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North Korea To Strike With Its ‘Nuclear Hammer’ If US Takes Out Kim Jong Un

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North Korea threatened Tuesday to launch a nuclear strike against the U.S. if it pursues regime change.

North Korea is responding to comments made by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who hinted at the possibility of regime change at a forum earlier in July. The U.S. should “separate (nuclear) capacity and someone who might well have (nuclear) intent and break those two apart,” the head of the U.S. intelligence agency explained.

Pompeo stressed that he was not advocating regime change, but asserted North Korea would probably be better off without Kim Jong-un. “The North Korean people, I’m sure, are lovely people and would love to see him go,” he said.

North Korea responded with its usual aggressive rhetoric.

“Should the U.S. dare to show even the slightest sign of attempt to remove our supreme leadership, we will strike a merciless blow at the heart of the U.S. with our powerful nuclear hammer,” North Korean state media wrote, quoting the foreign ministry. The U.S. “gone over the line, and it has now become clear that the ultimate aim of the Trump administration … is regime change.”

“If the supreme dignity of the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] is threatened, (North Korea) must preemptively annihilate those countries and entities that are directly or indirectly involved in it by mobilizing all kinds of strike means including the nuclear ones,” the Korean Central News Agency explained. “The likes of Pompeo will bitterly experience the catastrophic and miserable consequences caused by having dared to shake their little fists at the supreme leadership.”

What makes Pyongyang’s rhetoric disconcerting is North Korea now has an intercontinental ballistic missile which defense officials have confirmed can range parts of the U.S. Leading North Korea experts and defectors have suggested that Kim Jong-un might use his nuclear arsenal against another power if his reign was in jeopardy.

The purpose of a nuclear-armed ICBM is deterrence, as well as driving a wedge between the U.S. and South Korea.

“I think they would only use this particular weapon in a Hail Mary — the state is collapsing, the regime is gone — kind of situation,” Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the East Asia Nonproliferation Program, previously toldThe Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Kim Jong-un will press the button if he thinks that his rule or his dynasty are threatened,” Thae Yong-ho, a high-ranking North Korean defector, told BBC in January.

For the time being, the U.S. policy towards North Korea is not one of regime change. Instead, the U.S. is pursuing a strategy of “maximum pressure and engagement,” which apparently involves military deterrence, economic sanctions, and diplomatic pressure in collaboration with allies and international partners.

The U.S. is interested in a diplomatic solution, but North Korea does not trust the U.S. to keep its word due to its wartime worldview.

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