North Korean President Kim Jong-un looks like he wants a war, meaning that this weekend’s provocative posturing is much more worrisome than in the past.
Taunting Trump, Pyongyang today showed off a “Franken Missile” — a new type of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) that hadn’t been seen before.
Get smart fast: In the past, North Korea has aligned their displays of army force with significant dates. In 2014, hours after the United States, Japan, and South Korea held a summit to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability, the nation tested two midrange missiles for the first time in 5 years. They tested a Taepo Dong 2, its longest-range and most provocative missile, as the U.S. celebrated Independence Day in 2006.
The media’s battle drums began at the start of this tense weekend of geopolitical risk:
- The Guardian: “On Saturday morning in Pyongyang, army vehicles and tens of thousands of soldiers filled Kim Il-sung Square as a band played rousing army music.”
- The lead of BBC News is the stark “North Korea ‘ready for nuclear attack'”: “The comments came as North Korea marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founding president, Kim Il-sung. ‘We are prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war,’ said Choe Ryong-hae, believed to be the country’s second most powerful official.”
- “An expert on North Korean weapons said the new hardware appeared to be far more advanced than expected.”
- WSJ’s Jonathan Cheng In Seoul: “The weaponry on show, which appeared to include a newly-modified intercontinental ballistic missile and two types of large launchers with never-before-seen missile canisters, is likely to trigger fresh concerns about the speed with which Pyongyang’s missile program has advanced.”
- Pulling Back The Camera: “World power whiplash: U.S. President reverses views on China, Russia,” by AP’s Josh Lederman: “Once hard on China and soft on Russia, President Trump rapidly reversed course in the last weeks, concluding there’s more business to be done with Beijing than with Moscow.”
- Why It Matters: “Donald Trump’s evolving views have brought the United States back into alignment with former President Obama’s pattern of ‘great power’ politics.”