North Korea is not interested in diplomacy with the United States until it achieves an important milestone in its weapons program: the ability to strike "all the way to the East coast of the mainland US" with a long range intercontinental ballistic missile.
The rogue regime essentially wants the leverage of the ability to attack anywhere in the U.S. before engaging in talks.
“Before we can engage in diplomacy with the Trump administration, we want to send a clear message that the DPRK has a reliable defensive and offensive capability to counter any aggression from the United States," a North Korean official said, reports CNN.
The North Korean official told CNN that two additional steps are needed to achieve its goal of a reliable ICBM.
One step is an above-ground nuclear detonation, like the kind North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho threatened at the United Nations last month when he suggested leader Kim Jong Un was considering detonating "an unprecedented scale hydrogen bomb" over the Pacific after Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea.
The other step is the "testing of a long-range ICBM capable of reaching Guam - and even further," the official said. (CNN)
White House chief of staff John Kelly told reporters last week that Americans should be concerned about the rogue regime.
"The American people should be concerned about a state that has developed a pretty good ICBM capability and is developing a pretty good nuclear re-entry vehicle," he said. "I would believe, I think I speak for the administration, that that state simply cannot have the ability to reach the homeland."
He also said the administration is very concerned about Guam at this time.
"Right now there is great concern about a lot of Americans that live in Guam. Right now we think the threat is manageable but over time, if it grows beyond where it is today, well, let's hope that diplomacy works,” he said.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he’s not going to give up on resolving matters peacefully.
"Those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops," Tillerson said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
This reality could be around the corner.
According to North Korea's deputy U.N. ambassador, the situation on the Korean peninsula "has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment."