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North Korea’s nuclear threats to USA and South Korea

flag-N-KoreaNorth Korea threatens to turn Washington and Seoul into a ‘heap of ash’ AUGUST 24, 2016 Gavin text-relevantFernando news.com.au@GavinDFernando NORTH Korea has issued a fresh warning to Seoul and Washington, threatening a huge nuclear attack if provoked.

The North’s military warned it will turn the cities into “a heap of ash through a Korean-style pre-emptive nuclear strike” if they show any signs of aggression towards their territory, a spokesman for North Korea’s military was quoted as saying by the country’s state media.

This comes as South Korea and the US begin their annual military drills, which South Korea has described as defensive in nature. The allied countries have repeatedly stated they have no intention of invading or taking aggressive action against North Korea capital Pyongyang.

South Korea President Park Geun-Hye responded to the threats saying: “The North Korean regime has been continuously suppressing its people by its reign of terror while ignoring the livelihood of its people.”

She also said the South would “prepare” for any potential attacks by North Korea, adding that the communist country’s nuclear and missile threats are “direct and realistic”.

Relations between the countries are tenser than usual now, following the defection of a senior North Korean diplomat and a US plan to place a hi-tech missile defence system in South Korea.

Earlier this month, it was reported South Korea intends to arm itself with nuclear weapons.The state will develop a nuclear self-defence strategy in defiance of a treaty that has been in place for almost 50 years. “It will become a domino effect and even South Korea will become concerned and develop nuclear weapons, and maybe Japan as well,” a senior official in the Seoul government told Fairfax.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, Australia surprised the world by being the only country to attempt to block an international ban on nuclear weapons.

The Australian government tried — and ultimately failed — to block a United Nations report for a complete international ban on nuclear weapons……http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/north-korea-threatens-to-turn-washington-and-seoul-into-a-heap-of-ash/news-story/f1851e5cde3ef6cf88697b57a8a1f11f

August 24, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

We can’t solve the problem of a nuclear-armed North Korea without talking to them

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-N-KoreaTo Address Nuclear Threat, We Must Talk To North Korea http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lee-h-hamilton/to-address-nuclear-threat_b_11572840.html   Isolated and secretive, North Korea presents the United States with a unique challenge we cannot ignore. The North Korean nuclear arsenal is becoming steadily more alarming, and it is past time for the United States to get serious about the threat.

The Obama administration has pursued a policy of “strategic patience,” which includes applying international sanctions and waiting for North Korea to move away from its nuclear program or for the government to collapse. It hasn’t been enough.

The good news is that the region has been relatively stable. But our policy has not changed North Korea’s behavior. Economic sanctions imposed in response to nuclear tests and missile launches are hurting, but they have not threatened the regime’s survival.

Meanwhile, North Korea’s nuclear arsenal continues to grow in defiance of United Nations resolutions; and so does its capacity to threaten its neighbors and even the U.S. It is time to revise our strategy.

For North Korea, its nuclear program is essential to its identity as a nation. It has an estimated 10 to 20 nuclear devices and is developing a new nuclear weapon every six weeks or so. It has both short- and long-range missiles and is constantly trying to improve their effectiveness. It hopes to be able to target the U.S. mainland. An underground nuclear test and unsuccessful satellite launch early this year suggest it is seriously pursuing that goal.

North Korea is the weakest power in Northeast Asia, but it has played its limited hand fairly well. With no real allies, it may well be the most isolated nation on Earth. Life for most of its citizens is unrelentingly harsh. Poverty is widespread, and the country’s per-capita GDP is among the lowest outside of Africa, according to the CIA.

Little is known about its young ruler, 32-year-old Kim Jong Un. He is mysterious, unpredictable and dangerous. He has consolidated power, purging many government officials and promoting others. He obviously wants to keep control and has continued to maintain a rigidly nationalistic and repressive state.

China has more influence with North Korea than any other country, in part because up to 90 percent of North Korea’s international trade is with China. In the U.S., we are continually urging China to get tougher with North Korea.

But while China is no fan of North Korea’s nuclear program, it does not see the country as an imminent threat. China benefits from its neighbor’s stability, fearing a collapse there would create chaos and violence on the Korean peninsula and send refugees surging across the border into China.

For the United States, North Korea’s nuclear program should be cause for alarm but not panic. We can’t do much to influence such an isolated country, but we should not ignore the options we do have. We urgently need to pursue a political process aimed at freezing North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

And like it or not, we can’t solve the problem of a nuclear-armed North Korea without talking to them. Talking with North Korea will not be popular, but it has become necessary.

Previous multi-party talks addressing North Korea’s nuclear program fell apart in the face of North Korean intransigence. Since then, the U.S. has said we will return to the negotiating table only if North Korea moves away from its nuclear weapons program, a precondition that has ensured no talks.

To continue that stance would be a mistake. We should be prepared to resume talks without preconditions. It may be that the Obama administration is moving away from such preconditions. But we have not yet sat down to talk.

None of this is to suggest that talks with North Korea would be easy or would yield prompt results. We should continue using sanctions and attempting to hold government leaders responsible for their decisions. But along with pressure, we need to add a strong political and diplomatic component to our efforts.

At the same time, the U.S. and its partners must be prepared in the event North Korea collapses. The immediate challenge for the international community would be to seize or destroy North Korea’s nuclear arsenal to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

In all of these efforts, we need to work closely with other Asian nations – especially China. We must find a way to persuade North Korea that the path to security and stability lies in moving away from isolation and secrecy, not in pursuing nuclear strength.

Lee H. Hamilton is a Distinguished Scholar, Indiana University School of Global and International Studies; Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs; and Senior Advisor, IU Center on Representative Government. He served as U.S. Representative from Indiana’s 9th Congressional District from 1965-1999.

August 19, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

North Korea claims that it is ready for a nuclear strike on USA

flag-N-KoreaNorth Korea says it is preparing for nuclear strike against United States http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/246711889/north-korea-says-it-is-preparing-for-nuclear-strike-against-united-states   Big News Network.comSunday 14th August, 2016 SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea says it is preparing for a preemptive nuclear strike against the United States.The country says it has switched the status of its military from defense mode to attack mode.

The deployment by the United States of three B-52 stealth bombers to Andersen Air Force Base at Guam earlier this week has unnerved the North Korean regime which said Saturday the deployment was preparation for a planned nuclear strike on North Korea.

The government said if it it sees any sign an invasion underway it will launch a nuclear strike against the U.S.

The Yonhap news agency based in Seoul in South Korea confirmed the Nortth Korean government statement which it picked up from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the North Korean official news agency.

“The U.S. attempt to invade the DPRK (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea) is getting evermore reckless,” KCNA said in a signed commentary.

The U.S. Air Force says it deployed the 3 B-52 to Guam on Tuesday, largely because of the recent rhetoric coming out of North Korea. Pyongyang however believes the United States is preparing for a pre-emptive nuclear strike. “The U.S. evermore undisguised reinforcement of the nuclear force goes to clearly prove that it is trying to make a preemptive nuclear strike at the DPRK a fait accompli,” said the commentary.

Warning that it could strike first, North Korea said: “The right to make a preemptive nuclear strike is not the monopoly of the U.S.” “The DPRK revolutionary armed forces switched from their existing mode of military counter-action to the mode of a preemptive strike to cope with the enemy’s ridiculous military hysteria to undermine its sovereignty and right to existence,” the KCNA statement said. “All their operational groups are fully ready to deal a merciless and annihilating blow to the enemy if they make even the slightest provocation,” it added.

Saturday’s developments coincide with an acceleration of conscription in North Korea. The government has introduced a new recruitment regulation which requires all men aged up to their mid-30s, who have dodged military service in the past, to now join up. University students, factory workers, and men with families have been exempted in the past. They are now getting call-up notices to report for physical examinations. Source: Big News Network

August 14, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pyongyang accused Washington of preparing nuclear attack

flag-N-KoreaNorth Korea accuses US of planning nuclear strike, 9 News, 8 Aug 16  North Korea has accused Washington of planning a pre-emptive nuclear strike, after the US announced it would deploy its B-1 bomber in the Pacific for the first time in a decade.

The strategic aircraft were to be deployed on Saturday on the US island of Guam, the US military said last month, describing the operation as a routine rotation with the B-52 bomber.

Tensions have been running high since North Korea carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, followed by a barrage of missile launches that this month reached Japanese waters directly for the first time.

 Pyongyang accused Washington of “becoming all the more pronounced in their moves to topple down the DPRK by mobilizing all nuclear war hardware”……..

On July 29, the US Air Force said it would upgrade its hardware on Guam, a US territory in the western Pacific, by sending the B-1 for the first time since April 2006.

“The B-1 will provide US Pacific Command and its regional allies and partners with a credible, strategic power projection platform,” it said in a statement…….. http://www.9news.com.au/world/2016/08/07/11/43/north-korea-accuses-us-of-planning-nuclear-strike#MmhgdfqtXxMPWwiv.99

August 8, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Britain’s history of supplying nuclear weapons technology to North Korea

What Theresa May forgot: North Korea used British technology to build its nuclear bombs.Ecologist, David Lowry 26th July 2016 

When Theresa May proclaims in Parliament that we need the £200 billion Trident nuclear missile system to see off the North Korean nuclear threat, writes David Lowry, just bear this in mind. It is a threat that the UK, global nuclear proliferator in chief, created in the first place, providing both the reactor technology and vital centrifuge materials to make North Korea’s nuclear dream come true.

In the debate on Trident nuclear WMD renewal in Parliament last week, the new UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, in a peculiarly ill-informed speech – demonstrating her political career that has virtually no experience in security or defence affairs – made, inter alia, the following unsupported assertions:
  • ” … today the threats from countries such as Russia and North Korea remain very real.”
  • “North Korea has stated a clear intent to develop and deploy a nuclear weapon, and it continues to work towards that goal, in flagrant violation of a series of United Nations Security Council resolutions.”
  • “North Korea is the only country in the world to have tested nuclear weapons this century, carrying out its fourth test this year, as well as a space launch that used ballistic missile technology. It also claims to be attempting to develop a submarine-launch capability and to have withdrawn from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.”
  • “Based on the advice I have received, we believe that North Korea could already have enough fissile material to produce more than a dozen nuclear weapons. It also has a long-range ballistic missile, which it claims can reach America, and which is potentially intended for nuclear delivery.”

It reminded me of the similarly ill-informed former Prime Minister Tony Blair, in his speeches to MPs trying to win them over with dodgy ‘advice’ from British intelligence, to go to war by invading Iraq in 2003.

MPs have short memories, despite the Chicot Report on the Iraq invasion disaster not yet two weeks old, and 472 motley MP fools backed May and Trident replacement. As with the Iraq invasion, MPs will in future have to admit their regrets at being fooled. And again, they ignord the thousands of demonstrators outside, calling for Trident to be abandoned.

Britain’s nuclear proliferation ‘secret’

But May was right in one way. North Korea has developed nuclear weapons. But what she did not say was they did it with copied British bomb-making technology.

There is significant evidence that the British Magnox nuclear plant design – which was primarily built as a military plutonium production factory – provided the blueprint for the North Korean military plutonium programme based in Yongbyon. Here is what Douglas (now Lord) Hogg, then a Conservative minister, admitted in a written parliamentary reply in 1994 to Labour MP Llew Smith:

“We do not know whether North Korea has drawn on plans of British reactors in the production of its own reactors. North Korea possesses a graphite moderated reactor which, while much smaller, has generic similarities to the reactors operated by British Nuclear Fuels plc. However, design information of these British reactors is not classified and has appeared in technical journals.”

The uranium enrichment programmes of both North Korea and Iran also have a UK connection. The blueprints of this type of plant were stolen by Pakistani scientist, A Q Khan, from the URENCO enrichment plant in The Netherlands in the early 1970s.
(see David Albright, Peddling Peril, 2010 pp 15-28, Free Press, New York)

This plant was – and remains – one-third owned by the UK government. The Pakistan government subsequently sold the technology to Iran, who later exchanged it for North Korean Nodong missiles……….

Lessons of history

This sorry tale has several important lessons for us today. First – and this must never be forgotten – the UK’s early ‘atoms for peace’ nuclear power programme was specifically designed and intended to produce plutonium for nuclear bombs. And it was not just nuclear waste from Calder Hall that went for plutonium extraction at Windscale, but from other sites that were meant to be purely civilian such as Hinkley Point.

The UK is therefore guilty of ‘breaking the rules’ that are meant to separate civil and military nuclear activities, and its complaints of other states doing the same all carry the unmistakeable whiff of ripest humbug.

Second, for all its public position of seeking to restrain nuclear proliferation, the UK is actually one of the world’s most egregious nuclear proliferators: providing arch-nuclear enemy North Korea with both the Magnox technology it has used to produce plutonium for atom bombs; and the high strength aluminium it has used for its uranium centrifuges.

So when Theresa May stands up in Parliament and proclaims that we need the Trident nuclear missile system to see off the North Korean nuclear threat, remember: it is a threat that the UK created in the first place, providing both the nuclear reactor technology and the centrifuge materials to make it happen.

And when the UK cites the nuclear threat from North Korea as a reason to spend an estimated £200 billion on the next generation of Trident, we can be sure that North Korea and other countries aspiring to their own nuclear weapons are applying precisely the same logic to the British nuclear threat.

And that considering the UK’s history of aggressive regime-changing interventions in Iraq and Libya, the hundreds of (up to 225) nuclear warheads in its possession, and its ability to target them accurately anywhere in the world, North Korea’s fears are probably a great deal better founded than Mrs May’s. http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2987935/what_theresa_may_forgot_north_korea_used_british_technology_to_build_its_nuclear_bombs.html

August 1, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, Reference, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea seek ‘nuclear nation’ status at ASEAN forum

flag-N-KoreaNK to seek ‘nuclear nation’ status at ARF   Pyongyang’s top diplomat attends ASEAN forum, Korea Times,  By Rachel Lee Ri Yong-ho, 23 July 16 
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho is expected to call on the international community to accept his country as a nuclear state at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Laos, officials here said Sunday……..

The North has stepped up its nuclear weapons program this year. It fired a Hwasong-10 intermediate range ballistic missile on June 22, after carrying out its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 4 and a series of ballistic missile tests afterwards.
This year’s ARF, the region’s largest security gathering, attracted diplomats from 27 countries, including all members of the six-party talks aimed at Pyongyang’s denuclearization as well as the 10 ASEAN-member states……..

“The ARF will discuss some of the very complex issues surrounding terrorism, the South China Sea and North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats after its fourth nuclear test early this year,” Yun said, expressing his will to have the majority of participating countries strictly follow the U.N. Security Council’s latest sanctions on Pyongyang.

On the sidelines of the forum, Yun will hold talks with Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos _ all of which have been friendly with Pyongyang _ as part of his efforts to attract participation in sanctioning the North. High on the agenda will also be the deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery on the Korean Peninsula. …..http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2016/07/120_210172.html

July 25, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | 1 Comment

North Korea’s nuclear weapons not able to reach Britain

flag-N-KoreaNorth Korea admits ‘our nuclear weapons aren’t a threat to the UK’, Mirror UK, , 22 JUL 2016, [good pictures and video] 

The rogue state claimed that Theresa May’s comments on the nuclear threat that Kim Jong-un poses were “absolutely astonishing”. North Korea has admitted that its nuclear weapons CAN’T reach the United Kingdom. Pyongyang said that claims made by Theresa May on the threat it poses were “absolutely astonishing”.

A statement from the North Korean foreign ministry said: “It is illogical that the DPRK’s nuclear weapons pose a threat to the UK.

“It is a pity that the UK makes an excuse for the building of [nuclear submarines] by finding fault with the DPRK, thousands [of] kilometres away from it.”

Prime Minister May was making the case for renewing Britain’s Trident missile defence system when she pointed out that the UK must be prepared to act should it come under attack. May added: “We must continually convince any potential aggressors that the benefits of an attack on Britain are far outweighed by their consequences and we cannot afford to relax our guard or rule out further shifts which would put our country in grave danger.”

However North Korea responded: “The DPRK does not regard the UK’s nuclear weapons as a threat to it.

“Therefore, the UK has no need to regard the DPRK’s nukes as a threat to it.”………http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/north-korea-admits-our-nuclear-8469712

July 23, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea Accuses US Of Creating Nuclear War Threat Near Korean Peninsula

 BY VISHAKHA SONAWANE @VISHAKHANS ON 07/05/16 International Business TimesNorth Korea Tuesday criticized the United States for its joint military drills with South Korea held between June 13 and 20. Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), in a commentary, held Washington responsible for nuclear war threat on the Korean Peninsula.

The U.S. sent two B-52 Stratofortress, which can be equipped with long-range nuclear air-to-ground missiles, to fly over the skies near South Korea during the exercises with the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force. KCNA said that Japanese planes that took part in the exercises targeting North Korea……http://www.ibtimes.com/north-korea-accuses-us-creating-nuclear-war-threat-near-korean-peninsula-2389291

July 6, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | 1 Comment

USA nuclear bombers fly near South Korea

U.S. sends 2 nuclear bombers to fly in skies near S. Korea last month  http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2016/07/03/33/0301000000AEN20160703004100315F.html  SEOUL, July 3 (Yonhap) — The United States sent two B-52 nuclear bombers to fly in skies near South Korea last month, military officials said Sunday, a move seen as a display of force against North Korea.

The U.S. strategic bombers from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam conducted flights in skies near the Korean Peninsula and Japan between June 13 and 20, the officials said.

The move was part of the U.S. Air Force’s efforts to check its military capacity in the Asia-Pacific region, they added.

In January the U.S. flew its strategic bunker-busting B-52 bomber across the skies of South Korea in response to North Korea’s fourth nuclear test.

The B-52 Stratofortress, armed with long-range nuclear air-to-ground missiles, conducted a low-level flight over the U.S. Osan Base, some 55 kilometers south of the capital Seoul.

The June flight of the B-52 bombers appeared to be detected by North Korea.

Pyongyang insisted that a formation of B-52s was busy conducting a “nuclear bomb-dropping drill” on June 17.

On June 23, North Korea claimed the successful launch of what it called a Hwasong-10 intermediate range ballistic missile, known as the Musudan missile to other countries, saying that it has the capacity to strike U.S. forces in the Pacific region.

July 6, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea: United Nations human rights report on N.K. this week

U.S. State Department to release human rights report on N.K. this week  WASHINGTON, July 5 (Yonhap) –– The U.S. State Department is expected to submit a report on North Korea’s human rights abuses to Congress this week, and the document is likely to name North Korean leader Kim Jong-un responsible for the situation, a diplomatic source said Tuesday.

Under the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act enacted in February, the State Department is required to submit a specific report on Pyongyang’s human rights abuses within 120 days of enactment. That deadline passed on June 17.

The department is expected to submit the report this week as it is unable to delay any longer, and the report is expected to mention the North’s leader, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The report can be used as a basis for what would be the first-ever U.S. sanctions on the North over the country’s human rights record. News reports have said that the U.S. is expected to blacklist about 10 North Korean officials. Should Kim be included in the report, he is also expected to be blacklisted……..The U.S. has led the U.N. Security Council to adopt the toughest sanctions ever on Pyongyang while enacting its own unilateral sanctions on the communist nation in the wake of the North’s fourth nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch the following month.

Last month, the Treasury Department also designated the North as a “primary money laundering concern,” a powerful sanction designed to cut off the provocative regime from the international banking system for defiantly pursuing nuclear and missile development. http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2016/07/06/52/0200000000AEN20160706000400315F.html

July 6, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, North Korea | Leave a comment

North Korea reopening plutonium facility?

North Korea Appears To Reopen Plutonium Plant, Nuclear Watchdog Says. Huffington Post,  08/06/2016 VIENNA (Reuters)  The IAEA says the move suggests the country is widening its arms effort.
 – North Korea appears to have reopened a plant to produce plutonium from spent fuel of a reactor central to its atomic weapons drive, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Monday, suggesting the country’s arms effort is widening.

Pyongyang vowed in 2013 to restart all nuclear facilities, including the main reactor at its Yongbyon site that had been shut down and has been at the heart of its weapons program.

It said in September that Yongbyon was operating and that it was working to improve the “quality and quantity” of its nuclear weapons. It has since carried out what is widely believed to have been a nuclear test.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has no access to NorthKorea and mainly monitors its activities by satellite, said last year it had seen signs of a resumption of activity at Yongbyon, including at the main reactor…….

Little is known about the quantities of weapons-grade uranium or plutonium that North Koreapossesses, or its ability to produce either, though plutonium from spent fuel at Yongbyon is widely believed to have been used in its nuclear bombs.

North Korea has come under tightening international pressure over its nuclear weapons program, including tougher U.N. sanctions adopted in March backed by its lone major ally China, following its most recent nuclear test in January…….http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/06/07/north-korea-appears-to-reopen-plutonium-plant-nuclear-watchdog/

June 8, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea: Ballistic missile launch fails for the fourth time in recent months, South Korea says

flag-N-Korea North Korea appears to have tried and failed with a fresh ballistic missile launch in violation of existing UN resolutions, South Korea’s Defence Ministry said.

Key points:

  • The fourth recent attempt to launch the North’s medium-range Musudan missile has failed
  • Japan had readied naval destroyers and anti-ballistic missile batteries, media said
  • G7 leaders demanded last week that the North refrain from provocative action

Seoul said the missile test took place at 6:30am AEST on Tuesday near the eastern port city of Wonsan.

“The attempted missile launch … is believed to have failed,” a ministry spokesman said……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-31/north-korea-ballistic-missile-launch-fails-south-korea-says/7461280

June 1, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

N.Korea leader Kim vows nuclear restraint

flag-N-Korea http://www.reuters.com/video/2016/05/08/nkorea-leader-kim-vows-nuclear-restraint?videoId=368407626
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says his country will not use nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty is infringed by others with nuclear arms and sets a five-year plan to boost the secretive state’s moribund economy. Mana Rabiee reports.  A vow of nuclear restraint from North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un. He said his country will fulfill its obligations for nuclear non-proliferation and said it’s willing to normalize ties with nations that have been hostile to Pyongyang in the past.

He made the comments at a rare ruling party congress that’s still underway. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) NORTH KOREAN LEADER, KIM JONG UN, SAYING: “As a responsible nuclear weapons state, our Republic will not use a nuclear weapon unless our sovereignty is encroached upon by any aggressive hostile forces with nukes.” Isolated North Korea is being squeezed by U.N. sanctions over its nuclear weapons and ballistics program, and has frequently threatened to attack South Korea and the United States. But it’s made similar statements before about normalizing relations with South Korea with little progress. Kim also set out a blueprint for a five year economic program, but offered few specifics.

May 9, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

What do we know about North Korea’s nuclear program?

flag-N-KoreaNorth Korea’s nuclear program: What do we know?  Euan McKirdy, CNN 5 May 16 Despite international condemnation, North Korea has ramped up its quest to become a nuclear power, with weapons tests a very visible sign of leader Kim Jong Un’s ambitions.  This year alone has seen at least eight signs of either nuclear tests or delivery methods. Some analysts believe the regime may be gearing up for another nuclear test — its fifth.

How advanced is North Korea’s nuclear program? Each test offers an opportunity to learn from mistakes either in launch capability or the nuclear program.
Joel Wit, a senior fellow at the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, says the regime is pursuing technological developments, both on the nuclear and delivery systems sides.
In terms of developing the nuclear technology, each test gives Pyongyang’s nuclear scientists an opportunity to gain invaluable data that is helping them miniaturize the devices, reduce the amount of nuclear material needed for each bomb, and increase their yield.
They are also developing missiles that can reach targets from South Korea to the U.S., and developing more advanced technology, such as solid fuel rocket engines, larger liquid fuel rockets and submarine-based launches.
The aim, he says, is “first to grow size of nuclear stockpile, and increase the type of delivery systems to ensure second strike capacity.”………..
What are its delivery capabilities?

North Korea’s missile development program began in the 1960s, and by 1971 the country had signed an agreement with China to develop and produce ballistic missiles. It has also partnered with Iran on missile development.
By 1984, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, it had developed the Hwasong-5, a homegrown version of the Scud missile.
Since then it has developed or is developing as many as eight delivery vehicles. The submarine-based Bukgeukseong-1, a Polaris-variant, is the latest in development. North Korea is believed to have fired one off the east coast of the Korean peninsula in April.
Its intermediate-range Nodong (also called Rodong) was developed in the late 1980s and successfully test-launched in 1993.
North Korea’s arsenal has weapons which can potentially reach the continental United States. The three-stage, liquid fueled ballistic/space launch missile Kwangmyongsong, also known as the Unha-3 mod or 2 Taepodong-3, has a range of 12,000 km (7,456 miles).
n February, North Korea said it had launched a satellite into space, triggering international condemnation and a strong reaction from an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.
North Korea says the launch is for scientific and “peaceful purposes,” but it is widely viewed by other nations as a front to test a ballistic missile, especially coming on the heels of North Korea’s purported hydrogen bomb test a month earlier.
In March, Pyongyang announced it had miniaturized its nuclear warheads so they could be fitted to ballistic missiles.http://edition.cnn.com/2016/05/05/asia/north-korea-nuclear-program-advancement/

May 6, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Embarrassing failure of North Korea’s latest missile launch

North Korea fails to launch Musudan missile, US defence official says, ABC News, 15 Apr 16  North Korea’s attempt to launch what appears to be a medium-range Musudan missile has failed on the birthday of founding leader Kim Il-sung, a high-profile misstep after Pyongyang claimed a series of breakthroughs in its nuclear weapons program.

Key points:

  • North Korea fails to launch what appears to be a Musudan-class missile
  • Launch failure occurred on the birthday of founding leader Kim Il-Sung
  • Musudan missiles are reported to have a range of up to 4,000 kilometres

There had been widespread intelligence reports in recent days that the North was preparing a first-ever flight test of the Musudan, believed to be capable of striking US bases in the Pacific island of Guam.

The US and South Korean militaries both detected and tracked the early morning test.

“We assess that the launch failed,” a US defence official said, adding that it was “presumably” a Musudan.

The April 15 birthday of Kim Il-sung — the grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong-un — is a major public holiday in North Korea, where key political anniversaries are often marked with displays of military muscle.

A Pentagon spokesman described the attempted launch as a catastrophic failure………

Failed launch heightens possibility of further nuclear tests

South Korean officials and international experts said the failed launch heightened the possibility of North Korea conducting another nuclear test, possibly within weeks.

“North Korea is capable of conducting an additional nuclear test at any time if there is a decision by Kim Jong-un,” said a senior South Korean official involved in national security policies involving the North……. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-15/north-korea-missile-launch-fails/7329968

April 16, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

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