North Korea Is Doubling Down On Its Nuclear Missile Program

Things are escalating quickly.

Kim Jong Un, that cherub-cheeked young dictator who rules North Korea with a chubby iron hand, can’t seem to keep his itchy thumbs away from nuclear buttons — and he’s making his neighbors in Asia and the West pretty nervous.

A Reuters report on North Korea’s attitude regarding its nascent nuclear weapons and missiles program indicates just how serious the dear leader really is. North Korean U.N. ambassador So Se Pyong told the news service Friday that North and South Korea are currently close to an active state of war, stating that “[if] the United States continues [to develop nuclear arms], then we have to make the counter-measures also. So we have to develop, and we have to make more deterrence, nuclear deterrence.”

While North Korea has a history of issuing bombastic statements and threats, there has been ample recent evidence they are growing more serious and proactive—not merely rattling sabers but brandishing them. In March alone, the North released a video dramatizing a nuclear attack on Washington DC, threatened the U.S. with a preemptive nuclear strike (that they likely couldn’t launch, but whatever), and the UPI reported Thursday that they’d begun jamming GPS signals in South Korea. 

North Korea is now faced with renewed commitments by Japan, South Korea and the United States to tighten the screws. China has also shown concern about the communist nation’s nuclear ambitions. Regarding its giant sometimes-ally, Ambassador So told Reuters that his country will go their “own way” and are “not having dialogue and discussions” with China regarding their plans.

“We are busy to deal with this semi-war status of the situation on the peninsula now,” So said to Reuters, before later stating that the idea of de-nuclearization on the Korean Peninsula “is gone.” The Koreas have technically remained in a state of war since the 1950s. The clear implication was that cold conflict might truly soon grow hot again.

As if to punctuate So’s words, South Korea stated Friday that the North had fired off yet another missile, which landed in waters off the democratic country’s east coast. 

h/t Reuters