Category Archives: Koreas

North Korea May Get 100 Nuclear Bombs, Researcher Says – Bloomberg Business

North Korea may have as many as 100 nuclear arms in five years and become capable of mounting them on a range of road-mobile missiles, a U.S. researcher said.

Joel Wit, who researches North Korea at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, made the projection Feb. 24 at a seminar in Washington. In an e-mailed analysis to Bloomberg News, he said his moderate projection for North Korea’s nuclear stockpile is for it to grow to 50 bombs by 2020 while the country develops a new generation of road-mobile medium- and long-range missiles tipped with nuclear warheads.

North Korea May Get 100 Nuclear Bombs, Researcher Says – Bloomberg Business

Russia is turning North Korea into its agent of mischief

Russian President Vladimir Putin is bent on restoring not only the old Soviet Union’s borders, but its sphere of influence and client states. States such as East Germany and North Korea were particularly useful in they insulated the Soviet Union from another World War II-style attack.

If you view Russia as continually under threat, as Putin and his allies do, you want the protection of those satellite nations back.

Russia is also looking for an Asian provocateur. Russia’s current ambition is centered on the Ukraine. An expansionist Russia could very much use an ally in Asia that preoccupied the United States, Japan, and South Korea with its sporadic, violent outbursts.

In that respect, North Korea fits the bill perfectly.

Russia is turning North Korea into its agent of mischief

North Korea Flight Tests New Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile | Washington Free Beacon

North Korea conducted the first flight test of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile last month, defense officials said this week.

The flight test of what the Pentagon is calling the KN-11 missile took place Jan. 23 off the coast of North Korea from a sea-based platform—not a submarine—located off the coast of the communist state, said officials familiar with reports of the flight test.

U.S. intelligence ships and aircraft monitored the test and tracked the successful missile firing.

Additional details of the flight test could not be learned. A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on the test, citing the sensitivity of information about North Korea’s SLBM program.

North Korea Flight Tests New Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile | Washington Free Beacon

North Korea developing submarine-based missiles: US think-tank | Navy & Maritime Security News at DefenceTalk

“Development of a submarine-launched missile capability would take the North Korean nuclear threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula.”

Recent satellite images offer fresh evidence of North Korea developing a marine-based missile system that would give the nuclear-armed state a survivable second-strike nuclear capability, a US think-tank said Friday.

The commercial satellite pictures suggest the conning tower of a new North Korean submarine — first seen in July last year — houses one or two vertical launch tubes for either ballistic or cruise missiles, the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said.

“The boat could serve as an experimental test bed for land-attack missile technology which, if successful, may be integrated into a new class of submarines,” the institute said in an analysis posted on its closely-followed 38 North website.

Development of a submarine-launched missile capability would take the North Korean nuclear threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula.

North Korea developing submarine-based missiles: US think-tank | Navy & Maritime Security News at DefenceTalk

North Korea’s Nukes Are Scarier Than Its Hacks – Bloomberg View

A new analysis of North Korea’s nuclear program by a group of top U.S. experts, led by David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, estimates that North Korea could have enough material for 79 nuclear weapons by 2020. The analysis, part of a larger project called “North Korea’s Nuclear Futures” being run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced and International Studies, has not been previously published. Albright said the North Korean government is ramping up its production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, speeding toward an amount that would allow it to build enough nuclear weapons to rival other nuclear states including India, Pakistan and Israel.

“North Korea is on the verge of being able to scale up its nuclear weapons program to the level of the other major players, so its critical to head this off,” Albright said in an interview. “It is on the verge of deploying a nuclear arsenal that would pose not only a threat to the United States and its allies but also to China.”

North Korea’s Nukes Are Scarier Than Its Hacks – Bloomberg View

North Korea Conducts Ejection Test of Sub-Launched Missile | Washington Free Beacon

U.S. intelligence agencies observed the land-based test of the ejection launcher in late October at a facility known to be a key development center for the communist state’s submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) program, according to two officials with access to intelligence reports.

The launcher also could be used by North Korea to launch ballistic or cruise missiles from the deck of a freighter or other kinds of surface vessels.

A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on the ejection test, citing a policy of not discussing intelligence matters.

The Washington Free Beacon first reported in August that North Korea had launched a program to develop ballistic missile submarines. The program remains clouded in secrecy. North Korea’s government has not responded to reports of the program.

North Korea Conducts Ejection Test of Sub-Launched Missile | Washington Free Beacon

Looking at the path North Korea is on, it would appear that it is positioning itself to destroy South Korea and threaten the US with EMP weapons.

Satellite Photos Show N. Korean Test Stand for Submarine Missile | Washington Free Beacon

Satellite images of a North Korean submarine facility show what appears to be a missile tube being developed for a future ballistic missile submarine.

The commercial imagery was disclosed Tuesday in an article published Tuesday by the group 38 North.

The photos show was appears to be a test stand for a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

“A review of commercial satellite imagery since 2010 covering submarine bases and submarine shipyards has identified a new test stand at the North’s Sinpo South Shipyard, probably intended to explore the possibility of launching ballistic missiles from submarines or of a shipboard vertical launch ballistic missile capability,” wrote Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., a North Korea expert with AllSource Analysis, Inc.

Satellite Photos Show N. Korean Test Stand for Submarine Missile | Washington Free Beacon

North Korea Now Capable of Building Miniaturized Warhead, U.S. General Reports

North Korea probably has the capability to produce a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on a rocket, a top U.S. commander said Friday, moving it closer to building a nuclear missile.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. forces on the Korean peninsula, said North Korea now is capable of building a miniaturized nuclear warhead, a step needed to complete development of a nuclear-tipped missile.

Such nuclear warheads would be small enough to fit on a ballistic missile and would be a major improvement to Pyongyang’s weapons technology. Gen. Scaparrotti said he believes North Korea also has developed a launcher that could carry an intercontinental ballistic missile with a miniaturized warhead.

North Korea Closer to Building Nuclear Missile, Pentagon Says – WSJ

If North Korea has that technology, then you can bet Iran has it too. Nothing like helping some friends out for a little cash.

Has North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Been Toppled? – The Daily Beast

Indeed, there are signs that not only has Hwang risen, but also that Kim has fallen. The young ruler did not preside over last’s month meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the first time that has happened since he took power after his father’s death in December 2011. Yes, he may have been ill, but if he was politically healthy, the meeting would have been postponed until he was able to appear.

Also extremely unusual: The reports on the meeting from the state-run Korean Central News Agency mention Kim—first secretary of the Workers’ Party, first chairman of the National Defense Commission, and supreme commander of the People’s Army, all the top positions in the state and party—only at the end and only in passing. In a regime like North Korea’s, these state media reports spell political infirmity.

Has North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Been Toppled? – The Daily Beast

IAEA says sees signs North Korea reactor may be operating | Reuters

Last month, the U.S.-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said that commercial satellite imagery from late June showed that the reactor was active.

“North Korea has apparently made a decision to renovate the aged 5 MW (e) reactor to make plutonium for nuclear weapons for many more years,” it said. “However, without more data, such as regular steam production, it is hard to determine the operational status of the reactor and thus to estimate the amount of plutonium produced by the reactor.”

But there has been a shift in thinking since it conducted a nuclear test in February last year – its third since 2006 – and some experts have said it may be closer than previously thought to putting a nuclear warhead on a missile.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog said it has seen releases of steam and water indicating that North Korea may be operating a reactor, in the latest update on a plant that experts say could make plutonium for atomic bombs.

IAEA says sees signs North Korea reactor may be operating | Reuters