Kim’s dangerous game
What was North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s game Wednesday, in publicizing the fact his military had test-fired a new type of rocket? That is difficult to discern — but it is clear his intent was not to reassure anyone he is eager to dismantle his arsenal.
One interesting aspect of the test is that it was of a tactical weapon, not a long-range missile capable of use against distant foes. Tactical weapons are for battlefield use, not strategic purposes. Had Kim been engaged in serious saber-rattling, something bigger would have been fired.
Still, the test — publicized by Kim’s own press service — was not reassuring. That is especially true because nothing said or done by the United States, South Korea or any other nation recently could be viewed as provocation.
So, what is going on in Pyongyang?
It is known that North Korea is engaging in new activity at its long-range missile manufacturing center. And there are reports that Kim and Russian leader Vladimir Putin on arranging a summit meeting, which would be the first between the two.
So, Kim may be attempting to put pressure on Trump to agree to a toothless disarmament plan, like previous North Korean pledges of peaceful intentions that invariably were followed by new military buildups.
Such an agreement would accomplish nothing. Fortunately, there is no reason to believe Trump would acquiesce.
North Korea is threat to world peace precisely because its leaders have been known for aggressiveness. Nuclear weapons and long-range missiles in Kim’s hands are good for no one. If Putin encourages Pyongyang to keep them, he will be playing with a fire that could kill tens of millions.