North Korea Suggests It May ‘Restart’ Nuclear, ICBM Tests

People watch a television news screen showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch, at a railway station in Seoul on August 29, 2017. Nuclear-armed North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean on August 29 amid tensions over its weapons ambitions
AFP/JUNG Yeon-Je

North Korea suggested this week it may resume “all temporally-suspended activities,” seemingly referring to Pyongyang’s “nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests,” South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported on Thursday.

The suggestion was made on January 19 during a politburo meeting of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) chaired by WPK General Secretary Kim Jong-un, according to Yonhap, which cited an original report by North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Kim and other participants of Wednesday’s policymaking session vowed to make preparations for a “long-term confrontation” with the United States, KCNA revealed. The leading WPK officials said a “hostile policy and military threat by the U.S. have reached a danger line that cannot be overlooked anymore.”

The politburo session instructed an appropriate sector of North Korea’s government “to promptly examine the issue of restarting all temporally-suspended activities,” KCNA relayed.

“The meeting of the Political Bureau reassigned the policy tasks for the national defense of immediately bolstering more powerful physical means which can efficiently control the hostile moves of the U.S. against the DPRK getting ever more serious day by day,” according to the report.

DPRK refers to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is North Korea’s official name for itself.

North Korea’s military suspended its testing of nuclear missiles and ICBMs in 2018, though it has continued to test-launch a series of short-range missiles since then. Pyongyang carried out four rounds of short-range ballistic missile tests between January 5 and January 17. The Communist-ruled nation claimed two of the projectiles tested during the time period were “hypersonic missiles.”

Kim Jong-un announced North Korea’s decision to halt nuclear and ICBM testing in April 2018 ahead of planned denuclearization talks with then-U.S. President Donald Trump. Just two months later in June 2018, Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to visit North Korea when he held in-person negotiations with Kim aimed at denuclearizing Pyongyang. The progress made by Trump’s administration in denuclearizing North Korea did not last, however.

Talks between the two sides broke down by 2019 and the current administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has not made further headway on the matter.

Biden’s administration imposed fresh sanctions against North Korea’s weapons program on January 12 in response to its short-range missile launches days earlier on January 5 and January 11. The action seemingly prompted Pyongyang to retaliate by test-launching additional missiles on January 14 and 17.

“Experts say the North could further ramp up pressure on the U.S. with more weapons tests, especially as it is set to mark key national holidays — the 80th birthday of Kim’s late father, Kim Jong-il, on Feb. 16 and the 110th birthday of his late grandfather, Kim Il-sung, on April 15 — in the coming months,” Yonhap noted on January 20.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.