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Evan Osnos Talks to David Remnick About Donald Trump’s Provocations of a Nuclear North Korea

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At lunchtime on a boat on the Taedong River, the state TV channel broadcasts images of artillery, missiles, and fighter jets. Image by Max Pinckers/The New Yorker. North Korea, 2017.

At lunchtime on a boat on the Taedong River, the state TV channel broadcasts images of artillery, missiles, and fighter jets. Image by Max Pinckers/The New Yorker. North Korea, 2017.

Donald Trump mocked Kim Jong Un by calling him “rocket man,” and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the U.S. or its allies were attacked. Kim, in turn, dismissed Trump as a “barking dog.” Evan Osnos recently reported from Washington and Pyongyang on the tensions between the United States and North Korea. Osnos tells David Remnick that North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons; they are no longer a bargaining chip but, rather, a source of national identity and security. Despite the forceful rhetoric and threats, Osnos found little appetite for war in either government, concluding that North Korea is not “a suicidal cult.” And he predicts that Trump will contain the risk rather than eliminate it.