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Worries about N.K.’s repeated promotion of nuke, missile tests

Worries about N.K.’s repeated promotion of nuke, missile tests

Posted September. 16, 2015 07:15,   


North Korea announced on Tuesday, “The use of all nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, including uranium enrichment plant, and a 5MW graphite moderated reactor have been adjusted and changed, and they have been maintained anew, and started normal operation.” The North also said if the U.S. and others continue hostile policy towards it, “We are fully prepared to counter with nuclear thunders.” Pyongyang also threatened on Monday night, by saying, “The world will see satellites of Military First (North) Korea’s robustly blast off from the earth and soar into the sky at a time and venue that the headquarters of our party will decide.” The North is apparently seeking to brag about the power of its nuclear weapons and missiles ahead of October 10, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North’s Workers’ Party, but we cannot rule out the possibility that the North actually launches provocations. If the South becomes complacent, believing that the imminent crisis that that was caused by the North’s provocation with landmines has been eased due to the August 25 inter-Korean agreement, the South could face an even more perilous crisis.

The North’s last nuclear test was conducted on Feb. 12, 2013, and last test firing of a ballistic missile was done on Dec. 12, 2012. Analysts say that the North may have secured technology since then to reduce the size of its nuclear warheads. It is also worrisome that the North claimed on Tuesday, “We have continued to improve qualitative and quantitative standards of various nuclear weapons, and are constantly creating innovations day after day in research and production to ensure the credibility of nuclear deterrence on all different fronts.” Watchers predict that as the North recently increased the missile launch tower to over 60 meters in the village of Dongchang-ni, Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, it will test fire a long-range missile with a maximum range of 12,000 kilometers at the ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the founding the Workers’ Party. Watchers say Kim Jong Un, who is lacking notable achievements during his rule, could present nuclear weapons and missiles at the 70th anniversary event. There is also a chance that the North could respond with a provocation to the situation of the international community’s growing pressure on the North, as the South Korea-China ties made significant strides in recent months.

If the North dares to conduct a nuclear test or test firing of a missile, dark cloud will cast over reunions of separated families from the South and North Korea that are scheduled on October 20 – 26, which will inevitably place the August 25 agreement itself on a shaky ground. The Seoul government will have to reconsider its decision to halt propaganda broadcasts through loudspeakers towards the North under the condition of "as long as an abnormal situation does not occur.’ Firing of a long-range missile or a nuclear test is a serious provocation that not only poses threat to the South, but also jeopardizes world peace.

Whenever it fires a ballistic missile, Pyongyang always claims it to be a satellite. The satellite launch vehicle that sends a satellite into space has the same fuselage and projectile as a missile and has similar guide and control equipment. The only difference is whether the rocket carries a warhead or a satellite.

The U.N. Security Council has adopted several times resolutions condemning the North for three nuclear tests and five ballistic missile launches over the past years. The North was able to resist pressure due to China’s support despite repeated U.N. sanctions in the past. If China is truly opposed to the North’s nuclear weapons and missiles, it should openly pressure Pyongyang now. Only when the international community forms a united front to counter Pyongyang’s provocations, then will it be able to block Kim Jong Un from launching a provocation.