South Korea: North Able to Conduct Nuclear Test Any Time

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Oct. 16, 2013, 6:02 a.m.

North Korea has the ca­pa­city to carry out a fourth nuc­le­ar weapons test whenev­er it chooses to do so, South Korea’s seni­or ne­go­ti­at­or for stalled de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion ne­go­ti­ations with Py­ongy­ang said on Tues­day.

Nuc­le­ar en­voy Cho Tae-yong told an audi­ence in Seoul “the as­sess­ment of North Korea’s nuc­le­ar cap­ab­il­it­ies is very grave, and we see it has the abil­ity to carry out an­oth­er round of nuc­le­ar tests whenev­er it wants in tech­no­lo­gic­al terms,” the Yon­hap News Agency re­por­ted.

Py­ongy­ang car­ried out its third and most-power­ful test to date in Feb­ru­ary. Ex­perts be­lieve at least one more un­der­ground ex­plo­sion is ne­ces­sary for the North to fig­ure out how to mini­atur­ize nuc­le­ar weapons for load­ing onto mis­siles.

“There are signs that the five-mega­watt graph­ite mod­er­ated re­act­or has been in op­er­a­tion re­cently, the North is ex­pand­ing nuc­le­ar en­rich­ment fa­cil­it­ies, and con­struc­tion is un­der­way for a small-scale light-wa­ter re­act­or,” Cho said in tick­ing off the vari­ous areas where Py­ongy­ang is ad­van­cing its abil­ity to pro­duce fis­sile ma­ter­i­al for war­heads.

The head of the U.N. nuc­le­ar watch­dog agency in an in­ter­view with Yon­hap said an­oth­er nuc­le­ar test by the North “or threat of an­oth­er test, is very dis­turb­ing.”

In­ter­na­tion­al Atom­ic En­ergy Agency Dir­ect­or Gen­er­al Yukiya Amano said: “We are al­ways pre­pared to go back to North Korea when re­ques­ted. But in or­der that the IAEA goes back to the North, a polit­ic­al agree­ment is es­sen­tial.”

Py­ongy­ang has said it is will­ing to re­turn to re­gion­al aid-for-de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion ne­go­ti­ations but only on an un­con­di­tion­al basis. It has also tried to get its erstwhile ne­go­ti­at­ing part­ner to ta­citly re­cog­nize it as a nuc­le­ar-armed na­tion.

“In the past, the North con­sidered the pos­sib­il­ity of giv­ing up nuc­le­ar weapons in ex­change for as­sist­ance,” Chinese Cent­ral Party School ana­lyst Zhang Li­an­gui said in an in­ter­view with the Glob­al Times news­pa­per. “But now it wants to turn back to the ne­go­ti­ation table as a nuc­le­ar state and act as a su­per­visor of oth­er nuc­le­ar states, im­ply­ing that if it were to give up nuc­le­ar weapons, it would want oth­ers to do the same first.”

Zhang said oth­er par­ti­cipants in the moribund six-na­tion ne­go­ti­ations — China, Ja­pan, South Korea, Rus­sia and the United States — “should also break the North’s il­lu­sion that one day they will ad­mit its status as a nuc­le­ar state,” Yon­hap re­por­ted.

What We're Following See More »
WILL TEST THE NORTH’S STANDDOWN
Joint U.S., South Korea War Games Set to Begin
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A new cycle of escalation on the Korean Peninsula looks set to begin this week when the U.S. and South Korea kick off annual military exercises that have a history of enraging Pyongyang." The long-planned drills, set to last ten days, "will test whether North Korea’s apparent easing of its immediate threat to Guam proves durable—or if the de-escalation was really a backdown at all."

Source:
SAYS TRUMP JUST ATTACKING REPUBLICANS
Former Top Aide to McConnell Says GOPers Should Abandon Trump
3 days ago
THE LATEST
“YOU CAN’T CHANGE HISTORY, BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT”
Trump Defends Confederate Statues in Tweetstorm
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE
CEOS HAVE BEEN FLEEING FOR THE EXITS
Trump to End Business Councils
4 days ago
THE LATEST
FROM STATEMENT
McConnell: “No Good Neo-Nazis”
4 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login