North Korea missile boasts are just empty hype, says researcher

'North Korea boasting about hitting anywhere in the world with missiles is just hype', says researcher

The missile launch was overseen by Kim Jong-un (Stock image)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

North Korea's boast that it can strike anywhere in the world with its missiles is nothing more than hot air... but the furtive state will keep trolling.

That's the view of John Nilsson-Wright, a senior research fellow at Chatham House, who spoke to Julia Hartley-Brewer after Pyongyang conducted a missile test earlier this year.

North Korea insists the projectile was an intercontinental ballistic missile, but foreign observers have suggested it was more likely a mid-range rocket.

Nilsson-Wright told Julia Hartley-Brewer: "The bold boast that they can hit anywhere in the world is clearly hype" at the moment. But "there's no doubt they’re committed to doing more of this.

"The worry is that this is further confirmation that within a few years, perhaps as few as maybe a couple of years, the North Koreans will not only be able to hit continental states beyond Alaska...but also California, other parts of the United States."

He added: "Kim Jong-un knows that if he were to launch a nuclear attack [at present[, his country would be wiped out." But Nilsson-Wright also doesn't see any evidence that China, despite its consistently hawkish rhetoric against Pyongyang, "is really willing to push North Korea to a point where it 'changes course.'"

This is because, although "the Chinese have more reason to take action... it’s the question 'when do we reach the tipping point'," the interviewee continued. The Chinese government, he said, is worried about "the risk of the regime collapsing internally" and "the risk of refugees leaving North Korea and entering China."

Listen to the full interview above

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