April 19, 2024
Opinion

With 4th test, N.Korea demands serious treatment

U.S., S.Korea must realize there's no political premise under which the North abandons nukes

On January 14 one of the present authors, Georgy Toloraya, participated in a roundtable discussion of Russian experts (political, military and technical) in Moscow hosted by Russia’s Rossiya Segodny Press Agency. The experts suggested that North Korea, on January 6, most likely detonated a boosted fission nuclear device allowing it to achieve a greater yield with lower consumption of nuclear material that could more easily be mounted to a missile.

Speaking from the political perspective, neither this step by North Korea nor the reaction from the international community is new or unusual. Most experts expressed the opinion that North Korea predictably continues implementation of its program of minimum nuclear deterrence and they were not caught off guard by the test, which was necessary from a technological point of view. Besides, Pyongyang declared its intent to create thermonuclear arms several years earlier and some hints date back as far back as the mid-1990s. As early as 2002 the North Korean First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Sok Chu announced that his country could create not only nukes from enriched uranium but also a more powerful weapon to defend itself if the U.S. continued its aggressive policy.

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