Following months of heightening tensions between Kim Jong Un’s North Korean regime and a U.S.-led coalition of nations bent on seeing an end to his nuclear pursuits, the past few weeks have seen a slight downturn in aggressive rhetoric. With North and South Korea engaging in a dialogue aimed at permitting North Korean participation in the upcoming Winter Olympics being held in South Korea, and the United States agreeing to temporarily freeze military exercises near North Korean territory until the games are over, it would seem that now, more than ever, there may be a chance for a diplomatic resolution to a situation that once seemed destined for war.
And if you were to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin about it, he’d explain that it’s all because of the expert diplomacy employed by none other than North Korea’s despotic Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un.
I think that Mr. Kim Jong Un has obviously won this round. He has completed his strategic task: he has a nuclear weapon, he has missiles of global reach, up to 13,000 km, which can reach almost any point of the globe,” Putin said. “He is already a shrewd and mature politician.”
There is, of course, some truth to Putin’s perspective on North Korea’s position as they make tentative moves toward diplomatic discourse with their neighbor to the south. With November’s launch of Kim’s latest and most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile platform to date, the Hwasong-15, it is now an undeniable fact that North Korea possesses the firepower to reach targets as far away as Washington D.C., and following September’s successful detonation of the country’s first dual stage (hydrogen) bomb, that missile can certainly pack a significant punch.