North Korea: Nuclear Testing Will ‘Speed Up at the Maximum Pace’

In this image made from video released by KRT on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, North Korea launches four missiles in an undisclosed location North Korea. On Monday, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles in an apparent protest against ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills that it views as an invasion rehearsal. …
KRT via AP Video

On Monday, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement of defiance against international pressure to halt its nuclear weapons development, insisting it will instead accelerate nuclear testing.

“Now that the U.S. is kicking up the overall racket for sanctions and pressure against the DPRK, pursuant to its new DPRK policy called ‘maximum pressure and engagement’, the DPRK will speed up at the maximum pace the measure for bolstering its nuclear deterrence,” said the Foreign Ministry, making customary use of the term DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) to refer to North Korea.

“Measures for bolstering the nuclear force to the maximum will be taken in a consecutive and successive way at any moment and any place decided by its supreme leadership,” the statement added, effectively promising more surprise nuclear bomb and long-range missile tests.

On Sunday, North Korean state-run media advised “the U.S. and the puppet group of traitors” it leads to “ponder over the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by their foolish military provocation, and stop running wild.”

President Trump described North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un as “very threatening” and said, “we have to be prepared to do what we have to do,” in an interview on Sunday. The U.S. House of Representatives is currently debating expanded sanctions on North Korean shipping and exported “slave labor,” as Fox News puts it.

“We are not seeking regime change and our preference is to resolve this problem peacefully, but we are not leaving anything off the table,” said Susan Thornton, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department, becoming the latest U.S. official to refuse to rule out military action against North Korea’s nuclear program.

“I’ll just say that I think the crisis on the Korea peninsula is real; it’s the worst I’ve seen,” Admiral Harry Harris of the U.S. Pacific Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee last Thursday. He was responding to a question about whether the North Korea situation was comparable to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“I’m not a student of the Cuban missile crisis,” Harris continued. “But what I know of it, it seems that we are faced with a threat and a leader who is intent on achieving his goal of a nuclear capability against the United States.”