North Korea says its threat of an atmospheric H-bomb test should be taken seriously

A North Korean diplomat, Ri Yong Ho, is warning the U.S. and others to take Pyongyang’s threat to conduct an atmospheric test of an atomic bomb seriously.

In recent weeks the government of Kim Jong-un has said it would test an H-bomb by detonating it over the Pacific Ocean.

CNN reported that according to North Korean officials in the foreign ministry, it is “increasingly likely” that such a test will be carried out.

“The foreign minister is very well aware of the intentions of our supreme leader,” Ri said, “so I think you should take his word literally.”

The report also noted that the North Koreans have refused to hold further back-door discussions with the U.S. after President Trump’s fiery speech at the United Nations earlier this fall, in which he threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if provoked. It was the same speech in which he began using the derogatory term “rocket man” to describe Kim.

Analyst comment: It’s possible that should North Korea make good on its pledge to detonate an atomic bomb over a portion of the Pacific that President Trump and his national security team will see that as a direct threat to U.S. national security interests and green-light a preemptive strike. The president has the firepower in the region, now that three aircraft carrier groups are in the 7th Fleet’s Asia-Pacific area of responsibility.

Why it’s on our radar: Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 3: What are the latest indicators of a U.S.-North Korea war?  Each week in our Strategic Intelligence Summary, we gauge the likelihood and scope of conflict with Russia, China, North Korea, and in the Middle East, and track the latest developments in each region.  Subscribe here to receive our premium intelligence products prepared by Intelligence and special operations veterans.

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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