They are more serious than ever before.
On Tuesday, North Korea made shocking statements about its weapons cache. With the country claiming it could strike the U.S. and “shake the world.”
According to Reuters, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry made a statement in which it said, “In today’s world where many countries waste time dealing with the United States with submission and blind obedience, there’s only our country on this planet that can shake the world by firing a missile with the U.S. mainland in its range.”
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry then went on to tout its military capability, saying “There are more than 200 countries in the world, but only a few have hydrogen bombs, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and hypersonic missiles.”
In 2017, Pyongyang created the still untested Hwasong-15, a weapon now referenced by the Foreign Ministry as vital to its arsenal. Supposedly the Hwasong-15 is the country’s longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and could potentially have the range to strike the U.S.
These statements by North Korea’s Foreign Ministry follow a month of significantly elevated testing activity, with Pyongyang launching seven missiles in January of this year, a number that exceeded the total of tests conducted in 2021.
Reports suggest that a hypersonic glide vehicle and the intermediate-range ballistic missile Hwasong-12 were part of these tests.
If Pyongyang has completed testing on a hypersonic glide vehicle, it would join the ranks of China and Russia, who have also tested the lower altitude space crafts, something that would be a challenge for U.S. systems to track after it launched because of its heightened maneuverability at lower altitudes.
These tests signal a potentially dangerous step in North Korea’s international relations, backtracking on the self-imposed sanctions initiated after General Secretary Kim Jong Un held direct negotiations with then-President Donald Trump following a series of mid-range ballistic missile tests conducted by Pyongyang.
Jong Un’s backtracking comes after recent U.S. sanctions that targeted five North Korean officials –– who had assisted with acquiring necessary materials to develop the hypersonic glide weapons –– living outside the country.