North Korean mystery weapons test creates possibility of military confrontation with US

The government-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the citizen was detained October 16 for illegally entering the country, and that the American said he "was under the direction of the Central Intelligence Agency", the South China Morning Post reported.

The US citizen, identified as Bruce Byron Lowrance, has been detained in North Korea since he was caught illegally entering North Korea via the border with China last month, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

Oh said he felt no bitterness toward the North Korean guards whose bullets left his body "like a broken jar", as described by a South Korean surgeon to CNN past year.

North Korea engages in a number of short and long-term academic exchange programs with countries around the world, including China and Japan, with whom the state has resumed mutual cooperation this year, after a halt in communications following the North Korean missile tests in 2017. However, for North Korea, who are still much smaller in relation to the United States, they view their weaponry as a form of securing their region and not to start a global war.

It was Kim's first observation of a weapons test this year and could complicate already stalled nuclear talks with the United States, although Washington and Seoul downplayed the development in an apparent effort not to derail negotiations.

Sweden represents United States interests in North Korea in the absence of diplomatic relations. In fact, in a New Year's Day address this year Kim said he would "mass produce" nuclear warheads and missiles.

"Today, no more missiles are flying, no more nuclear tests, our hostages have come home, and North Korea has begun anew to return fallen American heroes from the Korean War to our soil".

The newspaper said Japanese intelligence officials had confirmed Oh's identity.

Seoul's unification ministry - which handles inter-Korean affairs including the resettlement of defectors - declined to comment on the interview and said it does not keep tabs on defectors after they are released from resettlement centres.

The U.S., the outlet said, had "bluntly put the brakes on the advancement of North-South relations in recent times".

While we don't know what the North Korean mystery weapon is, some experts who study the hermit kingdom believe it is probably some sort of new multiple-rocket launch system.

Mattis was particularly criticized comments made at a joint news conference last month, when he said the US military's goal was to ensure the country's diplomats speak to the North from a "position of strength".

To avoid a nuclear war with North Korea, the US has stated that sanctions are vital until Kim ends his desire for nuclear weapons. North Korea can not give them up without losing completely its ability to deter outside attack, since it does not have a modern air force with the necessary capability for deterrence.

North Korea released three US detainees in May ahead of a summit between its leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.

On top of this, we need to work to establish a roadmap with North Korea that provides the regime with clear rewards for steps it takes towards denuclearization.

  • Tracy Klein