What does North Korea want?

A US B-1B bomber flies over Korea along with a South Korean F-15K fighter

The latest announcement is edged, however, by the recent volley of equally bombastic language from U.S. President Donald Trump.

In April the US Air Force lined up dozens of helicopters, tactical fighter jets and surveillance planes on the runway at Kadena airbase in Japan as a show of force aimed at North Korea. They say those plans will be ready within days and presented to leader Kim Jong Un to await his order. "This nearly certainly would create an upward spiral of violence which would be extremely hard to manage or to mitigate".

The United States has long trumpeted its ability to defend against missiles that threatened the country's territory, which might be what Pyongyang is counting on.

Japan said on Saturday it has installed anti-missile systems in several parts of the country following North Korea's threat to launch four ballistic missiles towards the American island of Guam.

Mr. Trump hinted broadly later in the day that he has his own military options in mind.

Japan's Defence Ministry warned that it could legally intercept such a missile launch, while South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea will face "strong and resolute retaliation" from the allies if it continues with provocations.

Still, Bermudez, said, North Korea is "on track" to figure it out.

A major consideration would be whether and when to evacuate American and other allied civilians, which is no small feat as Seoul, a city of about 10 million, is within range of North Korea's rockets and artillery and the North Korean military is also armed with chemical and biological weapons.

"I don't believe that there will be any significant altering of East Asian procurement strategies, despite the rhetoric emanating from North Korea, principally because for them the threat hasn't altered drastically", Reed added.

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The aim, he continued, was "to contain the USA major military bases on Guam including the Anderson Air Force Base, in which the US strategic bombers, which get on the nerves of the DPRK and threaten and blackmail it through their frequent visits to the sky above south Korea, are stationed and to send a serious warning signal to the U.S".

Reopening dialogue with Pyongyang is crucial for Moon, who says the South should take the lead when it comes to solving the North Korean nuclear problem.

That's if members of the North Atlantic Council make the political decision that a strike against the island would invoke the key "Article 5" of NATO's collective defence strategy that deems an attack against a member state an attack against all. But that would forfeit any element of surprise. "I feel it would be a pretty stupid idea to do that", she said. "This wouldn't end well". Guam is a U.S. territory and residents are USA citizens.

Diplomatic efforts are also deeply complicated.

North Korea has made no secret its plans to develop a nuclear-tipped missile able to strike the United States and has ignored global calls to halt its nuclear and missile programs. "But, I believe in the USA that they will take care of us, and between my belief and my trust in our United States president I don't worry".

"He has convinced me", Mr.

In all the North has staged five atomic tests - including three under Kim - as it seeks to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the continental US.

"The North Korean response will be proportional, depending on where the United States strikes", said Cheon Seong-whun, who served as a presidential secretary for security strategy in Seoul until a few months ago.

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