North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said last month that Pyongyang was preparing a possible atmospheric hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific.
Ri Yong Pil, a senior diplomat in North Korea’s foreign Ministry, hinted CNN that the launch could be soon conducted. The atmospheric hydrogen bomb test would be North Korea’s most powerful detonation to date.
“The foreign minister is very well aware of the intentions of our supreme leader, so I think you should take his words literally,” he said to CNN’s Will Ripley.
If conducted, the atmospheric detonation would be the first since China’s test on October 16th, 1980.
Pyongyang states their nuclear tests are aimed at protecting its sovereignty amid the current tensions in the region. Adding to that, the North Korean regime also believes joint U.S.-South Korean drills are putting pressure on them, and diplomacy cannot be resumed because of it.
“The US is talking about a military option and even practicing military moves. They’re pressuring us on all fronts with sanctions. If you think this will lead to diplomacy, you’re deeply mistaken,” Ri said.
The Pyongyang regime stresses out that the joint drills are aimed at preparing a pre-emptive strike on its territory, and could result in a nuclear war.
“The joint military exercises conducted by the US one after another all the year round on the Korean peninsula are clearly aggressive war exercises in their nature and scale,” North Korea’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ja Song-nam, said in Pyongyang’s most recent letter addressed to France’s UN Ambassador Francois Delattre, the current President of the UNSC, according to RT.
Sanctions approved by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) also has a significant effect on Pyongyang’s aggressiveness. By pressuring them and cutting both their importations and exportations, Kim Jong Un’s destructive behaviour is only being enhanced. I believe that by conducting an atmospheric hydrogen bomb test, Pyongyang is sending a clear message to both the United States and the international community that despite heavy sanctions, Kim Jong Un’s resolve is still pretty clear — he will not yield to outside pressure and will continue his programs regardless of the outcome.
However, it is still one of the best solution to contain his pursuit of having a nuclear weapon capable of reaching all of the United States mainland and destabilizing the already-fragile geopolitical situation in the region. The sanctions are aimed at restricting North Korea with resources for its nuclear program as well as undermining whatever asset the regime has outside North Korea.
The UNSC believes Pyongyang’s ambition are not purely defensive but also a threat to the region. Acquiring nuclear capabilities means they could launch a devastating pre-emptive strike on South Korea if Kim Jong Un wanted to disregard the Korean Armistice Agreement signed in 1953 and restart hostilities against Seoul.