(NaturalNews) Stalinist North Korea warned in late January the country would conduct new nuclear weapons tests in the near future, further complicating relations with the U.S. and its South Korean ally while adding yet another element of uncertainty to an increasingly volatile part of the world.
In its most aggressive rhetoric towards Washington since Kim Jong-un took the reins of power, the North Korean military announced Jan. 24, three days after President Obama's second-term inauguration, that the tests would be forthcoming. In addition, the military; in a lengthy statement, pledged to further build up its already vast, if not largely outmoded, conventional arsenal.
The statement, released through state media by the North's National Defense Commission, Pyongyang appeared to admonish the U.N. Security Council and "repeatedly challenged the U.S. role in pushing sanctions aimed at neutralizing the goading nuclear state," MSNBC's Martin Bashir reported.
More North Korean nuke testing coming?
The move of abject defiance comes after a Security Council meeting days before in which the body unanimously adopted a resolution that tightens existing sanctions against Pyongyang while condemning a Dec. 12 rocket launch as a violation of an existing resolution. China, one of North Korea's few international allies, joined with the U.S. and other countries in supporting the new resolution (which, like previous resolutions, was toothless and ineffectual).
"The U.S. is taking the lead in encroaching upon the sovereignty of the DPRK, its allies are siding with it and the U.N. Security Council has been reduced into an organization bereft of impartiality and balance," said the defense commission's statement.
Most of the hostile language, as in the past, was directed towards Washington.
"We do not hide that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets which will be launched by the DPRK one after another and a nuclear test of higher level which will be carried out by it in the upcoming all-out action, a new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle that has lasted century after century, will target against the U.S., the sworn enemy of the Korean people," the statement said. "Settling accounts with the U.S. needs to be done with force, not with words as it regards jungle law as the rule of its survival."
The commission goes on to challenge what it said was a "more dangerous phase" in U.S. policy toward the North, insisting that only the "denuclearization" of the United States and the other nuclear powers would stop Pyongyang from pursuing its own nukes.
As expected, U.S. officials were less than enthused by the commission's statement.
"We think that would be a mistake obviously," said Glyn Davies, a special envoy to North Korea, regarding the military's vow to resume nuclear weapons testing. "We call on North Korea as does the entire international community not to engage in any further provocations."
Historically, North Korea has ignored such toothless warnings and no doubt will do so again, if its leaders feel like renewed nuclear testing is in the country's best interests.
Successive U.S. administrations, beginning with the Clinton White House in the 1990s, have been unsuccessful in deterring North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
'It's the end of life as we know it'
The Clinton administration thought it had struck a deal with Kim's father, Kim Jong-il, in October 1994, which called on the North to end construction of nuclear reactors suspected of being part of a covert nuclear weapons program in exchange for two proliferation-resistant nuclear power reactors. The U.S. was also to provide cash and resource-starved Pyongyang with fuel oil pending construction of the non-threatening reactors.
Clinton took credit for curbing the North's nuclear ambitions but in 2002, a year into the administration of George W. Bush, the North admitted it had maintained a clandestine program all along.
Though the North cannot hope to equal the United States in terms of offensive nuclear weapons capability, the country still poses a grave threat to U.S. national security nonetheless. North Korea doesn't have much infrastructure as it is, but we do, and one well-placed nuclear electromagnetic pulse strike over parts of the U.S. would be catastrophic.
Delivering a burst of electromagnetic radiation hundreds of miles above the country would wreak havoc on the nation's electrical grid; the resultant damage would cripple all electrical infrastructures.
A number of U.S. military ground, air and naval weapons systems are "hardened" against EMP strikes. But the nation's infrastructure is not.