Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, is said to be continuing his quest for radioactive weapons, which are allegedly funded through a mix of crime and arms trafficking.
Image: KCNA VIA KNS / AFP via Getty Image)
Kim Jong-un’s North Korea has been branded a “catastrophic threat” to global security – as fears grow over the regime’s nuclear capabilities.
The tyrant is said to continue his quest for radioactive weapons, which are allegedly funded through a mix of crime and arms trafficking.
It is believed that Jong-un has developed a weapons program in the middle of a riot against talks aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missiles in exchange for US sanctions.
President Joe Biden’s administration had previously said it was open to diplomacy to achieve North Korea’s dismantling, but had shown no willingness to ease sanctions.
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Scott Snyder, a senior fellow in Korean studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, said Jong-un’s state is the most “potentially catastrophic security threat” in 2021.
His warning comes after North Korea fired two ballistic missiles, South Korea said on Wednesday – upsetting Japan and threatening to disrupt peace.
The launch from the east coast followed an announcement from Pyongyang, which said it was successfully testing a new long-range cruise missile last weekend.
Mr Snyder told me The Sun Online that Jong-un has been “transparent” about his intentions to develop more weapons over the next five years.
He said: “What is more difficult to predict is how realistic these ambitions are, but past history suggests the likelihood of ongoing progress towards these goals.”
KCNA VIA KNS / AFP via Getty Image)
Experts have said they believe the leader is now funding his arms race by getting North Korea involved in lucrative crime, such as hacking.
Dr Ramon Pacheco-Pardo, from King’s College London, said cybercrime is likely to be Pyongyang’s “main source of income” right now due to the closure of the Covid border.
But arms deals with countries such as Syria, Iran, Somalia and many more nations are also believed to give money to the secret state.
Jong-un had been conspicuous by his absence from public events in North Korea earlier this week, before a new, narrower version of the dictator emerged in recent weeks.
He was then seen smiling and waving to the crowd at a bizarre military parade last week, which featured soldiers dressed in Covid Hazmat costumes.
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But there are fears that his nuclear targets and pranks could disrupt stability in East Asia – with missile tests over the past 24 hours adding fuel to the fire.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called the ballistic launch “outrageous” and strongly condemned the move as a threat to peace and security in the region.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement that they and US intelligence services were analyzing more details about the launches.
The statement said: “North Korea fired two unidentified ballistic missiles from its central inner region to the east coast, and intelligence services in South Korea and the United States are conducting detailed analysis for further information.”
The South Korean military has raised its surveillance level and maintains a “full alert” in close cooperation with the United States, JCS added.