North Korea: Military parade shows off new ballistic missiles
The North Korean despot was one of the only foreign leaders who didn’t congratulate Mr Biden on his presidential election win in November. During recent political speeches, he has also vowed to strengthen his nuclear weapons programme. North Korea is known for testing new US administrations with missile launches in an attempt to force the leaders back to the negotiating table.
Scott A Snyder, a senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on US-Korea policy at Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), warned North Korea could be a “catastrophic threat” to Mr Biden due to his predecessor Donald Trump.
He said: “President Obama warned president-elect Trump in November 2016 that the most vexing international security threat he would face would emanate from North Korea.
“Two nuclear tests, myriad long-range missile tests, and three Trump-Kim summits later, the magnitude and likelihood of North Korea posing a catastrophic threat to US national interests is greater than it was four years ago.”
Kim previously said there had been a major advancement in the hermit nation’s weapons technology earlier this year, before adding the regime is in the “final stage” of developing hypersonic weapons.
Speaking during a 30-minute televised speech, he said: “We are in the final stages of test-launching the intercontinental ballistic missile.”
Hypersonic missiles are said to be able to travel 4,000 miles per hour, potentially wiping out any region within three hours.
Justin Hastings, a professor in International Relations at the University of Sydney, added the country could be at risk of pushing the US too far with its latest missile threats.
He told news.com.au: “North Korea has been developing increasingly sophisticated nuclear weapons and long-range missiles … and every time they test them it can lead to instability in the region.
“The US and its allies and the UN impose sanctions but at the same time North Korea behaves very provocatively.
“They staged drills 10 years ago which actually likely sank a South Korean warship.
“Every time they test a weapon there’s a potential for the breakout of war as there’s always a chance of miscalculation, or that they will push too far and the US won’t take any more.”
North Korea has previously spoken of a “close personal relationship” between Kim and Mr Trump.
They met three times to discuss improving their relationship, as well as ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.
In contrast, North Korea attacked Mr Biden last year by claiming he was in “the final stage of dementia”.
A spokesman said: “Such a guy had the temerity to dare slander the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK.
“It was the last-ditch efforts of the rabid dog expediting his death.
“Rabid dogs like Biden can hurt lots of people if they are allowed to run about.
“They must be beaten to death with a stick, before it is too late.”
It is not clear what Mr Biden did to provoke this reaction.
Mr Biden has also made it clear his foreign policy priorities lie elsewhere, which could include getting back into a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that Mr Trump previously withdrew from.
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said the Biden administration’s “sequence of policy attention will likely be:
“Get America’s own house in order, strengthen US alliances and align strategies toward China and Russia, and then address Iran and North Korea.”