The potential for escalation by the North this year is real, said former CIA Korea official and Heritage Foundation expert Bruce Klingner. He said the Kim regime may be poised to “raise tensions” with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or nuclear test that would cross a “red line” Mr. Trump set two years ago.
Because the Trump administration has largely ignored Pyongyang’s short-range missile tests over the past 18 months, Mr. Klingner said, the Kim regime “could think, ‘Well, anything less than an ICBM or nuke Trump may just dismiss and therefore we don’t get any leverage from it, so perhaps we have to cross the red line to get that leverage.’”