North Korea flexing military muscle as US works to determine its true capabilities
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - During the last few weeks, North Korea has been flexing its military muscle, with repeated missile tests and tough talk about its nuclear capabilities. It's a show the whole world seems to be watching, and from the viewpoint of many on the outside looking in, it seems to be its top priority.
"We have seen a lot of missile tests over the last few years in terms of them trying to demonstrate their delivery capabilities, it shows us they’re continuing to work on these systems and they are learning every time," said Jenny Town, assistant director of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. Town added it's a threat the South Koreans have been used to for years, but over the last few weeks something significant has changed - the U.S. response.
On one hand, there's been tough talk from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, not to mention the USS Carl Vinson being deployed to the region. On the other hand, President Donald Trump said this in an interview earlier this week:
“If it would be appropriate to meet with him," he said about North Korean President Kim Jong Un, "I would absolutely be honored to do it.”
“He’s taking a much more aggressive tone in that he’s sort of baiting North Korea in this high-risk game of chicken," Town said.
It's a game some believe has escalated the tensions in a conflict where so little is known about the enemy.
“We don’t know yet whether they have the capability to make a warhead package small enough to fit on top of a ballistic missile," said Sharon Squassoni, a North Korea nuclear expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. But Squassoni added some of the country's limits are evident.
“There’s been a lot of hype about North Korea’s ability to send a nuclear missile to the U.S. even if it’s Guam or Hawaii. They don’t have that capability right now," she said.