North Korea is contemplating whether it should resume its nuclear and long-range missile testing this year as it seeks to deal with the new US administration on its own terms, according to a US intelligence report on Tuesday. The report states that North Korea is preparing to carry out their first nuclear weapons test since President Joe Biden came into office.
Besides the report from the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) also says that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may take a "number of aggressive" actions against the United States. Needless to say, this may further escalate tensions between the Washington and Pyongyang, which has already been on the rise over the past few months.
North Korea at It Again?
According to a Yonhap News Agency report, the ODNI has warned that Kim Jong-un may take a spate of aggressive actions against the United States. Moreover, to showcase its might North Korea might also test nuclear and long-range missiles.
"North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may take a number of aggressive and potentially destabilizing actions to reshape the regional security environment and drive wedges between the United States and its allies — up to and including the resumption of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) testing," the report states.
However, the report stated that North Korea is still open for denuclearization talks since Pyongyang is yet to resume its nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) testing. "Despite announcing an end to North Korea's self-imposed moratorium on nuclear weapons and ICBM testing in December 2019, Kim thus far has not conducted long-range missile testing and has left the door open to future denuclearization talks with the United States," the report states.
Still a Threat
Although the report mentions that Kim hasn't conducted any nuclear missile tests since in recent times, the threat of another round of tests looms large, as North Korea has been getting aggressive lately. North Korea conducted its sixth and last nuclear test in September 2017.
It has been more than a decade since and has also maintained a self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile testing since November 2017. But it has been testing its short-range ballistic missiles lately and firing two short-range ballistic missiles in March. The report states that Kim will continue to display his power by advancing its conventional military capabilities which is equally big a threat to the United States and South Korea in particular.
"We assess that Kim views nuclear weapons as the ultimate deterrent against foreign intervention and believes that over time he will gain international acceptance and respect as a nuclear power," the report read. "North Korea will pose an increasing threat to the United States, South Korea, and Japan as it continues to improve its conventional military capabilities, providing Kim with diverse tools to advance his political objectives or inflict heavy losses if North Korea were attacked."
The unclassified report suggested the level of pressure currently put on North Korea may not be enough to persuade the North to denuclearize. Besides, the report also mentions that North Korea's cyber capabilities also pose an equally big threat to the United States and its allies.