How and why North Korea developed into a nuclear power

VOA's report, quoting USA government and other sources with that story Wednesday, was updated Thursday by a source within the US intelligence community: "U.S. intelligence is always on the alert for a possible North Korean weapons test. Kim Jong Un wants his country to be validated as a nuclear power, and a test would further that goal".

There has been much speculation about when the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will conduct its next nuclear test, with some looking to the upcoming birthday of founding president Kim Il-sung, or the "Day of The Sun" on Saturday as a likely date, or the anniversary of the Korean People's Army (KPA) on April 25.

In an interview with CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy on Friday, North Korea's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Han Song Ryol, accused the Trump administration of wanting to "annihilate" the regime and said they are ready to launch a "pre-emptive strike" if the US threatens to attack their country.

The portraits of late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are seen lit at dawn at Kim Il Sung Square on Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

"North Korea is a problem", Trump said April 13.

Director of Jilin University's Institute of Northeast Asian Studies Guo Rui said that Trump's domestic troubles should prevent him taking such action, while North Korea doesn't appear to be on a war footing.

Vice Minister Han Song Ryol said Pyongyang has determined the Trump administration is "more vicious and more aggressive" than that of Barack Obama.

Weapons analysts said they believed some of the missiles on display were new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

Pyongyang has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations and unilateral sanctions.

Even as the North spent years and billions developing a nuclear capacity, it also signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which forbids the development of a nuclear program.

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President Donald Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago last week. Last week, North Korea fired a ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.

North Korea's Pukkuksong submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) were also on parade.

"The United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent", Wang said after a meeting with the visiting French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, according to the report. Trump brushed off questions about whether the bombing was a message for Pyongyang, but he stressed his feeling that North Korea was "a problem that will be taken care of".

There's also anger in Pyongyang over the annual spring military exercises that the US holds with South Korea. -North Korea confrontation, saying the "the storm is about to break".

Trump and aides have said the United States would address North Korea on its own if China didn't. That would, however, require a spectacular roll-back by Pyongyang of its current nuclear capability, which includes long-range missiles that can reach targets in the Pacific.

As for the Trump administration's policy, the USA officials emphasized that no engagement of North Korea is currently taking place, and that the focus now was on pressure. He diverted the Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its strike group towards the Korean peninsula last weekend in a show of force.

Trump has threatened that if Beijing isn't willing to do more to squeeze the North, the US might take the matter into its own hands.

Washington and Seoul deny that, but reports that exercises have included "decapitation strikes" aimed at the North's leadership have fanned Pyongyang's anger.

As for when the next nuclear test would take place, "that is something that our headquarters decides", he said.

Lately, the United States has stated on many occasions that all possible options to deal with North Korea are under consideration. In recent years, it has marked the date with rocket and missile tests.

Concern has grown since the U.S. Navy fired Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield last week in response to a deadly gas attack.

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