On Thursday, a new U.S. intelligence report revealed that Kim Jong-un would likely use North Korean Nuclear Weapons to coerce political concessions from South Korea and its allies.
“North Korea could also potentially utilize non-nuclear and non-lethal tactics to achieve its objectives in the future against Seoul,” said the Director of National Intelligence.
“This assessment is based on the belief that possessing nuclear weapons will act as a deterrent against counter-offensives,” said DNI.
“We assess that through 2030, Kim Jong-un most likely will continue to pursue a strategy of coercion, potentially including non-nuclear lethal attacks, aimed at advancing the North’s goals of intimidating its neighbors, extracting concessions, and bolstering the regime’s military credentials domestically,” said DNI in a report, titled “National Intelligence Estimate” (NIE) on North Korea.
“Kim, who has relied largely on non-lethal coercive measures throughout his rule, probably will employ targeted diplomatic and covert actions and may use limited military force to raise tensions as a means to press key foreign governments into adopting positions favorable to his objectives, confident that his growing nuclear capabilities will deter any unacceptable retaliation or consequence,” the report added.
According to Sydney Seiler, National Intelligence Officer for North Korea at the National Intelligence Council, the report, dated Jan. 2023, was released Thursday as part of the DNI’s transparency efforts.
This is of importance because North Korea has significantly escalated its ballistic missile activities in the past year. Kim’s isolated nation has launched nearly 100 missiles since the beginning of last year. The country fired a record-breaking 69 ballistic missiles in 2022 alone.
On Wednesday, North Korea criticized U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken‘s recent visit to China, labeling it as a begging trip. “ Xi Jinping should encourage North Korea to stop launching missiles as Beijing holds a “unique position” to press Pyongyang to engage in diplomacy,” said Blinken.
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Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Virginia Van Zandt