As COVID-19 upends millions of lives as well as traditional notions of security and the global economy, North Korea offers a stark reminder that the United States and its allies must still tend to military threats.Pyongyang set a single-month record of nine missile launches this spring and declared it is now “more zealous for our important planned projects aimed to repay the U.S. with actual horror and unrest for the sufferings it has inflicted upon our people.” This was undoubtedly a reminder of Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s promise to soon unveil a “new strategic weapon” and his willingness to use it.
Does this portend a return to provocations and hostility reminiscent of 2017? There are good reasons to be concerned. Kim has called for “shocking” and “offensive” measures in charting a “new path” with the United States and South Korea. The return to missile tests, exercises and vitriol could be just the beginning. Similarly concerning are reports of political, economic and COVID-related uncertainty inside North Korea, given its purported history of lashing out in tough times to bolster domestic support for the Kim regime. READ MORE>>>