North Korea has been escalating its sabre-rattling rhetoric this year with a series of provocative missile launches and nuclear tests.
But despite worldwide condemnation and fears of an all-out conflict between North Korea and the United States, one expert believes there is no chance of an actual war.
Dr Colin Alexander, professor of political communications at Nottingham Trent University, said North Korea knows the US could destroy it and said Kim Jong-un‘s growing nuclear programme is merely a deterrent.
He told MailOnline: “The reason North Korea wants to develop nuclear weapons is because the United States has weapons that can strike North Korea.
“Nuclear weapons are not meant to be used. This is about creating a credible threat – a deterrent.
“Kim saw what happened to Saddam, he saw what happened to Gaddafi, and he believes rightly or wrongly that acquiring nuclear weapons will stop that from happening to him.”
He said Kim knows his army, however brainwashed and well-drilled, would be powerless to stop an American attack if US President Donald Trump feels he is pushed too far.
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Dr Alexander said: “The regime has bet on the development of nuclear capabilities and think it will prevent the imposition of an imperial power upon them.”
He said North Korea would never actually start an all-out conflict because Kim knows his country would be “reduced to a puddle” by America.
It comes two days after Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if Kim pushes his patience, or the patience of his allies, too far.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly Mr Trump said: “We must work together against those who threaten with chaos and terror.
“No-one has shown more contempt for other nations and the wellbeing of their people than the depraved regime of North Korea.”
He mockingly referred to North Korean despot Kim Jong-un as a “rocket man on a suicide mission for himself and his regime”.
Mr Trump said: “They are responsible for the starvation of millions of North Koreans.
“We want harmony and friendship, not hardship and struggle.”
Mr Trump concluded his speech with a passionate rallying cry to the UN.
He said: “We will fight together and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity and for the almighty God who made us all.”