Our bureau has been covering North Korea for years, but 2017 has been a little different. I'm Soyoung Kim, Reuters Korea Bureau Chief. North Korea's nuclear and missile program is a long running story, but this year for the first time they tested intercontinental ballistic missiles that experts say can hit most of the United States, if not all.
There is something that North Korea has said they will achieved for a long time, but it was seen as a very long shot. And experts until last year said that North Korea was years and years away from having the capability. But perhaps more importantly what happened this year is that we have Donald Trump newly in the picture.
You could say that Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are two of the worst, most unpredictable leaders. And here you have a combination of these two running and dictating the world's most urgent security issues. The consequences of any war on the Korean peninsula were considered too huge, and war was considered unthinkable.
And many people soon thought that Trump possibly was bluffing, but we still were forced to think about the very real prospects of war for the first time in a very long time. One of the biggest challenges of reporting on North Korea is you have no to little access to the country.
This year it was exceptionally difficult because Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, they were issuing daily threats of confrontation. So our bureau were always struggling to come up with answers and try to figure out what was truly going on behind the scenes. Next year, I think we may well have an inflection point in the nuclear standoff.
North Korea is so close to mastering its ICBM capability, and it may have a weapon next year that is able to strike in all of the United States. And Trump vowed to never make it happen. So what's the ultimate showdown likely to be? Did Trump mean what he really said about military action?
Or was it more of a ploy to get North Koreans back to the negotiating room? We will find out as soon as next year. And in the meantime, as a journalist we have to be extremely careful and patient to try to report the real story behind the story.