KIM Jong-un could detonate a nuclear bomb for the first time in five years to grab Joe Biden’s after being ‘ignored’ by the US president, experts have warned.
The jubilant North Korean dictator was pictured cheering on Tuesday after his third hypersonic missile test this year as fears mount over the rogue state’s nuclear plans.
Ashok Swain, professor of peace and conflict research at Sweden’s Uppsala University, said Kim is getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of attention from US President Joe Biden.
He warned the trigger-happy tyrant could soon go for another nuclear test – five years after North Korea conducted by far its largest and most terrifying nuke test to date.
Dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang remains stalled, and the country is under multiple sets of international sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
Professor Swain told The Sun Online: “President Joe Biden has not followed up Trump’s summit diplomacy with Kim Jong-un, instead he has followed a policy of strategic patience.
“The lack of attention has bothered Kim, and he is desperate to get the centre stage.
“North Korea has conducted at least six nuclear tests since 2006, and the military nuclear program continues to be the main thrust of North Korea’s security and foreign policy strategy.
“So, if Biden doesn’t restart the talk, Kim might go for another nuclear test, but it is improbable that he will opt for an all-out war.”
The warning comes five years after North Korea detonated a massive underground hydrogen bomb – a device more powerful than an atomic bomb – on September 3, 2017 at its Punggye-ri test site.
The United States Geological Survey reported a 6.3 magnitude earthquake not far from the site at the time – and South Korean authorities confirmed the tremor was consistent with an underground nuclear test.
And in a chilling warning, William Davies, associate analyst at GlobalData, said North Korea’s missile tests are only likely to increase this year as it ramps up its military capabilities.
He told The Sun Online: “North Korea has never been shy about its military ambitions.
“The nation feels its need to defend itself from perceived threats from America and its allies. North Korea intends to have a military that can compete against South Korea and the US.
“Alongside missile tests increasing, North Korea’s ongoing refusal to commit to de-nuclearisation is the greatest concern for Western countries and peace in the region.”
Mr Davies said North Korea hypersonic missiles would create a “significant threat” – and Japan and South Korea would be given little warning in the event of a strike.
He said: “State media has reported the testing of hypersonic missiles, and whilst these are likely some way from realization their development would create a significant threat and give little warning to Japan and South Korea in the event of a potential strike.”
Kim later agreed to a “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula after a summit with Donald Trump in June 2018.
The state promised to dismantle the Punggye-ri site and in May 2018 it allegedly blew up some of the tunnels in the presence of foreign journalists.
But the rogue state has not stopped its nuclear activities.
In January last year – just before Biden took office in the US – North Korea unveiled a new submarine-launched ballistic missile at a military parade, calling it “the world’s most powerful weapon”.
And in March, satellite photos revealed new activity at the site where its weapons are stockpiled.
Hypersonic missiles are listed among the “top priority” tasks for strategic weapons development in North Korea’s five-year plan.
After Tuesday’s launch, Kim said his state must “further accelerate the efforts to steadily build up the country’s strategic military muscle both in quality and quantity and further modernize the army”.
The tests come as North Korea has refused to respond to US appeals for talks.
Biden’s administration has said it is open to talking to North Korea, but Kim said America’s attempts for dialogue are pointless without more changes to “hostile policies” such as military drills and sanctions.