North Korea already is coming off a record year in weapons testing, launching more than 70 missiles in 2022. It had set into law an escalatory nuclear doctrine that authorizes pre-emptive nuclear strikes in a broad range of scenarios where it may perceive its leadership as under threat.
“It appears North Korea might be practicing, or signaling that it’s practicing, the use of nuclear strikes, both preemptive and retaliatory, in a range of scenarios that are authorized in its nuclear doctrine,” said Duyeon Kim, a senior analyst at the Center for a New American Security.
“The problem is that continued testing helps Pyongyang perfect its technology, strengthen its nuclear weapons capability that threatens South Korea and Japan, increase the likelihood of miscalculation that could lead to inadvertent conflict, and accumulate political leverage ahead of future diplomatic talks with Washington.”
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