North Korea says that war with the United States is inevitable
In what is possibly the closest we have come to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis, North Korea and the USA are starting to move beyond simple goading of one another, and edging towards legitimate threats of war. The two nations' leaders, Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, have been playing a childish game of 'whose missile is bigger' for too long now, and it's beginning to get more than a little worrying.
Last week, news emerged that Pyongyang had successfully tested a new ICBM - one that would be capable of causing catastrophic damage to the USA. In response to this, Trump told reporters, "I will only tell you that we will take care of it... It is a situation that we will handle." He later commented that the states would be prepared to retaliate against any threats with "fire and fury".
Following that, America and South Korea joined forces to send a formation of military planes, including a US Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber, to fly over the Korean peninsula. According to the South Korean military: "Through the drill, the South Korean and US air forces displayed the allies' strong intent and ability to punish North Korea when threatened by nuclear weapons and missiles."
Well, it seems that North Korea got the message, because now they have described "an outbreak of war... as an established fact."
In a statement released by North Korea, an official directly referenced the flight exercise as potential provocation for a full-blown war:
"The large-scale nuclear war exercises conducted by the US in succession are creating a touch-and-go situation on the Korean peninsula and series of violent war remarks coming from the U.S. high-level politicians amid such circumstances have made an outbreak of war on the Korean peninsula an established fact. The remaining question now is: when will the war break out."
However, they did add:
"We do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it, and should the US miscalculate our patience and light the fuse for a nuclear war, we will surely make the U.S. dearly pay the consequences with our mighty nuclear force which we have consistently strengthened."
The President has yet to comment on the matter, and has not tweeted anything since announcing his controversial recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. No doubt he will have something to say about this reaction, though, as his previous spats with Kim have been made very public.
Just last month, on Veteran's Day, he made his disdain for the North Korean leader very clear by calling him "short and fat" on social media.
With this latest threat, however, there is a looming possibility that this war of words could soon become one of real force.
"If we have to go to war to stop this, we will. If there's a war with North Korea it will be because North Korea brought it on itself, and we're headed to a war if things don't change," said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham after the initial ICBM test.
Any aggression from this point onward is likely to be taken as a further threat, and one can only hope that both leaders seriously consider the consequences before antagonizing each other.