North Korean nuclear and military activities pose a ‘serious threat’ to the United States and its Asian allies, American intelligence agencies agree.
The assessment came during presentation Tuesday of an unclassified report on worldwide threat to the U.S. discussed in a session of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
National Intelligence Director James Clapper testified to the lawmakers he is “very concerned” about the actions of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and the “very belligerent” rhetoric emanating from his regime.
“The rhetoric, while it is laced with propaganda, is also an indicator of their attitude and perhaps their intent,” Clapper said, according to Bloomberg News. “So for my part, I am very concerned about what they might do.”
Clapper added that he believes that North Korea is fully capable of launching “a provocative action against the south.”
North Korea has formally declared an end to the 1953 armistice that ended the three-year-long Korean War. The Pyongyang government also has shut down the DMZ (demilitarized zone) crisis hotline used by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the ICRC reported Tuesday.
But this is not the first time North Korean saber-rattling has taken place, with Pyongyang periodically issuing threatening statements that it has cancelled the armistice (which cannot be dissolved unilaterally under the terms of the agreement), and posting threatening videos on the Internet against the U.S. and its neighbor, South Korea.
Sometimes in the past it has even been accompanied by limited military action, such as shelling a South Korean island and sinking one of its neighbor’s warships.
The concern around the world, however, has to do with its current drive towards nuclear weaponry, and the onslaught of videos posted on the Internet threatening to aim those weapons of mass destruction at the United States, once they are fully operational.
The trigger for all this rage resulted was the increase in sanctions imposed on North Korea by the United Nations, which were tightened in response to its defiant continuation of testing on its banned nuclear development activities. Even China, North Korea’s lone supporter in the international body, joined in approving the move this time around following its launch in December of a rocket that could conceivably carry a nuclear warhead on a long-range ballistic missile, aimed at reaching the shores of the United States, and the underground test explosion of a new weapon in development.