Just a day after China rebuffed North Korea on its December missile launch, the Stalinist regime is stepping up its rhetoric regarding its nuclear ambitions. North Korea's National Defense Commission says that it will conduct an “all-out confrontation battle” that will include a nuclear test "aimed" at the US.
The heightened intensity from North Korea comes on the heels of the U.N. Security Council's agreement to a U.S.-backed resolution to censure and sanction North Korea. In a rare move, China also supported these sanctions which has left North Korea in a difficult position. Typically, China and Russia save North Korea from additional UN action, but that relationship has been strained in recent years as North Korea has led two unprovoked and deadly attacks on South Korea.
The real concern isn't that North Korea could shoot a nuclear missile at the US, but that they could be using enriched uranium for the first time during a nuclear test. This poses a more immediate threat to South Korea and Japan as it suggests that North Korea's belligerency is becoming totally unrestrained.
Both the US and China are urging North Korea to remain calm and scrap its plans, but the reclusive regime rarely heeds such advice. Should North Korea go ahead with the launch, they will find themselves more politically and economically isolated than they have been since the start of the Korean War.