(CNN)North Korea broke a two-month lull in weapons testing with a dramatic launch of its most advanced missile yet, an intercontinental ballistic missile it claims can reach the “whole” US mainland.
North Korea has long maintained it wants nuclear weapons and long-range missiles to deter the United States from attempting to overthrow the regime of Kim Jong Un.
Pyongyang looks at states such as Iraq — where Saddam Hussein was overthrown by the United States — and Libya — its late leader, Moammar Gadhafi, gave up his nuclear ambitions for sanctions relief and aid, only to be toppled and killed after the United States intervened in his country’s civil unrest — and believes that only being able to threaten the US mainland with a retaliatory nuclear strike can stop American military intervention.
Many experts say they believe North Korea would not use the weapons first. Kim values his regime’s survival above all else and