US Finally Realizes Korea Has A Hydrogen Bomb (Daniel 7)

The US is starting to think that North Korea might actually have tested hydrogen-bomb components

[Business Insider]
Armin Rosen

kim jong un
According to CNN, inconclusive sampling of air near the test site by US spy aircraft, along with the unusual depth at which the test is believed to have occurred, have led some US officials to suspect that North Korea actually did test elements of a hydrogen device.
“The test was conducted more than two times deeper underground than originally assessed — at a depth consistent with what might be needed for a hydrogen bomb,” CNN reports, while cautioning that “the size of the seismic event and other intelligence indicates it was not likely a fully functioning device.”
Seismic information indicates that North Korea tested a weapon with a comparable explosive yield to the nuclear device the country detonated during its last previous test in 2013 — a 10-kiloton bomb that created a fireball one-fifth of a mile wide. After the January 6 test, numerous arms-control experts said it was highly unlikely that North Korea had tested a hydrogen bomb, though possible it had tested a more typical fission-based atomic weapon “boosted” with hydrogen isotopes for increased yield.
Even a failed test of hydrogen-bomb components could signal an alarming shift in North Korea’s weapons capabilities.
As Alex Wellerstein, a nuclear historian at the Steven Institute of Technology and creator of Nuke Map, told Business Insider on January 6, a country that’s mastered thermonuclear-weapons design suddenly has a number of possible options open to it.
For instance, a country with a thermonuclear capability could build “a very thin-cased bomb of low yield [in this case 1 to 10 kilotons, or 1,000 to 10,000 tons of TNT] that would emit a lot of radiation relative to its blast power.”
The so-called neutron bomb, or “enhanced radiation,” weapon isn’t all that hard to develop once a country has mastered more basic hydrogen-bomb technology.
north korea nuclear map
(Reuters)
Map locating North Korea’s nuclear facilities.

North Korea would still face the technical hurdle of miniaturizing a hydrogen device for delivery by ballistic missile. The US wasn’t able to construct a functioning neutron bomb of any size or weight without extensive testing, and North Korea may not have the testing data or carried out the trial-and-error process needed to actually build a functioning hydrogen device.

Bush Helped Cause The Present South Asian Nuclear Crisis

Bush Administration Nuclear Policy Enabled India’s H-bomb Program

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In December, the Center for Public Integrity published an investigative report by Adrian Levy titled Experts worry that India is creating new fuel for an arsenal of H-bombs. It was also published in Foreign Policy with the more alarming title India Is Building a Top-Secret Nuclear City to Produce Thermonuclear Weapons, Experts Say.
The Indian government has appropriated a large chunk of land in the southern Karnataka state to build a military complex of nuclear research laboratories and testing facilities. Also ostensibly intended to produce fuel for India’s nuclear reactors and submarines, it seems that, writes Levy
… another, more controversial ambition, according to retired Indian government officials and independent experts in London and Washington, is to give India an extra stockpile of enriched uranium fuel that could — if India so decides — be used in new hydrogen bombs (also known as thermonuclear weapons), substantially increasing the explosive force of those in its existing nuclear arsenal.
Bear in mind that because India never signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),it’s a “rogue” nuclear nation like Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea, and not subject to inspections by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). Presumably, India seeks to build up its arsenal to counter Pakistan, right? Not necessarily. Levy:
Gary Samore, who served from 2009 to 2013 as the White House coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction, said “I believe that India intends to build thermonuclear weapons as part of its strategic deterrent against China.”
The Bush administration’s deal of cooperation with India implemented in 2008 was controversial because India was not a signatory to the NPT. (Bear in mind that with all the heat we have kept on Iran for decades about its nuclear research, it’s a signatory to the NPT — just one we haven’t got along with.) Levy again:
Opponents of the deal complained … that it did not compel India to allow inspections of nine reactor sites known to be associated with the country’s military, including several producing plutonium for nuclear arms. The deal also allowed 10 other reactor sites subject to IAEA inspection to use imported uranium fuel, freeing up an indigenously-mined supply of uranium that was not tracked by the international community and could now be redirected to the country’s bomb program.
Given India’s “need to build up [its] nuclear deterrent arsenal as fast as possible,” it should “categorize as many power reactors as possible as civilian ones, to be refueled by imported uranium, and conserve our native uranium fuel for weapons grade plutonium production,” strategist Krishnaswamy Subrahmanyam, a longtime adviser to the Indian government, notoriously wrote in December 12, 2005, in The Times of India. [Emphasis added.]
Which is exactly what India is doing. Thank you George Bush for expediting thermonuclear weapons in the Indian subcontinent. Though the West might be able to dodge direct involvement in a nuclear war between India and China or Pakistan, the ensuing nuclear winter would have a devastating effect on the entire planet for years to come.

Korea Orders Babylon the Great (Daniel 7)

The isolated state has long sought a peace treaty with the United States, as well as an end to the exercises by South Korea and the United States, which has about 28,500 troops based in South Korea.
“Still valid are all proposals for preserving peace and stability on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia including the ones for ceasing our nuclear test and the conclusion of a peace treaty in return for U.S. halt to joint military exercises,” North Korea’s official KCNA news agency cited a spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry as saying early on Saturday.
“We are going to continue to make sure the alliance is ready in all respects to act in defense of the South Korean people and the security of the peninsula,” he told a regular news briefing.
Asked earlier this week about North Korea’s call for a peace treaty, the State Department reiterated its position that it remained open to dialogue with North Korea but said “the onus is on North Korea to take meaningful actions toward denuclearization and refrain from provocations.”
The two Koreas remain in a technical state of war since their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
Experts have expressed doubt that the North’s fourth nuclear test was of a hydrogen bomb, as the blast was roughly the same size as that from its previous test, of a less powerful atomic bomb, in 2013.
Pyongyang is under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and missile programs.
(Reporting by Tony Munroe in Seoul; additional reporting by David Brunnstrom in Washington, editing by Andrew Roche and Tom Brown)

New developments with the Korean nuclear horn


A look at developments surrounding North Korea’s nuclear test
By Paul Elliott Jan 11, 2016
Tri-County Sun Times

Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that the U.S. has decided China’s North Korea strategy is a failure and that they must abandon “business as usual” after this week’s apparent nuclear test. “But today in my conversation with the Chinese I made it very clear that that has not worked and we can not continue business as usual”. North Korea said it had detonated a hydrogen bomb, a vastly more powerful weapon than the nuclear devices it has tested three times before, but experts were extremely skeptical of that claim. South Korea’s initial retaliation to the North’s latest nuclear test was a mix of K-pop, scathing commentary on its nuclear programme and derision of the ruling family’s penchant for costly clothes and luxury handbags. North Korea is thought to have a handful of rudimentary nuclear bombs and has spent decades trying to ideal a multistage, long-range missile to carry smaller versions of those bombs. The U.N. Security Council held an emergency session and pledged to swiftly pursue new sanctions against North Korea, saying its test was a “clear violation” of previous U.N. resolutions. “Our military is at a state of full readiness, and if North Korea wages provocation, there will be firm punishment”. North Korean government officials told CNN’s Will Ripley, who is in Pyongyang, that they are not afraid of more sanctions; they said that they’ve lived for years with the crippling measures levied against them and are prepared to tighten their belts even more. “We urge South Korea to exercise restraint”, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said during a visit to Japan, after the South resumed the broadcasts. Japan is considering reinstating some of its own sanctions against North Korea while working with the United States for an global response to Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test. North Korea’s declaration that it had tested a hydrogen bomb fo… Kerry rejected a reporter’s suggestion that the Obama administration had neglected the North Korean threat as it focused on curbing Iran’s nuclear program. He adds that North Korea seems to look down on the South “because we are always in a defensive position”. South Korean companies – mostly small- and medium-sized – make products such as watches and fashion goods with cheap labor from North Korea. South Korean officials cranked up banks of loudspeakers near the demilitarized zone with North Korea, blaring pop music, news reports and other information into the isolated country. Officials refused to elaborate, but the assets likely are B-52 bombers, F-22 stealth fighters and nuclear-powered submarines. “Broadcasts from South Korea can reach deep and far into North Korea’s society, imbuing the minds of its people with the images of a free nation and hurting the oppressive personality cult”. The United States is highly unlikely to restore the tactical nuclear missiles it removed from South Korea in 1991, experts said. It can not have escaped the notice of North Korea that after Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program was ended after the first Gulf War and Muammar Ghadafi voluntarily gave up his nuclear weapons program, one wound up dead in a hole in the ground and the other in a sewer pipe. The North’s 2013 test produced an estimated yield of 6-7 kilotons of explosives, according to South Korean officials. Obama also discussed options with President Park Geun-hye of South Korea. Tri-County Sun Times

North Korea Defends Her Choice

By AFP
2:49AM GMT 09 Jan 2016
Pyongyang says the fates of the late Libyan leader and Saddam Hussein show the need for a nuclear deterrent
It also warned South Korea, which resumed high-decibel propaganda broadcasts across the inter-Korean border in response to Wednesday’s test, that its actions were driving the divided peninsula to “the brink of war“.
A commentary published by the official KCNA news agency late on Friday said Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test was a “great event” that provided North Korea with a deterrent powerful enough to secure its borders against all hostile forces, including the United States.
North Korea said the test was of a miniaturised hydrogen bomb – a claim largely dismissed by experts who argue the yield was far too low for a full-fledged thermonuclear device.
The KCNA commentary said the current international situation resembled the “law of the jungle” where only the strongest survive.
“The Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq and the Gaddafi regime in Libya could not escape the fate of destruction after being deprived of their foundations for nuclear development and giving up nuclear programmes of their own accord,” it said.
Both had made the mistake, the commentary argued, of yielding to Western pressure led by a United States bent on regime change.
Asking North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons was as pointless as “wishing to see the sky fall”, it said, adding that the entire country was proud of its “H-bomb of justice“.
The defiant message came as the international community scrambled to respond to North Korea’s latest test.
While UN Security Council members discuss possible sanctions, world leaders have sought to build a consensus on how best to penalise leader Kim Jong-un’s maverick state.
South Korea on Thursday took its own unilateral action by switching on giant banks of speakers on the border and blasting a mix of propaganda and K-pop into North Korea.
The same tactic, employed during a dangerous flare-up in cross-border tensions last year, had seen an infuriated Pyongyang threaten artillery strikes against the loudspeaker units unless they were switched off.
At a mass rally held on Friday in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung square to celebrate the test, senior North Korean ruling party official Kim Ki-nam said Seoul was once again playing with fire.
“The United States and its puppets have wasted no time in driving the situation on the peninsula to the brink of war, resuming their psychological warfare broadcast,” Kim said.
North Korea’s Pakistan Connection

Aparna Pande Director, India Initiative, Hudson Institute
North Korea’s claim of enhancing its nuclear weapons program draws attention to the failure of global non proliferation regimes. The real failure however may not be in North Korea but in Pakistan. The presence of U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula and China’s willingness to keep Pyongyang in check act as constraints on North Korea. The tendency of Washington to treat Pakistan with kid gloves leaves it without any sense of being contained.
On January 6, 2016, Pyongyang claimed it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. Experts will take days to fully analyze whether or not North Korea had the technical capability to undertake a test of that magnitude but preliminary reports state that Pyongyang was lying. The AQ Khan Network run by the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, sold sensitive technology to help North Korea build its program.
AQ Khan has never paid for what he did and no one knows for sure if we have all the information about the illicit network. No comprehensive investigation was undertaken by Pakistan or by members of the international community. Instead, then military dictator General Pervez Musharraf pardoned AQ Khan in 2004 after the latter gave “a televised confession in which he admitted selling the technology but insisted that he acted alone.”
Khan was removed from his position but there was no accounting for his actions. An official Pakistani pronouncement to the effect that the problem had been addressed was deemed enough. Pakistan insisted the matter was closed and the United States accepted Pakistan’s explanation because Washington needed Islamabad’s help in the war in Afghanistan.
For decades, the United States has sought to control and curb the global proliferation of nuclear technology. Yet in an inexplicable development last year, some American experts and administration officials argued offering Pakistan a civil nuclear deal along the lines akin to the 2006 India-US civil nuclear deal. The delusion was this would bring Pakistan within a restraint regime and increase American knowledge about Pakistan’s rapidly rising nuclear arsenal.
For the last six decades succeeding American administrations have indulged in the fallacy that more aid and materiel will provide them with greater leverage in Pakistan and that in turn will help them convince Pakistan to change its policies. As the title of former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States Husain Haqqani’s seminal book on U.S.-Pakistan relations notes the United States has lived in Magnificent Delusions for decades.
Right from independence in 1947, Pakistan’s foreign and security policy has been centered on the desire for parity with its larger neighbor, India. Decades later, India is still the existential threat, instead of the radical jihadis that threaten to break up Pakistan.
Desirous of but unable to achieve conventional military parity with India, Pakistan’s security establishment saw nuclear weapons as providing that parity. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program was and remains India centered. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, both for the state and the lay public, are integral to Pakistani national psyche and the needs of a security conscious state obsessed with India.
Over the years many experts, primarily American, have argued for India to accept restraints on its program and sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). They assert Pakistan will follow suit thus placing the burden on India to act. However, that is a misconception.
The aim of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program is not deterrence that was achieved decades ago— it is parity with India. Hence, it is almost impossible for any Pakistani government to accept restraints on their program unless they have achieved the impossible task of parity with India in this sphere as well.
Pakistan built its nuclear weapons program during the 1970s and 1980s while receiving massive American economic and military assistance. The military regime of General Zia ul Haq promised the Reagan administration that it would not build nuclear weapons. Yet as has been demonstrated in declassified U.S. government documents, Washington often turned a blind eye because of the need for Pakistan as an ally during the anti-Soviet Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union.
After secretly building its nuclear weapons during the 1980s, in the 1990s an elaborate global proliferation network came up in Pakistan centered on the figure of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan. This network sold “nuclear secrets to any rogue state that came calling.” As many as two planes a month arrived in Pakistan from Pyongyang during the late 1990s, bringing the missile technology in exchange for AQ Khan’s secrets, such as how to use centrifuges to enrich enough uranium for a weapon.
Other countries part of the network were Iran and Libya: the former is now seeking recognition as a nuclear weapons state while the latter agreed to give up its technology in return for removal of international sanctions and aid.
In December 2015, at a hearing of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee subcommittee on the issue of Civil Nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, Chairman of the Subcommittee Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) bluntly stated that the “A.Q. Khan Network is believed to have sold sensitive nuclear technology to the most unstable countries on the planet. It was the Khan Network that allowed North Korea to get its uranium enrichment program up and running.”
Six decades of interactions with Americans have affirmed the Pakistani military’s belief that cosmetic changes or words alone will suffice to convince the U.S., that Pakistan is a serious member of the international community and deserves to be treated as one.
That the fundamentals of Pakistani policy have not changed was demonstrated when in March 2015 an official from Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division, the key administrative organ within Pakistan’ Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) made light of Jihadists having penetrated Pakistan’s nuclear program. “We filtered out people having negative tendencies that could have affected national security,” said the NCA official, as if that was sufficient to assuage international concerns.
This attempt to reassure the international community that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are in safe hands and will not fall into the hands of the Jihadis differs little from Pakistan’s response to the troubling sale of nuclear weapons technology by Dr. A.Q. Khan and his criminal network.
Pakistan’s reassurance about the security of its nuclear program ignores the possibility of a military officer with Islamist sympathies rising up the ranks. In that event, an Islamist would have his fingers on the nuclear trigger and could act independent of his institution, just as Dr. Khan single-handedly sold nuclear material and plans to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
There has been no introspection within Pakistan about the presence of a network that violated all international norms and there is little to no discussion globally on this issue either. Pakistan remains unwilling to change the substance of its policy on terrorism and also continues to build its nuclear arsenal even as it succeeds in reassuring the international community that it is ready for a drastic transformation.
Washington could, as before, simply ignore these warning signs and move on with business as usual. Or the next time Pakistan’s army chief comes to town instead of being feted he could be asked tough questions on Pakistan’s proliferation record.
If global non-proliferation is to be pursued seriously there has to be a way to make nations pay for bad behavior including on world proliferation. Until that is done threats like North Korea’s will continue to surface.

Hwang Sung-Hee
The leaders of the three countries, who have long sought to project a united front against the North Korean nuclear threat, spoke by phone a day after Pyongyang’s shock announcement that it had tested its first hydrogen bomb.
Their consultations followed a meeting of the 15-member UN Security Council in New York which, with backing from China, Pyongyang’s sole major ally, strongly condemned the test and said it would begin work on a new UN draft resolution that would contain “further significant measures.”
UN diplomats confirmed that talks were under way on strengthening several sets of sanctions that have been imposed on secretive North Korea since it first tested an atomic device in 2006.
In South Korea, the mood was uncompromising, with President Park Geun-Hye calling for a strong international response to what she called a “grave provocation.”
Park spoke with US President Barack Obama on Thursday morning, with both leaders insisting that the test merited the “most powerful and comprehensive sanctions,” her presidential office said in a statement.
— Paying the price —
“The two leaders agreed that the North should pay the appropriate price… and vowed to closely cooperate to get a strong resolution adopted at the UN Security Council,” it added.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also spoke with Obama and agreed that they should spearhead the effort to impose harsher penalties on Pyongyang.
“We will take firm and resolute steps, including considering measures unique to our nation,” Abe said, hinting at unilateral moves.
The censure and sanctions threats had a familiar ring, given similar outrage that greeted the North’s previous tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013, and some voices stressed the need to find a strategy that combined coercion with negotiation.
“A priority must be to find ways to both further pressure North Korea to limit its nuclear weapons capabilities and engage it diplomatically,” said David Albright, president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security.
In announcing that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, North Korea said it had “joined the rank of advanced nuclear states” like Russia, France and the United States that also boast thermonuclear devices.
The order to test was personally signed by leader Kim Jong-Un, with a handwritten message to begin 2016 with the “thrilling sound of the first hydrogen bomb explosion.”
— Scepticism —
Acquisition of a working H-bomb — with a destructive power that dwarfs the bombs it has tested in the past — would represent a massive leap forward in the North’s nuclear weapons capability.
But experts said the explosive yield from Wednesday’s test — initially estimated at between six and nine kilotons — was far too small.
“The initial analysis that has been conducted… is not consistent with North Korea’s claim of a successful hydrogen bomb test,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
“There is nothing that has occurred in the last 24 hours that has caused the United States government to change our assessment of North Korea’s technical and military capabilities.”
Japan said three planes it sent up Wednesday to try and collect traces of radioactive material that might help clarify the nature of the test, had returned empty-handed.
At the UN, US Ambassador Samantha Power called for a “tough, comprehensive and credible package of new sanctions” to make clear to Pyongyang that there are “real consequences” to its actions.
Japanese Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa said he will be pushing for “a series of measures under chapter 7” of the UN charter, which provides for enforceable sanctions.
But there was no real clarity on what form the sanctions might take, or when the package would be drawn up.
Currently, there are a total of 20 entities and 12 individuals on the UN sanctions blacklist, which provides for a global travel ban and an assets freeze.
— Spotlight on China 
While Beijing has restrained US-led allies from stronger action against Pyongyang in the past, it has shown increasing frustration with its refusal to suspend testing.
But China’s leverage over Pyongyang is mitigated, analysts say, by its overriding fear of a North Korean collapse and the prospect of a reunified, US-allied Korea directly on its border.
There was no immediate response from North Korea to the UN sanctions threat, but its KCNA official news agency was unrepentant.
“The more frantic the hostile forces get in their moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK (North Korea), the stronger its nuclear deterrent will grow,” it said in a commentary.

The US Won’t Concede Korea Has A Hydrogen Bomb…Yet (Daniel 7)

The US Won’t Concede Korea Has A Hydrogen Bomb…Yet (Daniel 7)

By SOMINI SENGUPTA, DAVID E. SANGER and CHOE SANG-HUN
JANUARY 6, 2016
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council condemned North Korea for its nuclear test on Wednesday, but there was no evidence yet that the North’s most powerful backer, China, was willing to stiffen sanctions in a way that could push the unpredictable country to the point of collapse or slow its nuclear progress.
A two-hour closed session of the Security Council on Wednesday afternoon ended with a pledge to “begin to work immediately” on a resolution containing additional measures to rein in Pyongyang. It did not specify what those measures could be, and in the past, China and Russia have usually objected to steps that could threaten the North’s survival. The most obvious would be a prohibition on loading or unloading North Korean ships around the world, or on financial transactions with the nation.
The White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, did not indicate the basis for the administration’s skepticism of Pyongyang’s claim. But more than a month ago, when Kim Jong-un, the country’s young leader, boasted that he possessed the technology for a hydrogen bomb, American officials said they had a variety of evidence — some technical, some from human sources — to call that claim into question.
A hydrogen bomb would be far more powerful, and more fearsome, than the type of nuclear weapon the North has tested three times since 2006, when it conducted its first test during George W. Bush’s administration.
The seismic wave left by the explosion was smaller than what most experts would expect from the detonation of a true thermonuclear weapon. Some experts said it was possible the North had increased, or boosted, the yield of a more traditional device by using tritium, a common technique, in the 70-year history of nuclear weapons.
A South Korean Defense Ministry official, who requested anonymity to speak about a national security matter, said Thursday that the ministry believed that even if the device was a boosted fission bomb, the test was probably a failure. The explosive yield was even smaller than that from the North’s last and third nuclear test, in early 2013, he said.
“Even a boosted fission bomb produces a yield bigger than this, so we don’t think this is a successful test of a boosted fission bomb either,” he added.
But the true nature of the test may not be revealed until results are back from atmospheric testing, usually conducted by Air Force planes that run along the North Korean coast “sniffing” for byproducts of an explosion. Yet after the test in 2013, such inquiries were inconclusive.
“We may never know,” said one intelligence official involved in the testing. “The technology is pretty hit-and-miss.”
Gary Samore, Mr. Obama’s top nuclear adviser in the president’s first term, said Wednesday that the timing of the test was strange, with North and South Korea discussing restoring some economic ties and the North trying to reach out to the Chinese.
Even China used unusually strong language, probably because it also appeared to have been given no warning about the test, which the North claimed — against considerable evidence to the contrary — was its first effort to detonate a hydrogen bomb. The Chinese said they were “strongly against this act,” and their ambassador to the United States met with Susan E. Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, at the White House.
President Obama said nothing in public about the test, in contrast to Mr. Bush, who responded to the first North Korean test in 2006 by declaring that the North would be held responsible if its bomb technology were found anywhere else in the world.
Advisers said Mr. Obama was calculating that Mr. Kim was looking to get a rise out of him. “He’s not going to give him the satisfaction,” one aide said.
On Wednesday evening, the White House said that Mr. Obama had spoken by telephone with President Park Geun-hye of South Korea and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, reassuring both of America’s support.
Some American officials, declining to speak on the record, speculated that a dust-up last month over the treatment of an all-female band that North Korea sent to Beijing might have so angered Mr. Kim that he ordered the test to go ahead.
Video Residents in Yangji, a Chinese city close to the North Korean border, recall tremors from what appears to be the latest nuclear test there and express concerns over its environmental fallout.
Just before the band was supposed to perform, Mr. Kim declared that the North possessed hydrogen bomb technology. The Chinese, with no explanation, downgraded the level of officials scheduled to attend the performance, and the band then headed home without performing.
“I know this sounds like a crazy reason to set off a nuclear test,” one American intelligence official said. “But stranger things have provoked North Korean action.”
But it is far from clear that all the major players with a stake in what the North does are willing to take the kind of risks, and impose the kind of sanctions, that might prompt Pyongyang to back down or, alternatively, to lash out.
“Ratcheting up sanctions pressure demonstrates that there is a cost to violating Security Council resolutions,” she said in an email. “However, sanctions alone are not going to change Pyongyang’s behavior. North Korea has complex illicit trafficking networks for evading sanctions, and not all countries in the region are adequately enforcing existing measures.”
The one time the United States did clearly get the North’s attention was when it cut off bank accounts in Macau that Kim Jong-il, the father of the current leader, used to finance the lifestyle of the North Korean elite. But eventually, the Bush administration had to lift that sanction, partly under pressure from allies.
On Wednesday, American allies engaged in a now-familiar set of rituals. Ms. Park convened an urgent meeting of her top national security aides in Seoul.
Japan’s ambassador to the United Nations, Motohide Yoshikawa, told reporters after the Security Council meeting that his government expected the Council to adopt a robust resolution to check North Korea’s nuclear weapons ambitions.
The American ambassador, Samantha Power, called for a “tough, comprehensive and credible package of new sanctions.”
But the Russian ambassador, Vitaly I. Churkin, would say only that a “proportionate response” was necessary.
For Mr. Kim, there was some domestic politics in all this. His Workers’ Party is scheduled to hold its first full-fledged congress since 1980 this May. With no big improvements in the lives of his people, he needs something else to show for his four-year rule.
“The biggest achievement Kim Jong-un can offer ahead of the party congress is his nuclear program,” said Choi Kang, vice president of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. “It also means that things don’t look good in the economic sector.”

Korean Horn Tests The Big One (Daniel 7:7)

Mark Thompson @MarkThompson_DC
11:01 AM ET
It remains the lone ‘axis of evil’ power pushing for nukes
North Korea’s purported H-bomb test Wednesday makes clear the cost-benefit analysis of dealing with what President George W. Bush called the “axis of evil” shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks. That was his shorthand way of describing North Korea, Iraq and Iran in his 2002 State of the Union address. Since then, the U.S. and many of its allies have dealt with the three so-called “rogue nations” in three very different ways.
When Bush first declared the axis of evil on Jan. 29, 2002, he focused on Iraq. Fourteen months later, the U.S. invaded Saddam Hussein’s country, a war that killed 4,495 U.S. troops, cost more than $1 trillion, and served as a trigger for regional turmoil and a catalyst for the rise of ISIS. That’s the bad news. The good news: Iraq’s nuclear program is as dead as Saddam, executed in 2006.
Last year, the U.S. and five other allies struck a deal with Iran designed to delay Tehran’s nuclear ambitions for at least a decade. While hardly perfect—instead of killing Iran’s nuclear programs, it allows them to simmer—it does represent a firebreak in Iran’s push for membership in the atomic club. It represents a low-cost, potentially high-benefit, gamble to blunt Iran’s nuclear-weapons effort.
Then there’s North Korea. Under Kim Il-sung (in power from the country’s founding, in 1948, until his death in 1994), his son, Kim Jong-il (who ran the country from 1994 until his death in 2011), and his grandson, current leader Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang has resisted restrictions on its nuclear-weapons work, and then cheated when they have been imposed.
“This test is a measure for self-defense the D.P.R.K. has taken to firmly protect the sovereignty of the country and the vital right of the nation from the ever-growing nuclear threat and blackmail by the U.S.-led hostile forces and to reliably safeguard the peace on the Korean Peninsula and regional security,” North Korea, using the initials for its formal name of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said in an official statement heralding the Wednesday morning test.
While North Korea said it had tested a fusion-fueled hydrogen bomb—far more powerful than a more rudimentary fission-fueled A-bomb—outside experts are skeptical. Initial reports suggested a seismic event occurred near North Korea’s traditional nuclear test site at 10 a.m. Wednesday, but the shock wave it created matched that of the less-powerful version. If determined to be a nuclear detonation, it would mark North Korea’s fourth known test.
In any event, U.S. officials doubt North Korea could miniaturize such a weapon, put it atop a missile, and have that missile reach even Hawaii or the western coast of the continental U.S. with any accuracy.
But Pyongyang is getting steadily closer.
North Korea began its nuclear-weapons work in the 1980s, with help from Pakistan, and its initial acquisition of some atomic bombs apparently took place in the early 1990s. “Our policy right along has been oriented to try to keep North Korea from getting a significant nuclear-weapon capability,” Defense Secretary William Perry told TIME in 1994, making clear it already had a small arsenal.
Perry dealt face-to-face with North Korea leaders in 1999, after leaving his Pentagon post, as an emissary for President Clinton once a 1994 deal designed to end Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions fell apart. Upon arriving in North Korea, and seeing that there were no meetings scheduled with its military leaders, Perry requested one. According to Perry’s new memoir, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, the conversation between the former U.S. defense chief and the North Korean general went like this:
“This meeting was not my idea,” he said at once. “I was directed to meet with you. I don’t think we should even be talking about giving up nuclear weapons.”
I replied, “Why do you think you need nuclear weapons?”
“To defend ourselves from aggression!”
“Aggression from whom?”
“From you [pointing at me]! We will develop nuclear weapons. Then, if you attack us, we will use our nuclear weapons to destroy your cities—not excluding Palo Alto!”
“I appreciate candor in diplomacy,” Perry said of the mention of his longtime home, “but this was, perhaps, overdoing it.”
Of course, a nuclear weapon isn’t worth much without a means of delivering it. That means North Korea’s push for missiles is always a subject of intense U.S. interest.
“Intervening before mortal threats to U.S. security can develop is surely a prudent policy,” Perry wrote, along with current defense secretary Ashton Carter, in 2006 when it appeared that North Korea was readying for a nuclear-capable missile test. “Therefore, if North Korea persists in its launch preparations, the United States should immediately make clear its intention to strike and destroy the North Korean Taepodong missile before it can be launched.”
But the George W. Bush Administration did little beyond warning North Korea against such a test, which Perry and Carter criticized in TIME several days later, after the missile test failed. “Critics of our article, including members of the Bush Administration, say that a pre-emptive strike is too risky,” they said. “But if the U.S. is ever going to defend a line in the sand with North Korea, that is the least provocative way to do it, and next time it will only be riskier.”
That was a decade ago.
In his memoir, released in November, Perry expresses concern that the more than two decades of U.S.-led efforts to thwart North Korea’s nuclear goal have yielded little (unlike Wednesday’s test, which South Korea estimated had a yield of 6,000 tons of TNT).
“By 2015 we faced an angry and defiant North Korea that had armed itself with six to 10 nuclear bombs, was producing material for more bombs, and was testing the components of long-range missiles,” he writes. “Based on those outcomes, this is perhaps the most unsuccessful exercise of diplomacy in our country’s history.”

Korean Nuclear Horn Tests Its First Hydrogen Bomb

By Euan McKirdy, CNN
Updated 11:50 PM ET, Tue January 5, 2016
Hong Kong (CNN)In summary:
The U.S. says it may take days to confirm the claim
Countries in the region issue strong condemnation and hold emergency meetigs
North Korea says it has successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test, which if confirmed, will be a first for the reclusive regime and a significant advancement for its military ambitions.
A hydrogen bomb is more powerful than plutonium weapons, which is what North Korea used in its three previous underground nuclear tests.
“If there’s no invasion on our sovereignty we will not use nuclear weapon,” the North Korean state news agency said. “This H-bomb test brings us to a higher level of nuclear power.”
A senior U.S. administration told CNN it could take days to obtain the scientific data to determine whether this was a successful test.
The South Korean defense ministry said it too could not immediately confirm the tests’s success, but the country’s foreign ministry hastily convened an emergency meeting. Officials in Japan were also holding discussions.
The test took place at 10 a.m. local time, the regime said in a televised statement.
A big ‘if’
In the past, North Korea has tested fission weapons, which break large atoms like plutonium, into smaller atoms, creating considerable energy.
Fusion weapons, such as hydrogen bombs, use fusion to combine small atoms — such as hydrogen — to create much larger amounts of energy.
Nuclear weapons based on fission typically have a yield of around 10 kilotons, while nuclear weapons employing fusion can have a yield measured in megatons.
The North Koreans have signaled for some time the test was a possibility, said Mike Chinoy, with the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California.
“Kim Jong Un made public statement a few weeks ago saying that (the country was) developing a hydrogen bomb.”
But, said Bruce Bennett, North Korea’s claims ought to be taken with a grain of salt. Bennett is a senior defense analyst at the nonprofit, nonpartisan Rand Corp.
“North Korea appears to have had a difficult time mastering even the basics of a fission weapon,” he said. “This suggests that unless North Korea has had help from outside experts, it is unlikely that it has really achieved a hydrogen/fusion bomb since its last nuclear test, just short of three years ago.”
Regional response
The development illustrates the continuing challenge North Korea poses to its neighbors and the world.
“We have consistently made clear that we will not accept it as a nuclear state,” said a spokesman for the National Security Council. “We will continue to protect and defend our allies in the region, including the Republic of Korea, and will respond appropriately to any and all North Korean provocations.”
The North Koreans have signaled for some time the test was a possibility, said Mike Chinoy, with the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California.
Being more warm and cordial was hoped to restrain North Korea but now this places the Chinese authorities in a big dilemma.
South Korea has also said a fourth test would be a watershed moment that would warrant a response, Chinoy said.
There is currently no diplomacy from the U.S. to restrain the nuclear development, so this test “also puts the U.S. on the spot.
“Will any of their steps do anything to restrain North Korea? My guess is probably not.”
Japan quickly issued a strong condemnation, saying the test was a “serious threat” to its security.
“It clearly violates the UNSC resolution and is a serious challenge to the nuclear non-proliferation efforts,” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Heavily militarized country
North Korea’s internationally isolated regime is a heavily militarized state with a huge standing army of 1.2 million active soldiers and 7.7 million reservists.
But its conventional weaponry is dated, with limited effectiveness, and it has looked to developing its nuclear capabilities to project power internationally.
The country declared it had nuclear weapons in 2003, and conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.
In May last year, it said it had the ability to miniaturize nuclear weapons, a development that would allow it to deploy nuclear weapons on missiles. A U.S. National Security Council spokesman responded at the time that the United States did not think the North Koreans had such a capability.
David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector, told CNN last year that Pyongyang could already have 10 to 15 atomic weapons, and that it could grow that amount by several weapons per year.
He said he believed Pyongyang had the capability to miniaturize a warhead for shorter missiles, but not yet for intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.