Wednesday's HOT MIC
It looks like we're about to see how serious President Trump is about stopping the North Korean nuclear program.
Observers who have viewed satellite photos of North Korea's main nuclear testing site report that a test may be "imminent." Meanwhile, the new North Korean ambassador to the UK had this to say.
North Korean envoy Choe Il revealed Pyongyang's ambitions to conduct another nuclear test during his first interview since being appointed to the position in November, soon after his predecessor defected. Echoing the official stance of his government, Choe asserted North Korea's right to maintain and develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent to foreign invasion. Though he said he was unaware of a specific date for another nuclear weapons test, he stated that one would be conducted on leader Kim Jong Un's terms regardless of U.S. pressure.
"I can say that the nuclear test will be conducted at the place and time as decided by our supreme leader, Kim Jong Un," Choe told U.K.-based media agency Sky News.
Reports emerged last month claiming the reclusive, militarized state was planning a nuclear test on North Korea's "Day of the Sun," which commemorates the birthday of North Korea's founder and Kim Jong Un's grandfather, Kim Jong Il. President Donald Trump responded by sending a naval strike group to the region alongside vows to prevent Pyongyang from going through with such a test. The nuclear weapons test never occurred, but North Korea has publicly disavowed any foreign opposition to its nuclear program, even from its traditional ally, China, which also has criticized North Korea's possession of weapons of mass destruction.
Trump has never declared a red line for North Korea's nuclear tests, but he hasn't been shy about hinting at a US response if Kim goes ahead and conducts another.
Will Kim try to call Trump's bluff? Or is it a bluff? Stay tuned.