North Korea Likely to Time Atomic Test for Maximum Attention: Expert

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
May 1, 2014, 8:29 a.m.

North Korea may hold off on con­duct­ing a nuc­le­ar test un­til it feels the event will draw max­im­um glob­al at­ten­tion, Stars and Stripes re­por­ted.

Re­cent com­mer­cial satel­lite pho­to­graphs of the North’s Punggye-ri nuc­le­ar test site re­veal a great deal of activ­ity that is likely re­lated to pre­par­a­tions for an­ther un­der­ground atom­ic ex­plo­sion, ex­perts say. While some in South Korea pre­dicted that Py­ongy­ang would choose to det­on­ate its fourth device dur­ing U.S. Pres­id­ent Obama’s vis­it to Seoul last week­end, that nev­er happened.

Ohm Tae-am, an ana­lyst with the Korea In­sti­tute for De­fense Ana­lyses, told the news­pa­per on Thursday that the North might be delay­ing its test be­cause oth­er in­ter­na­tion­al events are at­tract­ing so much at­ten­tion.

The April 16 sink­ing of a ferry filled with South Korean stu­dents has dis­trac­ted Seoul, he said. “South Korea’s in­terest in inter-Korean re­la­tions has been pushed aside, and be­cause of that, North Korea is not likely to con­duct its fourth nuc­le­ar test now,” Ohm said.

Mean­while, the “U.S. has its eyes on the Middle East and Ukraine right now,” said the ana­lyst.

The North Korean for­eign min­istry on Tues­day said there was “no stat­ute of lim­it­a­tions” for when Py­ongy­ang might carry out its re­peatedly threatened “new” kind of atom­ic demon­stra­tion.

The ex­pert web­site 38 North in a Wed­nes­day ana­lys­is of satel­lite im­ages taken the day pri­or con­cluded a “high level of activ­ity” con­tin­ues to be seen at the test site.

“If North Korea fol­lows pre­vi­ous test prac­tices, a con­tin­ued high level of activ­ity in­dic­ates that a nuc­le­ar test is not yet im­min­ent,” reads the brief by im­age ex­pert Jack Liu. “Be­fore the Feb­ru­ary 2013 det­on­a­tion, all equip­ment, vehicles and per­son­nel were with­drawn im­me­di­ately be­fore the blast.”

Liu said he could not see signs that any of the tun­nels at the test site had been closed off, which is typ­ic­ally one of the fi­nal steps be­fore a nuc­le­ar blast takes place.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
What the Current Crop of Candidates Could Learn from JFK
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Maher Weighs in on Bernie, Trump and Palin
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.

Source:
×