The Korean Horns Will Unify


South Korea’s new president promises to help end nuclear crisis
Clifford Coonan in Seoul
Updated: Wed, May 10, 2017, 15:10
South Korea’s new president Moon Jae-in has pledged to do everything in his power to bring peace to the region and, in his first act as commander-in-chief, called the country’s top general for a briefing on the nuclear crisis.
A former commando and human rights lawyer, Mr Moon of the Democratic Party secured 41 per cent of the vote in Tuesday’s election, according to the National Election Committee. Although not quite a landslide, it is a strong mandate for the liberal’s conciliatory approach to North Korea and his pledge to rejuvenate the economy.
His election comes amid heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear programme. The country is believed to be preparing a sixth nuclear test.
In his inaugural address, Mr Moon pledged to end the Korean nuclear crisis by establishing a northeast Asia peace regime.
I will solve the security crisis promptly. I will go anywhere for the peace of the Korean Peninsula. If necessary, I will fly straight to Washington. I will go to Beijing and Tokyo and under the right circumstances go to Pyongyang as well,” he said.
After a phone call with South Korean general Lee Sun-jin, Mr Moon visited Seoul’s national cemetery to pay his respects to his late predecessors and war heroes, Yonhap news agency reported.
The White House was quick to send a message of congratulation to Mr Moon. His conciliatory attitude to North Korea runs counter to the more robust approach favoured by US president Donald Trump, who favours increasing pressure on North Korea with tougher sanctions.
Informal talks
There were reports from Oslo that North Korean officials began informal talks with a group of American experts, amid speculation that Washington may seek dialogue with Pyongyang.
Mr Moon’s election to the presidential residence, the Blue House, ends months of turmoil in South Korea following the impeachment and detention of conservative former president Park Geun-hye over an influence peddling and corruption scandal. Conservatives have been in power in South Korea for the past decade.
“I sense a heavy responsibility endowed by the people. My heart is full of passion for building a country that we have never had,” he said in his speech.
Mr Moon will need to build coalitions and alliances with the other political parties to get legislation through the single-chamber, 299-seat National Assembly.
He has promised a more open style of government, with direct press briefings on major issues, and also efforts to meet and greet the citizens in the markets and squares.
He was due to meet with the leaders of all five parliamentary parties, starting with the conservative party, Liberal Korea Party, which is now the main opposition party. Later he will attend a scaled-down inauguration ceremony at the National Assembly.
“The conflict between conservatives and liberals should end. I will talk directly with you. Opposition parties are my companions in the administration of state affairs. I will regularly talk and frequently meet with them,” he said.
He has appointed Lee Nak-yon, governor of South Jeolla province, as the new prime minister and Im Jong-seok, his top secretary during his election campaign, as his first chief of staff.

Why North Korea Is Not A Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8)

Image result for north south korea unifySouth Korea’s new president wants to reverse its North Korea…
5-6 minutes

SEOUL (CNN) – Seoul’s policy on North Korea is about to get a major overhaul.
Liberal reformer Moon Jae-in was sworn in Wednesday after winning a snap election to replace impeached President Park Geun-hye.
Moon has advocated dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in stark contrast to Park’s approach of tough sanctions and aggressive rhetoric.
Speaking at his swearing in ceremony, Moon promised to “resolve the security crisis as soon as possible.”
“If it is necessary, I will fly immediately to Washington and also visit Beijing and Tokyo,” he said.
“Under the right conditions, I will also go to Pyongyang. For peace on the Korean Peninsula, I will do everything that I can do.”
Moon also vowed to further strengthen the alliance between South Korea and the US.
While he was elected largely on concerns about corruption and the economy, North Korea loomed large after weeks of rising tensions in the region.
Return to sunshine?
A former special forces soldier and human rights lawyer, Moon came in for criticism during the campaign from hardline conservatives who saw him as weak on North Korea.
He has called for a combination of negotiations and economic cooperation alongside military and security measures.
“I am confident to lead the diplomatic efforts involving multiple parties, which will lead to the complete abandonment of the North Korean nuclear program, and bring the relationship between South and North to peace, economic cooperation and mutual prosperity,” Moon said in an April 25 debate.
His stance has been compared to the so-called “Sunshine Policy” of the liberal governments of 1998 to 2008. By no coincidence, he was a key adviser to those administrations.
During the Sunshine Policy, Seoul actively engaged Pyongyang, which led to closer relations on both sides of the border and saw two South Korean Presidents visit the North Korean capital. However, the approach ultimately failed to halt North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Weapons testing
Moon, who takes office Wednesday, is unlikely to get a long honeymoon when it comes to North Korea.
Experts have been predicting an imminent nuclear test, North Korea’s sixth, for weeks now, as the country ramps up missile testing and saber rattling.
On Sunday, Pyongyang announced it had detained a US citizen on suspicion of “hostile acts” against the regime, days after it accused Seoul and Washington of plotting to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un using “biochemical weapons.”
During the campaign, Moon advocated for engagement with North Korea — particularly on the economic front — as the best method to work towards a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
Such measures have not historically been popular with conservative administrations in the US, however President Donald Trump has vacillated between tough, militaristic talk on the North Korea issue and suggesting he could sit down with Kim himself.
Washington ties
The US and South Korea have a decades-long military and political alliance and Washington is by far Seoul’s most important bilateral partner.
Facing criticism from the right that his party is anti-American, Moon has played up Trump’s apparent willingness to meet with Kim, saying he is on the “same page” as the US leader.
However, one area where they firmly not in agreement is over the deployment in South Korea of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system.
The caretaker administration which took over after Park’s impeachment accelerated the THAAD roll-out, despite widespread criticism from Moon and others on the left, who have argued its deployment should be contingent on a vote in the country’s National Assembly.
Last week, Washington and Seoul announced that THAAD was partially up and running, and analysts have warned Moon may be able to do little to prevent its full deployment.
But analysts warn perceptions that the US ignored South Korean input on its own security issues — compounded when Trump called both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss North Korea, but the caretaker government in Seoul — have left a key relationship strained before it has even begun.
Washington was left in a delicate position after Park’s ouster, with several high-ranking administration officials — including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence — visiting Seoul to shore up the alliance amid tensions with North Korea.
During their visits however, the US officials only met with caretaker President Hwang Kyo-ahn, who had already declared he would not stand to replace Park, and avoided any of her potential successors.
Copyright 2017 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Nuclear Horns of Prophecy (Daniel 7-8)

 
Jeremy Bernstein
For some years I have been puzzling over the question of why some countries that want nuclear weapons succeed in building them and others don’t. As we enter what could be a new age of proliferation, the question takes on considerable importance. The US has a president-elect who has said he would repeal the Iran deal, which among other things prevents substantial uranium enrichment by Tehran for ten years, and who openly suggested during the campaign that our allies in Asia, and even the Arabian peninsula, take responsibility for their own nuclear deterrence. If, say, South Korea or Saudi Arabia began to pursue a nuclear program, how likely might they be to succeed?
History offers us a number of insights about this. Among the countries that succeeded in getting the bomb were Israel and South Africa and among those that didn’t were Libya and Iraq. It seemed to me that what the successful countries had in common was both a substantial technological infrastructure and a government that was both determined and permissive. An anecdote I once heard about the Soviet program makes the point. Stalin decided that the program might be better motivated if he appointed the much-feared Lavrentiy Beria, the head of the secret police, to direct it. When Beria decided that some of the nuclear scientists were straying off the ideological reservation he went to Stalin to complain. Stalin allegedly said to him, “You leave my physicists alone. We can shoot them later.”
Among the successful countries, the story of the Israeli-program is well known: they had a very sophisticated scientific establishment and a determined government. The situation in Pakistan is even more striking. About a half dozen physicists using rather primitive computers designed the device and a very determined government backed the production of the fissile elements. And then there is the remarkable case of South Africa.
South Africa’s interest in nuclear technology goes back to the late 1940s. It was realized that the country had a substantial supply of uranium and a large number of trained scientists. The government acquired two reactors and when it began to think about nuclear weapons, the idea was to generate plutonium for them in reactors. This was abandoned in favor of enriching uranium. South African scientists adapted a method—stationary centrifuges—that had never been used on an industrial scale: injecting Uranium hexafluoride gas at very high velocity into a tube with a sharp curve. When the gas goes around the curve the centrifugal force pushes the heavier isotope U238 out, leaving more U235—which is the fissile isotope of uranium, meaning it can be fissioned by neutrons of any energy which is what you need to make an explosive chain reaction.
From this supply of U235, the South Africans amassed enough weapons-grade uranium to produce seven nuclear devices, which were never tested. In 1989 the country abandoned the program and this material was turned over to the International Atomic Energy Agency. One curious aspect of the program was that only whites were allowed to work on it. I am always reminded of Tom Lehrer’s song on proliferation:
South Africa wants two, that’s right.
One for the black and one for the white.
In this case the whites got them all.
So what happened with the failures, Libya and Iraq? A good deal of sporadic reading has long persuaded me that one way or the other both countries had or had acquired sufficient means to pursue a program—in the case of Libya there were financial resources and in the case of Iraq both financial and scientific resources. The Libyans started with almost nothing, but the oil boom enabled them to buy what they needed. Yet both countries had leaders—Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi—whose feelings about these weapons were ambivalent and always secondary to preserving the ideology of the regime. Neither, I assumed, would have had the slightest hesitation to shoot their physicists.
Now there is an excellent new book, Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya Failed to Build Nuclear Weapons, by the Norwegian political scientist Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer, that is the most detailed study of these two programs that I have seen. After reading it I think that my general conclusions were right, but the situation was much more nuanced than I had realized. The book is divided into two parts, one on each country. The Libyan story is simpler and the treatment of it is shorter so I will start with that.
One curious feature of the Iraqi and Libyan programs is that both countries had signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. In the case of Libya, this meant that there were sporadic inspections by the IAEA. There was never much to inspect. But Libya’s membership in the NPT also meant something that I was not aware of until I read this book: the IAEA supplied instructors for courses in nuclear physics and engineering. The problem in Libya was that no one showed up for the lectures and the instructors gave up. It is an ineluctable fact that the Libyans never had the remotest chance of making nuclear weapons on their own. They simply did not have scientists with the requisite skills.
Muammar Gaddafi tried without success to buy a finished weapon from the Chinese and in the late 1990s began going to the black market to acquire the necessary technology. The primary source of this was the Pakistani proliferator A.Q. Khan. The Libyans bought a package that included centrifuges and the plans for a Chinese nuclear device that had been successfully tested in a rocket. This was supposed to be a “turn key” facility, which would require less special expertise to operate, and which would provide a direct road to nuclear weapons. But the Libyans never could get it to work. Finally in 2003 they gave up and in 2004 Kahn’s package was turned over to the CIA, in exchange for diplomatic recognition.
The situation in Iraq—where the “preemptive” US war was ostensibly fought on the presumption that there was a covert nuclear weapons program in place—was much more complicated. The Iraqis did have scientists with the necessary skills. But here the regime was an impediment. An interesting case is that of Jafar Dhia Jafar. He came from an important Iraqi family and did his scientific studies at the University of Birmingham in England. He would have liked to stay there on the faculty but was turned down and returned to Iraq. He became involved with the Iraqi nuclear program early and was one of its directors. He and his colleagues never fully understood exactly what their mission was, so when one of the secretaries accidentally wrote “Unclear Physics” on the top of a letter, it was adopted as a mantra. Saddam Hussein appointed his son-in-law to direct the program. When Hussein Shahristani, one of the leaders of the program, was arrested and tortured because it was thought that he deviated from Baathist dogma, Jafar tried to come to his defense. Jafar was placed under house arrest while still trying to direct parts of the program.
A crucial moment in the Iraqi program came on July 7, 1981, when the substantial Osirak reactor that had been supplied by the French was destroyed in a daring Israeli air raid. The Israelis already had suspicions about the Iraqi program and there had been assassinations of Iraqi nuclear scientists. (Just as there have been assassinations of Iranian scientists in recent years.) The 1981 raid is often viewed as the reason the Iraqi program was halted. My view is that it was essentially pointless. The worry of the Israelis was that the Osirak reactor was going to produce plutonium. But it is hard to imagine a reactor more poorly designed for that purpose. The fuel was highly enriched uranium—a large percentage of U235—whereas what one wants is a large percentage of U238. The IAEA was present to take possession of the U235, which could have been useful for making bombs. But after the raid the Iraqis gave up the idea of plutonium and Iraqis decided to pursue a clandestine program to enrich uranium. Needless to say A.Q. Khan tried to sell them his package. The Iraqis did not trust him and in any event were not going to use centrifuges. There were other small reactors that also used highly enriched uranium and that had not been destroyed in the Israeli raid. After the 1990–1991 Gulf War in Kuwait, the IAEA removed this uranium and none was diverted.
One may ask if we had not invaded Iraq in 2003 would they have produced a bomb? I think the answer is not obvious. Saddam Hussein’s son-in law was running the program and he had zero technological competence. He was always announcing absurd deadlines. To make him happy the scientists gave him technical reports that he could not understand. But the deeper question is, Did Saddam really want a bomb? I think sometimes he did and sometimes he didn’t. What he always wanted was to give the impression that Iraq might get one. In this he seems to have succeeded too well.
Which brings us to the present. Of the various countries that have been mentioned, which might be most likely to succeed? We know North Korea has succeeded. Surely South Korea and Iran could succeed. Saudi Arabia does not at present have enough of a scientific infrastructure, but with their unlimited wealth might try to buy a weapon.
The larger question is whether Trump is serious about abandoning the decades old efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. He has spoken of proliferation as being the greatest danger but does he understand what this means? Given his view if the Iran deal as somehow being financial, one has one’s doubts.
Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer’s Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya Failed to Build Nuclear Weapons is published by Cornell University Press.

South Korean Nuclear Horn Undermines US Hegemony


S. Korea’s nuclear armament could undermine U.S. influence in Asia: CRS report

2016/05/23 07:10
By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON, May 22 (Yonhap) — Encouraging South Korea to develop nuclear weapons could undermine American influence in Asia, unravel the U.S. alliance system and spark a nuclear arms race in the region, a congressional report said in apparent criticism of Donald Trump’s suggestion to do so.

“Presidential candidate Donald Trump in spring 2016 stated that he was open to South Korea’s developing its own nuclear arsenal to counter the North Korean nuclear threat,” the Congressional Research Service said in the recent report on South Korea-U.S. relations.

Should South Korea seek to go nuclear, the country could face such negative consequences as reduced international standing in the campaign to denuclearize North Korea, the possible imposition of economic sanctions and potentially encouraging Japan to develop nuclear weapons capability, the CRS report said.

“For the United States, encouraging South Korea to develop nuclear weapons could mean diminished U.S. influence in Asia, the unraveling of the U.S. alliance system and the possibility of creating a destabilizing nuclear arms race in Asia,” the report said.

The report also noted that North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January renewed a “debate about developing its own nuclear weapons capability, notwithstanding Seoul’s reliance on the U.S. ‘nuclear umbrella.‘”

“Although U.S. policymakers have reiterated their ‘ironclad commitment’ to defend South Korea and have publicized B-52 and B-2 long-range bomber flights over the Korean Peninsula, some South Koreans have pointed to the failure of the United States and others to stanch Pyongyang’s growing nuclear capability as justification for Seoul to pursue its own nuclear arsenal,” the report said.
However, South Korean President Park Geun-hye has rejected the notion of nuclear armament, it said.

Trump made the suggestion as a way to reduce U.S. security burdens overseas. Under his “America First” foreign policy, the real-estate tycoon has argued that the U.S. should be prepared to end protection of allies unless they pay more.

On the possibility of South Korea joining the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, the CRS report said that the administration of President Barack Obama has welcomed Seoul’s interest in joining the TPP, but the road to accession could be bumpy.

“Concerns from the U.S. business community over South Korea’s implementation of certain aspects of the KORUS FTA (Korea-U.S. free trade agreement) — in effect since March 15, 2012 — could be sticking points in South Korea’s potential bid to join the TPP,” the report said.

It noted that the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, sent a letter earlier this year to South Korea’s ambassador to raise such concerns while stressing that “adherence to existing international trade and investment agreements is a key factor in U.S. consideration of new trade negotiations.”

“The perceived economic impact of KORUS also may be a focus of U.S. debate over South Korea’s potential participation in TPP,” the report said. “While some herald KORUS as an economic success … other U.S. stakeholders have raised concerns over the increased U.S. trade deficit with South Korea since KORUS went into effect.”

Touching on relations between South Korea and Japan, the report said that it remains to be seen whether December’s landmark agreement on resolving the “comfort women” issue of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery represented a real breakthrough.

“Strong criticism of the agreement in South Korea, however, underscores the fragility of the bilateral relationship, which continues to be strained by mutual distrust between both the two countries’ governments and their peoples,” the report said.

Issues to watch in the coming months include whether Seoul will successfully establish a new comfort women foundation and Japan will provide money for it under the December deal, and whether Seoul carries out its pledge to “make efforts to appropriately address” Japan’s objection to a comfort women statue in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, the report said.

Saudis Prepare For Nuclear War (Daniel 7:7)

SA seeks nuclear deals, alliances to counter Iran

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RIYADH:

Saudi Arabia is pursuing its own nuclear projects and building alliances to counter Iran, which is days away from a potential atomic deal Riyadh fears could further destabilise the region.

The United States and other major powers will hold weekend talks with Iran in Vienna, aiming to finalise by Tuesday an agreement to prevent Tehran from getting a nuclear weapon.

Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, have concerns that Iran, Riyadh’s regional rival, could still be able to develop a weapon under the emerging deal to end 12 years of nuclear tensions.

They also worry Washington is not taking their concerns about Iran’s “destabilising acts” in the Middle East seriously enough.

On Wednesday, France and Saudi Arabia announced a feasibility study for building two nuclear reactors in the kingdom.

Like its neighbour the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia wants to diversify its energy sources and has plans for 16 reactors.

The Paris pact is the third nuclear accord Riyadh has signed this year.

Last week, it reached a deal with Russia on economic, technical and scientific ties for the peaceful use of atomic energy. In March, the kingdom signed a preliminary deal for nuclear cooperation with South Korea.

“Saudi Arabia is going big with its nuclear project,” said Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran journalist and an analyst who is linked to the royal family.

“Of course officially it is a peaceful project”, but the nuclear know-how could also be used to develop weapons, he said.

In March, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the kingdom’s former intelligence chief, told the BBC that whatever Iran is given under a deal with world powers, Saudi Arabia and others will want as well, potentially sparking a regional nuclear race.

Under a framework pact agreed in April, Iran will reduce the number of its nuclear centrifuges for enriching uranium, in return for a lifting of international economic sanctions.

Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful but if Saudi Arabia feels the Iranians are continuing their quest for a nuclear weapon, Riyadh will have “no option” but to pursue its own deterrent policy, Khashoggi said.

Riyadh has both “the will and the ability” to produce nuclear weapons, Saudi analyst Nawaf Obaid, a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, wrote on CNN.com last week.

But a Saudi official told AFP the kingdom “won’t take the risk” of seeking an atomic bomb.

He said Iran’s policy of “interfering” in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon poses danger, regardless of the weapons it possesses.

“I believe much of the talk about Saudi interest in nuclear weapons is posturing,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the non-proliferation and disarmament programme at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

He said their capability is still “rather low” and a better way to enhance Saudi security options is to partner with various Western nations.

“The French reactor deal provides another means of reassurance from Western partners of attention to Saudi interests,” Fitzpatrick said.

The nuclear agreement was among investments totalling about $12 billion finalised during the Paris visit by Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman.

Improved links with France highlight a deepening of ties between the Gulf and major powers beyond the region’s traditional ally the US.

Fitzpatrick said there is still huge distrust between Washington and Tehran but they will now have channels of communication, “which is of legitimate concern to Saudi Arabia.”

Salman’s Paris mission came a week after his trip to Russia where a military pact and several other agreements were reached alongside the nuclear deal.

Russia and Iran support Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad while Riyadh backs Sunni-led rebels in that country’s civil war.

But an editorial in the Saudi Gazette said cooperation between Russia and Riyadh will ensure “national unity and security” for both of them.

The kingdom “has to pursue its own security independently,” and cannot take American guarantees for granted, Khashoggi said.

“We are very worried about the Iranian expansionism…. The Middle East is falling apart and no one is helping to put it back in order. Saudi Arabia somehow is dancing alone there.”

South Korea And Saudi Arabia Nuclear Horns (Dan 7:7)

saudi arabia and south korea
 
S Arabia, S Korea sign MOU on nuclear power
Mar 04 2015 19:05

Khobar – Saudi Arabia and South Korea have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to co-operate on the development of nuclear energy, Saudi state news agency SPA said, building on a deal signed in 2011.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Tuesday in Riyadh during an official visit, SPA said.The MOU calls for South Korean firms to help build at least two small-to-medium sized nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, the South Korean presidential office said in a statement.”If the two units go ahead, the cost of the contract will be (near) $2bn,” the statement said.Saudi Arabia aims to build 17GW of nuclear power by 2032 as well as around 41GW of solar capacity. The oil exporter currently has no nuclear power.

Those plans are likely to take until 2040, the head of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE), in charge of overseeing such projects, said in January.

On Tuesday, K.A.Care said in a statement: “The two sides will discuss the current mutual activities and ways and means of future collaboration, building on the bilateral agreement already signed between the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of South Korea in 2011 with a view to develop and apply nuclear energy for peaceful uses.”

That agreement called for cooperation in research and development, as well as in construction and training.

Separately, Saudi Electricity signed four energy-related agreements on Tuesday with US company General Electric as well as South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco) , Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction and Eximbank.

The KEPCO agreement calls for co-operation in development of nuclear and renewable energy.
Al Hassan Ghazi Ibrahim Shaker Co. also signed a non-binding MOU with South Korea’s LG Electronics on co-operation in cooling systems for nuclear reactors.

The United Arab Emirates was the first Gulf Arab state to start building a nuclear power plant. In December 2009, the UAE awarded a group led by Kepco a contract to build four 1 400MW nuclear reactors to meet surging demand for electricity.

Saudis Preparing For New Middle East Order (Dan 7:7)

As nuclear deadline nears, fears Saudi may try to match Iran

Saudis' Parade Nuclear Bomb

Saudis’ Parade Nuclear Bomb

By Ian Timberlake

Riyadh (AFP) – Fears that Shiite Iran will remain a potential nuclear threat under a mooted international deal have raised concerns that Tehran’s Sunni rival Saudi Arabia could seek its own atomic capability.

As the March 31 deadline for talks between Tehran and world powers approaches, an influential Saudi prince has suggested his country will respond in kind if a final deal leaves open the possibility of a nuclear Iran.

Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal warned this month that a deal between Tehran and the so-called P5+1 powers (Britain, France, China, Russia, the United States plus Germany) could spark a nuclear race in the region.

“I’ve always said whatever comes out of these talks, we will want the same,” Prince Turki, the kingdom’s former intelligence chief and ex-envoy to Washington, told the BBC.

“So if Iran has the ability to enrich uranium to whatever level, it’s not just Saudi Arabia that’s going to ask for that.

“The whole world will be an open door to go that route without any inhibition, and that’s my main objection to this P5+1 process,” he said.

Negotiators are trying this week in Switzerland to reach a deal over Iran’s nuclear programme, which Tehran insists is peaceful but which world powers fear will give the Islamic republic a nuclear weapon.

Under a landmark November 2013 interim deal, Tehran stopped expanding its nuclear activities in return for minor relief from sanctions which have crippled its economy.

– Regional rivals –

Tehran and the international group are still far apart on key issues including the future size of Iran’s capacity for uranium enrichment, a process which can make nuclear fuel but also the ingredients for a bomb.

As the deadline nears, Washington appears to have abandoned demands that Iran completely dismantle its nuclear activities, raising fears in the Gulf, where Saudi Arabia has long vied with Iran for regional influence.

“There is a concern that Saudi Arabia and perhaps other states in the region may now seek similar capabilities” to Iran’s, said Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the non-proliferation and disarmament programme at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“Seeing how costly this has been for Iran, however, I expect the kingdom will think twice about going down such a route.”

The oil-rich region is already looking to diversify its energy sources with nuclear power. The first of four reactors being built for the United Arab Emirates by a South Korea-led consortium is to come online in 2017.

Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, this month signed a preliminary deal for technical and other nuclear cooperation with South Korea.

Still, experts said that even if Arab Gulf states develop atomic energy, they would be a long way from possessing nuclear weapons.

With most lacking technology for nuclear enrichment, if they wanted to quickly acquire weapons-grade material they would have to buy it, said Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

– ‘Jeopardising’ ties with US –

“Then the only way they could turn it into weapons, given their technology base, would be to have access to the weapons designs of a country like Pakistan,” he said.

Asaad al-Shamlan, a political science professor at Riyadh’s Institute of Diplomatic Studies, said he sees no basis for “speculation” that Riyadh is pursuing nuclear power as a way of countering Iran.

“I don’t think it’s geared towards that,” he said, adding that the economic case for nuclear power is forceful in a country which consumes much of its own petroleum resources for electricity.

Still, he said a nuclear deal that leaves Iran with “latent capability” — the potential to quicky develop nuclear weapons from a peaceful programme — would raise concerns among Gulf countries.

“One of the options is for the GCC countries to try to acquire at least an equal capacity for such latent capability,” Shamlan said, referring to the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

But politically that would be far from simple.

“It’s very easy to say ‘Oh, let’s go for a latent capability’,” Shamlan said.

“But I think that has to be addressed within the framework of the strategic relationship with the West, how to address this question without jeopardising the close relationship with United States.”

South Korea And Saudi Arabia Join The Nuclear Race (Dan 7)

Saudi Nuke Deal with South Korea Reignites Mideast Proliferation Fears

Flag-Pins-South-Korea-Saudi-Arabia

 

Saudi Arabia has signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with South Korea, fueling fears of a nuclear arms race in the Middle EastThe Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the signing of the agreement increases “concerns on Capitol Hill and among U.S. allies that a deal with Iran, rather than stanching the spread of nuclear technologies, risks fueling it.” As Simon Henderson and Olli Heinonen of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy explained to Business Insider, “While the purpose of multilateral negotiations with Iran is to reduce proliferation concerns, successful talks may in fact accelerate nuclear plans in the Gulf states and Jordan.”

Rumors of a weak deal that allows Iran a glidepath to a bomb have heightened concerns; lawmakers on Capitol Hill and analysts have expressed fears that America’s Sunni allies will pursue their own nuclear programs. As Henderson wrote elsewhere, “[F]rom their perspective, if Iran is going to be allowed to enrich uranium and retain its nuclear-capable missiles — as they believe likely given Washington’s reported approach to the negotiations thus far — why shouldn’t they be permitted to acquire similar capabilities?” Henderson contextualized this observation by adding that containing proliferation will be very difficult if an agreement is signed and the Gulf states oppose it.
Gulf Arab states have raised their concerns with the United States over the impending nuclear deal with Iran. Former head of Israeli military intelligence Amos Yadlin concluded that if Iran gets the bomb, “the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring.” According to the Journal, “A number of senior Arab officials have warned the White House in recent months the Saudi government could seek Pakistan’s aid in developing nuclear technologies — or even buy an atomic bomb — if it sees an agreement with Iran as too weak.”
Earlier this month, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic wrote that “if Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey respond to an Iran nuclear agreement by ramping up their own nuclear programs, we may be able to judge the deal a provisional failure.”

The Korean Nuclear Horn Extends Its Arms (Daniel 7:7)

S. Korea claims Pyongyang has nuclear missiles that could reach US

South Korea says its northern neighbor has developed compact nuclear warheads that could reach mainland America. Seoul also alleges Pyongyang shows no signs of stopping its nuclear program and has gained access to tons of weapons-grade plutonium.

The South Korean Ministry of Defense published the revelations in a white paper, which states that North Korea has achieved significant technological progress in their attempts to create nuclear warheads for ballistic missiles.

The missiles could allegedly reach mainland America. Pyongyang has carried out a series of tests on long-range missiles, but no signs have been detected that Pyongyang has put such missiles into service, Seoul said.

“North Korea’s capabilities of miniaturizing nuclear weapons appear to have reached a significant level,” the ministry said in a statement adding that North Korea has stored 40 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium by reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods and that it’s working on a highly enriched uranium program.

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on June 30, 2014 shows launching of a tactical rocket during a firing drill by the Korean People's Army Strategic Force at an undisclosed place in North Korea. (AFP/KCNA)

This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency on June 30, 2014 shows launching of a tactical rocket during a firing drill by the Korean People’s Army Strategic Force at an undisclosed place in North Korea. (AFP/KCNA)

This is not the first time that Seoul has made such statements and it is difficult to confirm the information. North Korea is a closed country and occasionally does like to boast about its missile capabilities. In June, Pyongyang tested what it says were new precision-guided missiles.

Speaking in May 2014, the South Korean Defense Minister, Kim Kwan-jin, told journalists that Pyongyang had reached the final stages of preparations to conduct a nuclear test. However, North Korea has yet to conduct a test, adding to the theory that Pyongyang enjoys keeping its rivals on edge through a series of veiled threats.

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on June 30, 2014 shows launching of a tactical rocket during a firing drill by the Korean People's Army Strategic Force at an undisclosed place in North Korea. (AFP/KCNA)

This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency on June 30, 2014 shows launching of a tactical rocket during a firing drill by the Korean People’s Army Strategic Force at an undisclosed place in North Korea. (AFP/KCNA)

After South Korea latest statement, Pyongyang demanded that Washington, who is committed to defending South Korea in the event of aggression from the north, should think carefully if it wishes to further antagonize Pyongyang.

“If Washington does not make the correct choice regarding the Korean question, then there will continue to be a period where Pyongyang will strengthen its war capabilities. If the US decides to stop being hostile and meddling in North Korea’s internal affairs, Pyongyang will look favorably on this decision,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

Relations between North Korea and the US have become even more strained after Washington introduced further sanctions, designed to impede access to the US financial system in the wake of a cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, which the Obama Administration has said was supported by the reclusive country.

China has meanwhile urged North Korea and South Korea to improve their relations through dialogue in order to maintain peace and safety in the region.
“As a near neighbor of the Korean peninsula, China has always supported the process of improving relations between North and South Korea through dialogue,” the TASS news agency quoted the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.

In October 2014, North Korean officials held talks with their South Korean counterparts in Incheon, the first time such a high level meeting has taken place since 2007. Both parties agreed to resume high-level talks, which have been strained by military tensions on the peninsula.

AFP/KCNA via KNS

AFP/KCNA via KNS

During his New Year’s address last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who was absent from that meeting in Incheon in October, said that there was “no reason” not to hold a high-level summit with neighboring South Korea. This came days after South Korea made a similar offer to resume dialogue with Pyongyang.

“If South Korean authorities sincerely want to improve relations between North and South Korea through talks, we can resume stalled high-level meetings,” he said, as reported by Reuters.

Why South Korea Is One Of Ten Nuclear Horns (Daniel 7:7)

South Korea Special Weapons

South Korea's Nuclear Program

South Korea’s Nuclear Program

Nuclear Weapons

South Korea began a nuclear weapons program in 1970, in response to the Nixon Doctrine’s emphasis on self-defense for Asian allies. Following the withdrawal of 26,000 American troops, the South Korean government established a Weapons Exploitation Committee, which decided to pursue nuclear weapons. By 1975 the US had pressured France into not delivering a reprocessing facility, effectiely ending attempts to develop nuclear weapons. Under pressure from the United States, Korea ratified the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) on 23 April 1975. Although President Park Chung-Hee said in 1977 that South Korea would not develop nuclear weapons, he continued a clandestine program that only ended with his assassination in October 1979.

South Korea may have had plans in the 1980s to develop nuclear weapons to deter an attack by the North. The plans were reported to have been dropped under US pressure. However, the reports seem to have emanated in the form of hearsay from a South Korean opposition legislator, with no confirmation from US or South Korean officials, or independent sources. The United States remained concerned, as indicated by the “special” inspections that the US conducts at the center of Seoul’s nuclear research, the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) located at Daeduk, near the city of Taejon. The United States maintains a ban on plutonium being supplied to the South Korea.

 

Nuclear Safeguards

In connection with the NPT, the Safeguards Agreement between Korea and the IAEA has been in force since 14 November 1975. In 1975, only 2 nuclear facilities, TRIGA II and III research reactors, were under IAEA safeguards. However, because of the active nuclear power program in Korea, 33 facilities are now under IAEA safeguards.

As an active measure to maintain the increase use of nuclear material and facilities, a national inspection system was introduced to respond to all international obligations and to ensure international transparency and credibility of nuclear activities in Korea.

The Technology Center for Nuclear Control (TCNC) was established at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute in 1994 to develop safeguards technology and to provide technical assistance to the Government. In 1996, MOST authorized TCNC at KAERI as the technical assistant agency for national safeguards implementation.

In addition, each nuclear facility or installation has designated a person in charge of safeguards, which was strongly recommended by the Government to strengthen the State’s System of Accounting for and Control of nuclear material (SSAC). Even though the Government is at the top and the center of the Korean SSAC in terms of hierarchy, it is the close cooperation amongest organizations and institutions that has made safeguards implementation succeed in Korea.

National inspection were performed for 7 facilities in 1997 on a trial basis and were carried out for 13 facilities in 1998 as an intermediate step before full implementation. During these periods, necessary elements such as inspection criteria and procedures, inspection equipment, and inspection information management system were developed for full scope national inspection.

In 2001, the full scope national inspection was performed for 33 facilities. Although the national inspection system in Korea needs to be further developed, its benefit is already foreseen. Advanced inspection equipment have been developed for efficient and effective inspection both for the IAEA and Korea. Since 1999, Korea has accomplished 95% of the IAEA safeguards inspection goal attainment. In October 2001, Korea and the IAEA signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of enhanced cooperation for light water reactors.

As of October 2002, a total of 17 nuclear power units were in operation, and three units are under construction. A further eight units are to be constructed from 2003. Korea has around 15 GW of nuclear power capacity, which accounts for 28.0% of its total electric power capacity. To enhance the safety and to cut the costs of nuclear power plants, Korea has developed an advanced power reactor with a capacity of 1,400MWe, called APR1400, on the basis of technological self-reliance of the 1,000MWe Korea Standard Nuclear Power Plant (KSNP) in 1995. Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company(KHNP), the sole consumer of nuclear fuel in Korea, has a basic guideline to ensure the nuclear fuel supply and to pursues the economic efficiency at the same time by applying an international open bid.

 

Nuclear Enrichment

South Korea admitted to embarrassment but not to wrongdoing as international inspectors investigated the secret enrichment of uranium at government-run nuclear facilities. The government said it was fully cooperating with a team of inspectors from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that departed after concluding a week-long inspection. Revelations that scientists in South Korea had engaged in clandestine uranium enrichment in 2000, albeit in microscopic quantities, emerged at a time when Seoul was playing a leading role in efforts to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons drive.

These experiments were done by a small group of scientists for research purposes on a laboratory scale and without the knowledge or authorization of the government of the Republic of Korea. The head of the research institute admitted that the uranium enrichment experiment by South Korean government scientists was conducted three times in 2000 with his approval. And the government of the Republic of Korea did not have an enrichment or reprocessing program at all, and do not have and will not have that enrichment or reprocessing facilities.

One of these conversion activities, which took place at three facilities that had not been declared to the Agency, involved the production of about 150 kilograms of natural uranium metal, a small amount of which, according to the ROK, was later used in the AVLIS experiments. The ROK authorities have pointed out that the uranium enrichment experiments took place in the context of a broader experimental effort to apply AVLIS techniques to a wide range of stable isotopes. According to the ROK, only about 200 milligrams of enriched uranium were produced.

International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors visited three previously undeclared facilities in South Korea. The inspection team visited another facility for which the results of environmental samples had revealed the presence of slightly irradiated depleted uranium with associated plutonium. The ROK authorities informed the Agency that, in the early 1980s, a laboratory scale experiment had been performed at this facility to irradiate 2.5 kilograms of depleted uranium and separate a small amount of plutonium.

News of the experiment prompted nervous reaction from Japan.

The Korean government will take measures to avoid a recurrence of this issue by creating a national center for controlling nuclear material, and educating scientists to remind them of their safeguard obligation; and safeguard agreements mean that even minute amounts of nuclear material must be reported to the IAEA.

 

Nuclear Reprocessing

South Korean scientists extracted plutonium in 1982 without reporting it. A week after admitting government scientists enriched uranium in a clandestine experiment four years earlier, South Korea revealed it also engaged in plutonium research more than 20 years ago. South Korean officials confirmed that several milligrams of plutonium were extracted in a 1982 experiment at the country’s nuclear energy research institute. South Korean diplomats insisted the experiments were extremely limited and conducted purely for scientific research.

Under the NPT, South Korea is allowed to conduct experiments with nuclear material. But all such experiments have to be reported to the IAEA so it can verify that none of the material involved is being used for military purposes. So the experiments themselves are not illegal. But carrying them out without declaring them to the appropriate international agency is illegal.

South Korea started the initial stages of a clandestine nuclear weapons program during the early 1980s, when the future of its security relationship with the United States was in doubt. That was after Washington announced possible plans to withdraw U.S. troops from South Korea: “The United States learned of this nuclear activity and through political pressure and persuasion was able to end the program at a very early stage.

After the end of its nuclear weapon program, by the late 1980s South Korea retained interest in reprocessing spent fuel from its civilian nuclear power program, hoping that plutonium recycling would reduce dependence on imported uranium. The United States consistently opposed South Korean reprocessing initiatives, citing weapons proliferation concerns.

British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) had sought to obtain reprocessing contracts with South Korea, similar to the arrangements in place with Japan. An export licence was granted on 11 November 1997 for the export of up to 50kg of recycled low enriched uranium powder to the Republic of Korea for research and development on nuclear fuel. A shipment of 43.7kg of nuclear fuel containing reprocessed uranium was exported under this licence by BNFL to South Korea for use in the Hanaro research reactor at Daeduk in 1998.

In November 2004, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported, in a confidential report, that quantities of nuclear material produced over a 20-year period by South Korea as part of nuclear experiments were not significant by that the activities and the failure by South Korea to declare them were, however.