North Korea North Korea warned Wednesday it will fire an intercontinental ballistic missile — or even carry out another nuclear test — unless the U.N. apologizes for condemning the regime’s April 5 rocket launch.
By flaunting its rogue nuclear and missile programs, Pyongyang has raised the stakes in the escalating diplomatic tit for tat with the outside world. North Korea also said it would start generating nuclear fuel — an indication the regime will begin enriching uranium, another material used to make an atomic bomb.
North Korea is known for its use of brinksmanship and harsh rhetoric to force the West to react, but the threat of a nuclear test is significant.
Pyongyang conducted its first atomic test in 2006, and is thought to have enough plutonium to make at least half a dozen nuclear bombs. There are no indications, however, that scientists in the North have mastered the technology needed to make a nuclear warhead small enough to fit onto a missile.
Still, North Korea’s April 5 rocket launch drew widespread international concern. Pyongyang claims the liftoff was a peaceful bid to send a communications satellite into space, but the U.S., Japan and others saw it as a furtive test of a delivery system capable of sending a long-range missile within striking range of Alaska.