Experts have long suggested that North Korea intends to develop a thermonuclear bomb that can reach hold targets in the US mainland at risk as a deterrent, for possible diplomatic concessions, and now to prove wrong a tweet from President Donald Trump.
A statement from North Korean state media on Monday directly addressed a Trump tweet from January that said an intercontinental ballistic missile launch from North Korea “won’t happen!”
“The DPRK is about 10,400 km far away from New York. But this is just not a long distance for its strike today,” the statement said, referring to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s official name, and hinting it has ICBM capability.
“Trump blustered early this year that the DPRK’s final access to a nuclear weapon that can reach the US mainland will never happen,” the statement continued. “But the strategic weapons tests conducted by the DPRK clearly proved that the time of its ICBM test is not a long way off at all.”
North Korean media often spreads propaganda and inflated claims about North Korea’s weapons’ capabilities. However, several experts who spoke to Business Insider have said the country could test an ICBM by the end of the year.
The US in May successfully tested a ballistic-missile defense system meant to intercept a nuclear attack from North Korea, but it did so in conditions short of an actual combat situation.
Meanwhile, the US and the international community haven’t succeeded in curtailing Kim Jong Un’s regime, which now conducts tests on a nearly weekly basis.
Under increased pressure from the US and China, North Korea made a sole concession in the past year by hesitating to test another nuclear device.
After North Korean military provocations, Trump has increasingly looked to Beijing, as China is responsible for 90% of North Korea’s outside trade and could collapse its economy in a matter of days.