tirsdag 19. januar 2021

If Kim Jong Un destroyed North Korea's economy to keep Covid-19 out, will sanctions stop him from pursuing nuclear weapons?

After arguably the most challenging year of his near-decade rule of North Korea, Kim Jong Un is sticking to his guns. Kim announced last week at the Eighth Workers' Party Congress -- a meeting for North Korea's governing elite -- that his country plans to beef up Pyongyang's already dangerous nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs with new, sophisticated armaments, such as tactical nuclear weapons designed for use on the battlefield and warheads designed to evade American-made missile defense systems.

And at a parade marking the conclusion of the Congress, Kim's military showed off a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Kim's message was crystal clear: Right now, North Korea needs its nuclear weapons to deter the United States "no matter who is in power," he said -- and no matter the cost.
The young leader's ambitious plans for modernizing his nuclear arsenal will prove expensive, at a time when money is already tight. North Korea voluntarily severed the last of its scant ties with the outside world in 2020 to prevent an influx of Covid-19. That included cutting off almost all trade with Beijing, an economic lifeline the impoverished country needs to keep its people from going hungry.