North Korea May Be Unready for Nuclear Test During Obama Trip

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
April 23, 2014, 6:41 a.m.

New satel­lite im­ages sug­gest North Korea would not be ready to con­duct a nuc­le­ar test be­fore U.S. Pres­id­ent Obama leaves the re­gion this week.

Space-based sur­veil­lance pho­to­graphs taken as re­cently as April 19 show an up­tick in activ­ity at the North’s Punggye-ri test­ing grounds com­pared to early March, ac­cord­ing to a Tues­day ana­lys­is by the ex­pert web­site 38 North. That has led to some me­dia con­jec­ture that Py­ongy­ang in­tends to carry out its fourth atom­ic test while Obama vis­its South Korea on Fri­day and Sat­urday.

The 38 North ana­lys­is ac­know­ledges “that may be pos­sible but ap­pears un­likely,” based on a read­ing of the com­mer­cial satel­lite im­ages and takeaways from pre­vi­ous atom­ic det­on­a­tions by the North.

“Re­cent op­er­a­tions at Punggye-ri have not reached the high level of in­tens­ity — in terms of  vehicle, per­son­nel and equip­ment move­ment — that oc­curred in the weeks pri­or to past det­on­a­tions,” said 38 North, which is a pro­ject of the U.S.-Korea In­sti­tute at Johns Hop­kins Uni­versity. “Moreover, oth­er pos­sible in­dic­at­ors … such as com­mu­nic­a­tions vans and a satel­lite dish in­ten­ded to trans­mit pre-test data, have not been spot­ted.”

Ac­cord­ing to the ana­lys­is, there is a chance the in­creased activ­ity is re­lated to main­ten­ance work made pos­sible by im­proved weath­er con­di­tions.

Py­ongy­ang has re­peated threats in re­cent weeks that it is pre­pared to carry out a “new” kind of nuc­le­ar test, which might al­lude to a dif­fer­ent form of device or mul­tiple tri­al blasts.

South Korean Pres­id­ent Park Geun-hye, in a Wed­nes­day phone con­ver­sa­tion with Chinese Pres­id­ent Xi Jin­ping, urged him to work harder to per­suade Py­ongy­ang not to carry out an­oth­er nuc­le­ar test,  Agence France-Presse re­por­ted.

However, the Kim Jong Un re­gime on Wed­nes­day blas­ted Park’s lob­by­ing ef­forts, the Yon­hap News Agency re­por­ted.

Seoul “should not even dream that we will be coaxed in­to lay­ing down our nuc­le­ar” weapon ef­forts by words alone, Py­ongy­ang’s Com­mit­tee for the Peace­ful Re­uni­fic­a­tion of Korea said in a state­ment.

What We're Following See More »
‘INEXCUSABLE REMARKS’
DNC Formally Apologizes to Bernie Sanders
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders today, after leaked emails showed staffers trying to sabotage his presidential bid. "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," DNC officials said in the statement. "These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not—and will not—tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates."

Source:
STILL A ‘SAFE SEAT’
DCCC Won’t Aid Wasserman Schultz
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

The chairman of the DCCC said Debbie Wasserman Schultz won't be getting financial help from the organization this year, even as she faces a well-funded primary challenger. "Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) said the committee’s resources will be spent helping Democrats in tough races rather than those in seats that are strongholds for the party." Executive Director Kelly Ward added, “We never spend money in safe seats."

Source:
STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE TO FILL IN
Wasserman Schultz Won’t Gavel Open the Convention
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

Debbie Wasserman Schultz has given up her last remaining duty at this week's convention. Now, she's told her hometown newspaper, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, that she will not gavel in the convention today. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will do the honors instead. "I have decided that in the interest of making sure that we can start the Democratic convention on a high note that I am not going to gavel in the convention," Wasserman Schultz said.

Source:
SUPPORTERS’ RALLY
Sanders Supporters Boo When He Mentions Clinton-Kaine
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

Perhaps this talk of unity has been overstated. Addressing a room full of his supporters today, Bernie Sanders heard "sustained boos" when he said he said it was essential that we elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.

Source:
ALL EYES ON RUSSIANS
FBI Investigating DNC Hack
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

The FBI this morning issued a statement saying it is "investigating a cyber intrusion involving the DNC," adding that "a compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously." Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton's campaign is suggesting that the hack "was committed by Russia to benefit Donald Trump."

Source:
×