By Siegfried S. Hecker.
"What are the greatest threats from the rapidly expanding North Korean nuclear program? Left unchecked, Pyongyang will likely develop the capability to reach the continental United States with a nuclear tipped missile in a decade or so. Much more troubling for now is that its recent nuclear and missile successes may give Pyongyang a false sense of confidence and dramatically change regional security dynamics. The likely ability of the DPRK to put nuclear weapons on target anywhere in South Korea and Japan and even on some US assets in the Pacific greatly complicates the regional military picture"
"While the country does not want war, its calculus leads it to cultivate a permanent risk of one — and prepare to stave off defeat, should war happen, potentially with nuclear weapons. That is a subtler danger, but a grave one."
[South China Morning Post] ‘Stop making the situation worse’: North Korea’s H-bomb test draws condemnation from Beijing. 01/06/16
“We strongly urge [North Korea] to remain committed to its denuclearisation commitment, and stop taking any actions that would make the situation worse,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) said."
Cai said "For China, North Korea’s nuclear programme itself does not pose major security threats, but rather it’s the resulting response from the US and Japan, such as enhancing their military deployment in the region, that is causing a headache for Beijing.”
"The missile appearing the still photographs released by KCNA is named “Bukgeungsong-1,” as indicated by the Korean characters on the airframe. Ironically, the name translates to “Polar Star” or “Polaris,” the latter parroting the name of the US Navy’s first-generation SLBM, initially deployed in the early-1960s. The Bukgeungsong-1 has a diameter-to-length ratio similar to that of the Soviet R-27 (4K10; SS-N-6), a sea-launched ballistic missile first deployed during the 1960s. The R-27 has a maximum range of about 2400 kilometers when delivering a 650-kilogram warhead."
"Firstly, the missile was ejected from the launch tube at a slight angle, not vertically. This was likely done to mimic the launch angle required when firing operational missiles that contain a full-propellant load. Indeed, the US and others launch SLBMs at an angle to ensure that if the missile’s main engine fails to ignite, the weapon loaded with volatile propellant does not fall back onto the submarine and explode. North Korea appears to have incorporated the safety protocol"
"Secondly, the missile’s liquid-propellant engine successfully ignited, demonstrating that the sequence and timing of events was nominally correct."
"employing a mock-up rather than a complete missile suggests that the test objectives were limited to evaluating the mechanism responsible for ejecting the missile from an underwater-launch tube, safely activating the missile’s propulsion system and stabilizing the missile as it accelerates upward."
[38 North] Could the New Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Change the Dynamics of Economic Engagement with North Korea? 05/26/15
"Even if there were an absence of political obstructions, North Korea would not have easy entry to the bank. In fact, North Korea reportedly made informal enquiries about becoming a member, and came away discouraged because it could not provide key information on its economic and financial conditions."
"North Korea signaled potential openness to such multilateral engagement when it agreed to join the Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering as an observer"
"A gradual, phased approach could begin by according North Korea an observer status within the AIIB. Such a step would allow North Korea to learn how the AIIB conducts normal business and why the bank adopts certain governance policies and operational procedures."
"A second track would address North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs through a new round of Six Party Talks, or with a successor framework for reducing the nation’s threats to the global nonproliferation regime and regional security."
"A careful international strategy could thus leverage the AIIB as a new tool for productive engagement with North Korea."
Robert L. Gallucci, a professor of diplomacy at Georgetown University, was the chief negotiator for the 1994 nuclear deal with North Korea. Joel S. Wit, a senior fellow at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins, was the coordinator for the deal from 1995 to 1999.
"The collapse of the North Korea deal has been used to argue that it is impossible to conduct diplomacy with rogue states. But the only litmus test that matters is whether an agreement serves our national interest, is better than having no deal at all, and is preferable to military force. The arrangement with Iran appears to be well on its way to meeting that standard."
"North Korea has an operational road-mobile missile that could carry nuclear weapons to the United States...[t]he KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missile was first paraded in North Korea in 2012."
"[O]n Tuesday, Adm. Bill Gortney, the head of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, told reporters at the Pentagon that he thinks Pyongyang has achieved a breakthrough. “We assess that it’s operational today, and so we practice to go against that,” he said."
[US-China Economic Security Review Commission] Diminishing China-North Korea Exchanges: An Assessment. 03/23/15
An archive of news and resources on East Asian security. Rather than adhering to a particular political agenda, this archive aims to bring together diverse and insightful resources found while conducting research.