errant neighbor. U. S. President Donald Trump has threatened to deal with Kim’s regime “very strongly,” saying all options — including military ones — are on the table.
The Situation
After a year of escalating tensions, Kim opened 2018 on a conciliatory note by calling for talks with South Korea and sending a team there for the Winter Olympics. In March, South Korean envoys said North Korea was willing to give up its nuclear weapons if the safety of Kim’s regime is guaranteed. The rhetoric had toughened markedly in 2017, with Kim’s regime saying it would make the U. S. “pay dearly” for sanctions and Trump threatening to unleash “fire and fury.” The backdrop was North Korea’s acceleration of its weapons and missile program and the regime’s declaration that its nuclear force was complete. It test-fired long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles and said the entire U. S. was now in range; it fired missiles over Japan; it threatened the U. S. territory of Guam; and it carried out its sixth nuclear test, detonating what it said was a hydrogen bomb that could be fitted onto an ICBM. The UN Security Council approved tougher sanctions against North Korea in August and again in December. Some military analysts upgraded their assessment of North Korea’s nuclear capability, with one study concluding the country had successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

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