Why North Korea is constantly threatening US (who has allied with South Korea) with latest missile drills, nuclear drills in 2017? This is quite happening after 2016 & is now revving thru any newspaper heading, even local regional newspapers.

This has quite peaked unusually even in 2017.

So why now in 2017 it has peaked but not earlier even in 2014, when ISIS terrorism was at its peak??

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    Your working assumption is incorrect. North Korea has been on the radar for much longer than the past few years. Also, NK has intense propaganda. It basically drills anti-americanism into its population from childhood. Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 8:27
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    "so why now in 2017 it has peaked but not earlier even in 2014, when ISIS terrorism was at its peak" Maybe North Korea and ISIS are not linked very much. Terrorism and despotism and similar things come in many different flavors all other the world. They do not need to be correlated or happen at the same time. Why should they? Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 11:30
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    Wait..... why would ISIS terrorism impact the amount of bluster and threats coming out of North Korea? Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 14:05

1 Answer 1


New capability

Well, let's look at the milestones in North Korean nuclear testing. A critical one happened in 2016 (September 9th):

North Korea announced that this is a successful test of a warhead that can be mounted onto a rocket.

Prior to that, they had nuclear bombs but they couldn't launch them with missiles. Note that they are still improving their missiles. That's what they are testing now. And improvements come more incrementally in missile range than in device development.


Some of the North Korean threats came in response to threats made publicly by Donald Trump. In 2014, Barack Obama was president, and Obama had a very different, quieter approach.


It's not clear to me why you link North Korean threats and Daesh (Islamic State). While Daesh is an example of an organization that would like to obtain nuclear capability, they don't make a good threat. Because North Korea can't almost deliver nuclear capability to Daesh. So long as North Korea controls the missiles and nuclear weapons, they control how they are used. Once they transfer to Daesh, they lose that.

North Korea can threaten by shooting an empty missile. Or by detonating a nuclear weapon underground. But Daesh wouldn't waste a nuclear weapon that way. They aren't a threat but a danger.

There is also more danger that the United States would respond forcefully to a transfer of a nuclear weapon to Daesh. So from North Korea's perspective, a Daesh sale is more risk. It is uncontrollable. It's not very threatening until it's actually dangerous. Missile launches and public statements are better. There is less danger of a response and they are threatening without being as currently dangerous. They are potentially dangerous rather than currently dangerous.

This is not to say that North Korea transferring a nuclear weapon or technology to Daesh is not a concern. It is. But it's not a threat. Publicly saying that they're going to do so would make it more difficult to accomplish. So they won't announce it prior to transfer. Publicly saying after the transfer is dangerous--the US might respond. And offers minimal public benefit. It would make the US more frightened but not of North Korea. So they probably won't announce after transfer. That's the opposite of a threat, where the whole point is to tell the other what you will do.

Beyond all that, when Daesh was more dangerous, North Korea may have been less willing to bluster. A distracted US might be more dangerous than a focused US. If the US were already scared by Daesh, then a threat from North Korea could more easily move them to actual action. North Korea doesn't want an actual military response.

If the US were looking at Daesh instead of North Korea, then there'd be less reason for North Korea to do anything. They could talk about how the US was too busy with their own problems. They wouldn't have to create problems to prove themselves stronger, at least in domestic eyes.

  • #daesh-NK explanation is now seem to have this temporary analysis, but the world is now in a very crucial phase, any time a war may breakout if NK decides to play a game on US, using the Daesh or similar Islamic terrorist group as pawn (-I Scarily Wonder In The Deepest Pit of My Thought- iSWDPMT) Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 19:39

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