The news that North Korea will hold a nuclear test was expected to bring the world into a new phase of tension over the country’s nuclear weapons program, but it has instead brought the country closer to the brink of nuclear war.
In this video, Irish writer and historian Niall O’Rourke explores the consequences of the nuclear test and the potential fallout for North Korea.
The nuclear test comes after months of tension between the US and North Korea, as the country tests nuclear missiles, threatens to fire them at the US, and has also been condemned by the United Nations.
The North Korean government has threatened to launch missiles over the Pacific in response to the US military’s deployment of Patriot missiles in South Korea.
The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s decision to launch nuclear missiles at US territory in response, including the Guam Island, on August 1, 2017 is considered a direct threat to the United States.
This is because North Korea is considered the only country that has the capability to launch a nuclear warhead into the continental United States, and is believed to have the capacity to launch the nuclear bomb that North Korean state media claims to have detonated.
A new wave of tensions is also emerging with the Trump administration’s plans to deploy Patriot missile batteries to Guam.
A US military spokesperson told the Associated Press on Monday that the Patriot batteries would be deployed in response “to North Korea’s reckless actions”.
The US president said the move would deter the North from continuing its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and warned North Korea that “the United States will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of its citizens”.
But, North Korea has repeatedly denied that it has a nuclear weapon program, saying it is only seeking to develop ballistic missiles that could be fired at the United State.
The country’s leader Kim Yong-nam said in an interview with a Japanese newspaper that “any war that breaks out between the United Kingdom and North America will be fought on the Korean peninsula and that we will use all means necessary”.
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates has also announced it will deploy Patriot missiles, as well as hundreds of troops to the Gulf state’s territory, in response.
As of now, it remains unclear what the US will do about the North’s nuclear test, which was widely seen as a declaration of war by the Trump government.
However, the Trump White House has expressed concerns about North Korea being able to carry out a nuclear attack on US soil, and the US is likely to be forced to use more force in response if North Korea does not cease its nuclear program.
North Korea has already conducted multiple nuclear tests, but is believed by many to have a much more powerful nuclear weapon than previously believed.