US Sees No ‘Imminent’ War by North Korea Despite Dangerous Activities

The State Department  — The United States does not see signs of an “imminent” war by North Korea despite “incredibly dangerous” activities in recent months and its refusal to engage in diplomatic talks with the U.S., a top U.S. official told reporters Thursday.

Jung Pak, the State Department’s senior official in charge of North Korea affairs, said U.S. officials “are always watchful for any kind of activity” by Pyongyang and will continue to work with Japan and South Korea to bolster extended deterrence, aiming to shape North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s “calculus” regarding the initiation of direct military action.

“Fundamentally, I don’t think Kim’s posture has changed. We don’t see any signals of any direct action, military action,” Pak said.

“I don’t see an imminent or direct attack at this point,” she said.

Earlier this week, North Korea carried out its fifth cruise missile launch of the year, which came just days ahead of a joint U.S.-Japan missile defense training exercise scheduled for next week.

In Tokyo, a Japanese official issued a cautionary statement regarding North Korea’s escalating capabilities.

“By launching missiles from various platforms such as submarines and vehicle-mounted launch pads, we believe North Korea is making it difficult to identify and detect signs [of its activities] to strengthen its surprise attack capabilities,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi told a Thursday press conference.

Last month, Pyongyang said it test-fired a solid-fuel intermediate-range missile, equipped with a hypersonic warhead, into waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

State Department official Pak said the U.S. estimated there were 69 ballistic missile tests by North Korea in 2022, and 30 ballistic missile tests last year.