The world has been shocked by the nuclear tests by North Korea. The UN is threatening sanctions and Secretary of State John Kerry has said that it is extremely concerning… but what does it all mean? What does North Korea want?
According to CNN, “Rather than a bargaining chip used to gain more foreign aid or access to the world stage, it appears that the country’s nuclear weapons program boils down to a matter of dignity and national pride.
First off, it was timed to coincide with North Korea’s National Day on September 9.
In the statement from North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Institute announcing the operation, it said it would continue to develop its weapons for “safeguarding its dignity and right to existence and genuine peace.”
The wording of the announcement also had an emphasis on self-defense, and said it is meant as a protest against the recent punitive measures taken against Pyongyang.
It blamed the “racket of threat and sanctions against the DPRK kicked up by the US-led hostile forces… to find fault with the sovereign state’s exercise of the right to self-defense.”
This is similar to rhetoric seen in May, when state news agency KCNA quoted leader Kim Jong Un as saying the country’s missile testing had “elevated our respect to the world and enemies.”
“For years, we have mocked their nuclear and missile capabilities and 2016 seems to really be about demonstrating what they have and what they can do,” said Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the East Asia Nonproliferation Program (EANP).”
To read CNN’s full assessment of the situation in North Korea, click here.