October 23, 2020

Did the Kim regime exaggerate N.Korea’s nuclear capability?

Examine the original Korean text to get a clearer clue of what was meant by ‘H-bomb’ test

Nuclear experts have expressed skepticism regarding the DPRK’s assertion that it has conducted its “first H-bomb test.” Seismic data are consistent with a low-yield fission device instead of a fusion device that would generate a much higher yield, leading many analysts to conclude that the Kim regime is exaggerating the DPRK’s nuclear capabilities. Of course, all states have incentives to engage in denial and deception to survive or thrive in the anarchic international system. Moreover, since we cannot discern the intentions of other actors with absolute certainty (we can’t get into someone else’s head), analysts can only do their best to understand the intentions of other nuclear-armed states. This analytical problem or challenge is always present when we try to understand DPRK intentions.