The new North Korean "Beloved Leader" seems to be trying to push the South or the Americans into giving an excuse to attack. Perhaps he hopes the Chinese or the Russians - who helped set up this Stalinist Gulag of a country in 1951 - 1953 - will once again be drawn into 'defending Socialism' if the US does decide to retaliate if, or when, one of his more trigger happy generals fires on a US or South Korean aircraft.
Do they have an atomic bomb? No one is certain, but it seems likely they possess at least one. Will they use it? There is a strong possibility that they are just stupid enough to do so.
Kim seems to be betting on being able to rattle his missiles, and make sweeping threats without having to face the consequences. It appears that he thinks the US will avoid upsetting China and will simply meekly let him invade South Korea if he wishes. But we can't be certain of what he is really thinking, or if there is some other player at work here. There is no doubt that he has the manpower under arms to inflict heavy casualties if he does invade, but I should think he'll take very heavy casualties as well as I'm pretty sure the retaliation will be swift and it will be deadly. He won't get away with the sort of overwhelming surprise they managed in 1951 and I doubt the Russians will wish to have any direct involvement. As for the Chinese, they are, as ever, playing their own game, but I doubt they want to see a war on their border either.
Technically, of course, having publicly announced that he has 'torn up' the 1953 Cease-fire, North Korea is at war with the South and the allies. I suppose he is now at war with the UN as well, since the UN was the original organiser of the defence of the South. That this is over the North's ambition to have nuclear arms and to be a 'World Power' - with apparently the ambition of wreaking 'revenge' on the Japanese among others - is apparently worrying the Chinese among others. It does play into the hands of the Ahmadinejad's of this world though, who wish to humiliate the US.
How will this eventually play out? I think the best we can hope for is that the Chinese pull the rug out from under the North Koreans before they have a chance to do something we will all regret. Hopefully, the Chinese will do it soon, and do it efficiently.
Oak Jozef in Wisniowa, Poland
2 hours ago