The latest on the North Korea nuclear standoff.

Where We Stand Right Now As Far As the Potential Nuclear Annihilation of Earth

Where We Stand Right Now As Far As the Potential Nuclear Annihilation of Earth

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Aug. 11 2017 5:19 PM

Where We Stand Right Now As Far As the Potential Nuclear Annihilation of Earth

 

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North Korea as seen from a South Korean observation post near the DMZ.

Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Here's the latest on the situation wherein the president of the U.S. has been implying via Twitter that he may conduct a nuclear war because he feels personally disrespected by the strange, reclusive authoritarian who runs one of the world's poorest countries.

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  • North Korean state media claims the country is nearly done putting together a plan to test-fire missiles in the vicinity of Guam, which is a U.S. territory.
  • Donald Trump told reporters that Kim Jong-un will "regret it" if he "utters one threat, in the form of an overt threat, or if he does anything with respect to Guam." Your mileage may vary, but to this writer that actually seems like progress over recent presidential statements given that it seems to downplay the possibility of a pre-emptive strike.
  • Officials in Guam have issued a fact sheet to citizens about what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. (U.S. intelligence officials recently concluded that North Korea has likely built nuclear bombs small enough to be deployed via missile.)
  • The U.S. and South Korea are scheduled to begin a joint military exercise—or, in other words, a symbolic show of strength—on Aug. 21.
  • The AP reports that the U.S. and North Korea have engaged in "backchannel" diplomacy during the Trump administration via the U.S.'s "envoy for North Korea policy" and a North Korean official at the country's mission to the United Nations in New York City. The news suggests that a diplomatic de-escalation to the current crisis is not entirely inconceivable.

All things considered, nuclear war seems somewhat less likely right now than it did at some points in recent days. Enjoy your weekend.