In the minds of many, President Trump’s decision to use a Tomahawk missile strike against Assad’s Syrian regime last week was not only meant as a message to Assad about his use of chemical weapons, but as a message to all world leaders that the United States would take decisive action if provoked – and if there was one world leader he’d want to make sure received that message, it’s Kim Jong Un.

Kim Jong Un’s unwavering pursuit of nuclear weapons has elevated his country from the pip-squeak whose insults we ignore to a legitimate threat to the United States and its allies.  North Korea’s confirmed atomic tests and successful ballistic missile launches have already demonstrated that the reclusive state has the ability to fire nuclear warheads at least as far as Japan, placing a number of U.S. military bases in South Korea and Japan squarely within their confirmed firing radius.  Pictures out of North Korea also indicate that they may be rapidly approaching the development of a truly Intercontinental Ballistic Missile – one that may even be able to target the mainland United States.

Despite taking a step up in weight class, the North Korean government continues with business as usual in terms of international relations, levying threats of nuclear strikes on U.S. bases in state-owned media outlets as though a military action to limit their nuclear strike capability is already a foregone conclusion:

“Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theatre but also in the U.S. mainland,” North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.

It seems likely that another North Korean atomic test is imminent, as their previous testing location had appeared active in recent weeks via satellite imagery and South Korean intelligence analysts believe they may be planning the event to coincide with North Korean holidays.

“It is possible the North may wage greater provocations such as a nuclear test timed with various anniversaries including the Supreme People’s Assembly,” acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn.

Adding to tensions is a U.S. Carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson, which was scheduled to begin a cruise from Singapore to Australia on Sunday but was instead ordered to turn around and head back for the Korean Peninsula.

“U.S. Pacific Command ordered the Carl Vinson Strike Group north as a prudent measure to maintain readiness and presence in the Western Pacific,” Commander Dave Benham said in a statement.