A U.S. Senator from Iowa says “there’s every reason to be afraid” as North Korea’s leader vows to restart that nation’s nuclear reactor, hinting it would provide materials for atomic weapons. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s “very concerned” as the U.S. moves more troops, ships and warplanes into that region.
“We’ve had so-called saber rattling from North Korea for probably 15 years but we have a 31-year-old leader of the country who I don’t know much about,” Grassley says “I don’t know if we know enough about him to draw any conclusions.” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in a speech Sunday that nuclear weapons would be “a reliable war deterrent and a guarantee to protect our sovereignty.”
Grassley fears Kim’s inexperience and recklessness could lead to trouble. “He could be young enough that he’s willing to take any chances, doesn’t understand the potential dangers that are ahead, both for him as well as other people involved,” Grassley says. “He may be just trying to saber rattle to consolidate his own political agenda.”
Kim has repeatedly threatened to invade South Korea and to attack American bases in the Pacific. Last month, a North Korean official reportedly said he’d back launching a preemptive nuclear strike on Washington D.C., saying, “the stronghold of evils will be engulfed in a sea of fire.”
Grassley says he’s seen the reports from U.S. experts who say North Korea doesn’t have the technological capability to pose a legitimate threat, but he says there’s still reason for concern.
“The military is very strong in that country and I presume they’re strong enough that if they don’t like him, they could throw him out,” Grassley says. “We just don’t know the situation and so there’s every reason to be afraid.” North Korea’s nuclear plant has been idle since 2007.