Even during the height of the cold war when the US and Russia were effectively playing hardball, both sides new that shipping them Cuba was one thing, launching them was entirely different!
My point being there aren't any rules anyway. Each side takes its position and levers as much as they can out of the situation. Denzee's remark about Israel for example - despite the posturing of both the former Iraq and Iran, they still know they can't nuke them.
So the net effect is the same. You have them to prove you are powerful. But no-one can really use them.
Nevertheless if we look at North Korea in isolation, its position is precarious and KJI knows it. He has only a few options:
1. Fully reintegrate with South Korea
Not an option he is likely to agree to given that the full scope of the atrocities he has ordered would be out in the public domain and he would have to concede power and lose his legacy. Although North Korea is on its knees, it is still able to maintain its massive number of troops and keep the country's imperious leader in the lap of god-like luxury.
In addition, South Korea considers little Kimmy an enemy and would probably seek to imprison him or worse. The best he could hope for is exile, but that's just not the same as ruling over millions of people and deciding on a whim whether they live or die. South Korea is actually quite a little power house financially but even so it knows it cannot take on the monumental task of integration of a size last seen in Germany, which nearly collapsed under the strain. If it were going to do so, integration would have to be carried out over decades not years. Therefore there would be no power sharing option.
2. Make the country feared so that he stays in power until he dies and can leave the thorny issue of what happens next to someone else.
This is quite an appealing option for him, if you think about it. Regardless of whatever sanctions the US put on the country, little Kimmy is always going to get what he wants. The rest of the country won't even notice the difference and he'll continue to look powerful by defying the US. He hasn't got too much longer to go anyway given that people have been digging around his brain with scalpels lately and he isn't getting any younger. If progress towards his grand plan of making North Korea the greatest country in the world stops upon his death, it probably won't surprise him. I don't actually think he ever thought about anything further than surrounding the borders with as many bodies as he could so that he could get on doing whatever it is he does (I mean aside from arms dealing).
3. Make new friends
Well, he did try that with China, but they rather stunned him by siding with the Americans on the nuclear development issue. That plus the Russians (after they'd stopped p*ssing around trying to wind the US up) also realised that North Korea probably is a little too close for comfort and back peddled.
I reckon he'll go for option two. As hardly anyone knows anything about little kimmy's potential successor, the country will have breathing space (at least for a good few months) to sort its sh1t out before any country attempts to establish a new working relationship with the government. That means bugger all of any significance will happen for at least a year, protecting little kimmy's so-called legacy. After that the history books will read like he was the country's last great leader before its fall (if that's what happens of course).
True, and this is what makes them so completely pointless. Trident is going to cost the UK about £76 billion. We'll never use them. Completely pointless....
We never will, Dr, you're quite right. We're well and truly in bed with the Americans and have been since WWII. However, the nukes in the UK (I believe but this could have changed) are under US control.
I don't think he is really going to create nuclear war. Launching a warhead at another country would undoubtedly create a backlash from other countries that would wipe them off the face of the planet. He has to know this.... and because he does, he will use it as a bargaining chip to get what he feels he needs as a dictator. But there are no gurantees that he will always think this way. After he gets what he wants from the rest of the world, what would he do next? Thats the big question.
Well, lets not forget that he already has a huge bargaining chip. If he let his armies storm into South Korea, the South would be overrun in a couple of days, even without the use of tanks. He'll also get all the spoils of that rather quick encounter, too. It would actually be positively productive. And who will attack? He knows all the UN and humanitarian groups will get involved to protect the victims and non-combatant North Koreans who haven't got a bowl of rice to eat.