North Koreans are petrified of Donald Trump, an expert claims
Andrei Lankov says Kim Jong-un’s subjects have been left petrified by war with the United States as tensions escalate.
The expert on North Korea from Kookmin University in Seoul also predicts the hermit kingdom will develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the next five years.
Following North Korea’s most recent missile launch, US president Donald Trump threatened: "Obviously North Korea is a big, big problem and we will deal with that very strongly."
But Mr Lankov claims there is no way Pyongyang will fire the first shot but the recent test and comments from the White House will have spooked North Koreans.
My feeling is that the North Koreans are sort of terrified now
He said: “North Korea is not going to use nuclear weapons first, at least now, and it is not going to attack the United States; therefore, these warnings don’t change anything.
“Even if North Koreans want to do something, they are not going to do it anyway. But will that attitude change?
"My feeling is that the North Koreans are sort of terrified now.”
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The Russian scholar said after years of Kim Jong-un’s propaganda machine churning out misinformation to confuse their enemies, the tables have been turned with the arrival of Mr Trump and his controversial diplomacy in Washington.
Mr Lankov said: “We know about the preemptive strike talk. Technical details are secret or top secret, but the general line of thought in Washington is widely known. And I know that the North Koreans know that these issues are seriously discussed here, and they are sort of disoriented because for many years they were playing the madman.
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“They were behaving irrationally, or they wanted to be seen as irrational, and they benefitted much from that, because when your neighbours believe you can start shooting at you at any time, they are always going to be careful with you.
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“Now the North Koreans have the same attitude toward the current situation in Washington.
“Sometimes it’s even kind of joyful to see how the tables have been turned and how North Koreans are really terrified by uncertainty, because for decades they were masters of creating uncertainties and terrifying everybody else.”
Mr Lankov, who specialises in Korean studies, told Radio Free Asia he expects the Trump administration will give up on talks with Pyongyang once the White House realises disarmament is not on the table.
Instead the scholar warns Kim Jong-un could have an ICBM that could reach the US in five years and could result in a second Korean war.
North Koreans are "terrified" of the uncertainty a Trump White House brings, Mr Lankov claims
Mr Lankov says Kim Jong-un will not make the first move in a nuclear war
He said: “Judging by the speed of their technological advancement in the last few years, they are likely to reach this goal within about five years.
“It means that in the world there will be another country capable of hitting the United States with a nuclear warhead.
“There are so far only two such countries—Russia and China. There will be a third country which basically has a pretty bad public image.
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“So the question is whether Donald Trump and his advisors will quietly accept it or whether they will try to use what is called kinetic action—that is, a preemptive strike against North Korean military facilities.
“Temptations are high, but the consequences may be quite disastrous because the North Koreans are likely to deliver a counterstrike to Seoul, and the result may be the Second Korean War.”
It comes as the US Government said it strongly believes that North Korean agents murdered the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Malaysia, according to sources.
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