North Korean soldiers and citizens across the country participated in national rallies over the past couple weeks to celebrate the country’s completion of its state nuclear force, according to the Rodong Sinmun.
On December 10, the state-run newspaper said rallies were held in the Kaecheon city, Mt. Hyungje district, Sookcheon, Yeumju, and Samsoo counties, without specifying when they were held. The newspaper also said that rallies celebrating the state nuclear force were held separately in North Phyongan province and North Hamgyong province on December 6. On December 1, the national rally of North Korean soldiers and the public was held in Pyongyang, the Rodong Sinmun said.
Officials from local party and power organs, working people’s organizations, industrial establishments, co-op farms, and universities attended the rallies, KCNA said. Officers and men of the Korean People’s Army and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces as well as working people, youth, and students also participated.
At the rallies, speakers expressed gratitude to Kim Jong Un for providing for the “eternal rosy future of the country” with the successful test-fire of new type ICBM Hwasong-15, KCNA said.
Kim Jong Un recently ascended to the top of Mt. Paektu, going through thick snow, KCNA reported on December 9.
Kim Jong Un, imposingly standing on Janggun Peak, recalled the emotion-charged days where he realized the state nuclear force without “yielding even a moment,” KCNA said. KCNA TV repeatedly broadcasted Kim Jong Un’s statement, showing the footage six times over the weekend.
With North Korea’s detonation of thermonuclear bomb, the country entered a new phase of nuclear strength
ANALYZING THE NORTH’S CLAIMS
Tal Inbar, the head of the Space & UAV center, at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Israel, told NK News that “with North Korea’s detonation of a thermonuclear bomb, the country entered a new phase of nuclear strength.”
“However, the yield of the sixth nuclear test was at the lower end of this type of bomb,” he added. “So a new test is needed to demonstrate a megaton-plus weapon, to couple with the new Hwasong-15 ICBM.
“Only after such a ‘city killer’ bomb is added to Pyongyang’s arsenal, then a credible threat to the U.S. could achieve Kim’s pursuit of deterrence,” he said.
Inbar noted that North Korea’s quantity of missiles and warheads will also be important to consider going forward.
“In order to achieve preliminary deterrence a small number is sufficient, but to achieve survivability of the nuclear forces, much bigger force is needed,” he said.
Hwang Jae Jun, a researcher at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies said that, with its claim of nuclear armament completion, North Korea will seek to mitigate sanctions led by the U.S., through independent negotiations with the U.S., rather than relying on the country’s alliance with China.
Since North Korea’s nuclear armament has achieved a certain standard of success, it may try to focus on its economy, in which case mitigating sanctions would be necessary, Hwang said.
The completeness of North Korea’s nuclear armament remains unclear, and the country still has not demonstrated nuclear warhead miniaturization or its missile launch distance
Hwang also argued Kim Jong Un has shown that he will pursue his own way by not meeting China’s recent envoy, so North Korea will not seek to rely on China for security from the U.S.
The completeness of North Korea’s nuclear armament remains unclear, Hwang said, and the country still has not demonstrated nuclear warhead miniaturization or its missile launch distance. Hence, additional missile and nuclear bomb tests are more likely than the launching of a satellite.
By claiming to have completed its state nuclear force, North Korea is aiming to consolidate loyalty for Kim Jong Un’s regime, Hwang said. Recently, Kim Jong Un has appeared confident in photos published by North Korean state media, he said.
Hwang predicted that North Korea will likely try to negotiate with the U.S. and that the risks of war will lead the U.S. to pursue multilateral negotiations with North Korea, for which it will seek China’s help. China would be necessary, he said, for a peace treaty between the U.S. and North Korea.
Dr. Jang Cheol Wun, a researcher at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies told NK News that North Korea may focus on developing nuclear materials used for nuclear bombs or for mass production of its missiles.
In contrast to Hwang, he argued that North Korea is more likely to launch a new satellite rather than conduct additional missile or nuclear tests since the country claims it has completed its nuclear force. Additionally, the country’s long-range missile capability could be also shown by launching a satellite.
North Korea will launch a satellite when it can fully function as a satellite, unlike previous ones, Jang said. He added that, unlike with missiles, North Korea can more credibly argue for its right to launch a satellite.
North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration’s (NADA) plan for 2017 is being completed. The main purpose of this plan is to develop two new satellites. The first is an Earth remote exploration-satellite which weighs “over 100kg” and has a scanning resolution of “several meters.”
Although this satellite belongs to the category of 100-1000 kg equipment, an interesting detail should be noted about it. It was stated that the weight of the Kwangmyongsong 3-2 satellite is 100 kg, while Kwangmyongsong 4 was stated to have a weight of “over 100 kg.”
The second satellite is a communication satellite which works on a geostationary Earth orbit and weighs over 1000 kg.
Correction: The original version of this article misstated the title of a source. We have updated the article with the correct title.
Edited by Bryan Betts
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Featured Image: U.S. delays missile test as tensions rise with North Korea by Asitimes on 2013-04-06 18:49:32