North Korea’s Kim Jong Un will ‘probably’ conduct new nuclear test: US

AFP | , Posted by Ritu Maria Johny

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will test a nuclear device again in his drive to build a nuclear arsenal, a US intelligence report said Wednesday, which he views as the “ultimate guarantor” of his regime.

The 2023 Annual Threat Assessment Report says Kim may continue to fire nuclear-capable missiles in an effort to normalize Pyongyang’s missile testing.

North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests since 2006, with each blast increasing in intensity. Its last nuclear test took place in 2017.

“North Korea may be preparing to test a nuclear device to further its stated military modernization goals,” the report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said.

The report states, “Kim almost certainly views nuclear weapons and ICBMs as the ultimate guarantors of his autocratic regime and has no intention of abandoning those programs, believing that over time he will be able to build a nuclear power.” as will get international acceptance.”

Read also: US imposes new sanctions to limit North Korea’s revenue

It states that North Korea funds its nuclear programs partly from proceeds of criminal activities, including cryptocurrency theft.

“In a robbery in 2022, Pyongyang stole a record $625 million from a Singapore-based blockchain technology firm,” it said.

In recent years, it has tested increasingly rapid intercontinental and ballistic missiles, with more than 60 of them fired last year alone.

Over the past six months, North Korea has “timed its missile launches” to coincide with joint US–South Korea military exercises.

“Pyongyang probably wants the alliance to reduce the pace and scale of the exercises with the ultimate goal of undermining the strength of the US-South Korea defense relationship,” the report said.

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