A high-profile North Korean defector said North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un is “desperate in maintaining his rule by relying on his [development of] nuclear weapons and ICBM” with which to strike the United States and its allies.
In an interview with NBC News, Thae Yong-Ho, a senior defector with rare insight into the secretive, authoritarian regime, said, “Once [Kim Jong-Un] sees that there is any kind of sign of a tank or an imminent threat from America, then he would use his nuclear weapons with ICBM.”
ICBM — intercontinental ballistic missiles — are long-range rockets that could be capable of reaching the United States. Although North Korea has not demonstrated the ability to attach its estimated eight nuclear weapons to an ICMB, analysts are not sure how close the regime is to accomplishing this feat.
In January, a senior North Korean regime official told NBC News his government was ready to conduct a test-fire “at any time, at any place.” This latest threat has left American officials troubled, according to the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Adm. Scott Swift.
“They have the nuclear capability — they’ve demonstrated that. And then, where they’re going with the miniaturization of that, whether they can actually weaponize a missile, that’s what’s driving the current concern.”
Under Kim’s rule, North Korea has continued to increase its missile and nuclear tests, defining the dictatorship through creating a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the U.S. Since coming into power in 2012, he has conducted five nuclear tests — more than were tested in the rest of the country’s history, combined.
According to Thae, “Kim Jong-Un is a man who can do anything beyond the normal imagination,” and “the final and the real solution to the North Korean nuclear issue is to eliminate Kim Jong-Un from the post.”
Analysts believe Kim views nuclear control as an insurance policy to thwart threats against him like those that happened with Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein — both who were overthrown by Western-led forces after relinquishing their weapons of mass destruction programs.
The Trump administration continues to respond to North Korea’s nuclear threat. The president recently stated that “something had to be done” about North Korea, while Defense Secretary James Mattis said the country “has got to be stopped” and Sec. of State Rex Tillerson said military action was “on the table.”
See Thae Yong-Ho discuss his defection from North Korea below:
H/T: NBC News
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