As the US prepares to try and convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons, it may have made his counter argument for him.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump announced he had given the order for US forces to strike the Syrian regime in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held city in the southwest of the country, which he blames on Russia and Syria.
But the attack against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — a longtime ally of North Korea — could complicate Trump’s planned summit with Kim, expected to take place in May or June.
“This is sort of the whole reason why North Korea has pursued nuclear weapons,” Rodger Baker, VP of strategic analysis for the global intelligence firm Stratfor, told CNN. “The perception is (having nuclear weapons) reduces the likelihood of these types of punitive strikes.”
In the past, Pyongyang has repeatedly pointed to US military interventions around the world as a justification for its nuclear program, viewing it as a vital deterrent to any attempts at regime change instigated or led by Washington.
According to Dan Coats, Trump’s director of national intelligence, Kim views nukes as key to the “survival (of) his regime.”
“He has watched … what has happened around the world relative to nations that possess nuclear capabilities and the leverage they have, and seen that having the nuclear card in your pocket results in a lot of deterrence capability,” he said at an event last year.