Sam Kim – December 31, 2016
Kim Jong Un said North Korea is in the “last stage” of preparations to test-fire an inter-continental ballistic missile, adding to claims his isolated country has the technology to threaten the U.S. as Donald Trump prepares to take office.
Kim hinted at progress in developing the missile while outlining his regime’s military achievements over the last year, according to a transcript of his New Year address released Sunday by the official Korean Central News Agency. Still, Pyongyang isn’t showing any particular signs of an imminent launch, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Monday in a briefing posted on the government website.
North Korea “will continue to strengthen its ability based on nuclear might to mount a preemptive attack,” Kim said during a half-hour speech that touched on issues including economic policy and ties with South Korea. Pyongyang has conducted three nuclear tests under Kim and launched rockets as it develops its arsenal. It has shunned U.S. demands to freeze its arms development in order for international disarmament talks to resume.