It would appear as though North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is starting to get a bit bold again.
Numerous reports, including one from Fox News, have alleged that testing has begun of an engine for a long-range missile that North Korea just might be ready to launch at the United States as a special “Christmas gift.”
The year started off very promising, with President Donald Trump meeting with Kim to negotiate a nuclear deal. It seemed as though Trump would finally be able to do what no other president had been capable of doing in the modern era: denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
Then, suddenly, negotiations seemed to grind to a halt, with no new progress being made in months. Several months ago, Kim issued a formal deadline, saying he wanted to see progress on this by the end of the year.
If not, it was rumored he would start testing his missiles again, possibly even carrying out an attack of some sort. More recently, North Korea threatened to send a “Christmas gift” to the United States.
The nation further stated that the progress in the nuclear negotiations would dictate which present Pyongyang decided to send. The statement was a very clever ultimatum, but it was an ultimatum nonetheless. Now, that deadline is about to pass, so just what can we expect from Kim?
According to reports — which were recently confirmed by our Defense Secretary Mark Esper — North Korea is definitely cooking something up. A test was carried out earlier this month for a possible long-range missile engine.
Esper is very cautious about the capabilities of North Korea and believes we need to do something now to address this issue.
He remarked: “We need to get serious and sit down and have discussions about a political agreement that denuclearizes the peninsula. That is the best way forward and arguably the only way forward if we’re going to do something constructive.”
Trump has been rather quiet on this front for some time, but it may be time to at least address the issue publicly and put Kim on notice.
Kim is clearly not worried about sanctions or anything else right now; he has already carried out almost two dozen missile tests this year, all in violation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions. In that vein, it would not be surprising to see him use Christmas as the stage for his latest “test.”
While Kim has been known to blow smoke on a regular basis, our military is ready should Kim choose to actually pull the trigger. When asked about the latest threat, Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: “We always maintain very high levels of readiness.”