14 August 2017

News Story: 'This is a moment for Kim Jong-un' - Important dates loom on N Korean calendar

North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un
Anna Fifield

Seoul: If North Korea goes ahead with its threat to fire ballistic missiles toward the US territory of Guam, the order will come from Kim Jong-un himself.

The officials in charge of North Korea's missile program could complete their preparations by next week and would then wait for the 33-year-old leader to decide what to do next.

Will Kim give the order to fire, potentially inviting retaliation from an American President who has his military "locked and loaded"?

This is not a question of technical capability. North Korea has already demonstrated that it has made great advances in its missile program and can theoretically now hit the US mainland.

No, this is a question of strategy.

"The North Koreans have been very clear that they need his authorisation. This is a moment for Kim Jong-un," said Michael Madden, who runs the North Korean Leadership Watch website and closely studies Kim. "He may take it as an opportunity to prove himself, or as an opportunity to let cooler heads prevail."

The Kim regime has a history of making bellicose threats that it cannot or does not make good on. This may well be one of those cases.

Or it might not. For starters, North Korea likes to mark important dates, and there are two approaching.

Read the full story at SMH