January 21, 2021

North Korea’s promised military upgrades are a tall order — and an empty threat

North Korea vowed to up long-range nuclear strike capabilities, but experts say that’s a two-sided message

North Korea vowed to ramp up its long-range nuclear strike capabilities and other key military technology on Saturday in what experts say is both a threatening message to the United States and a subtle call for dialogue. But experts also believe that some of North Korea's military goals are both unrealistic and an empty threat — especially since Pyongyang appears to be leaving the door open for dialogue.

For the fourth day in a row, Kim Jong Un reportedly met with thousands of delegates for the country’s Eighth Party Congress, where leaders decided that the country will upgrade weapons that can “annihilate strategic targets” within a 15,000-kilometer (9,320 miles) range. That’s far enough to strike Washington all the way from Pyongyang, leaving experts to believe that state media wanted to create a stir on Capitol Hill.