Question: Was Vice President Biden correct when he stated that President Obama would be tested by a National Security crisis within six months after taking office and could North Korea’s recent second underground test of a nuclear device and the test-firing of two short-range missiles Tuesday, after test-firing three short-range missiles Monday, be his test?
These articles seem to suggest that North Korea’s nuclear test makes it no likelier that the regime will actually launch a nuclear attack, but it adds a scary dimension to another threat: the defiant North as a facilitator of the atomic ambitions of others, potentially even terrorists-You Decide;
Analysis: NKorea’s bomb test adds to atomic threat: Posted on Yahoo! News-By Robert Burns, AP National Security Writer-On May 26, 2009:
These are pertinent excerpts from this article:
“WASHINGTON – North Korea’s nuclear test makes it no likelier that the regime will actually launch a nuclear attack, but it adds a scary dimension to another threat: the defiant North as a facilitator of the atomic ambitions of others, potentially even terrorists.
It also presents another major security crisis for President Barack Obama, already saddled with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a nuclear problem with Iran.
Obama assured the president of South Korea and the prime minister of Japan that the U.S. remains committed to the defense of their nations, the White House said in a statement following Obama’s calls to the leaders Monday night.
Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak “agreed that the test was a reckless violation of international law that compels action in response,” the White House said.
“They agreed to work closely together to seek and support a strong United Nations Security Council resolution with concrete measures to curtail North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities.”
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that North Korea had test-fired two short-range missiles Tuesday after test-firing three short-range missiles Monday.
It’s far from clear what diplomatic or other action the world community will take. So far, nothing they’ve done has worked.
At an earlier juncture of the long-running struggle to put a lid on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, the administration of President Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s discussed with urgency the possibility of taking military action. That seems less likely now, with the North evidently nuclear-armed and the international community focused first on continuing the search for a nonmilitary solution.
Meeting in emergency session in New York, the U.N. Security Council on Monday condemned North Korea’s nuclear test as a clear violation of a previous U.N. resolution banning such testing. The council said it would begin work immediately on a new legally binding resolution.
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said Tuesday that the resolution “will have teeth in it, and I expect additional sanctions.
“The pressure will increase on North Korea economically and otherwise, and North Korea will recognize that its actions have only left it further isolated, and further debilitated,” Rice said on CBS’ “The Early Show.”
The North’s announcement that it conducted its second underground test of a nuclear device drew quick condemnation across the globe, including from its big neighbor and traditional ally, China.
The Obama administration, which said the North’s action invited stronger, unspecified international pressure, has consistently called for Korean denuclearization but seemed not to have anticipated a deepening nuclear crisis.
Just two weeks ago, the administration’s special envoy for disarmament talks with North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, said during a visit to Asian capitals that “everyone is feeling relatively relaxed about where we are at this point in the process.” If so, they are no longer.
North Korea conducted its first atomic test in 2006 and is thought to have enough plutonium to make at least a half-dozen nuclear bombs. It also is developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, in defiance of U.N. actions.
One of the first estimates of the size of Monday’s nuclear explosion came from the Russian defense ministry, which put the yield at between 10 and 20 kilotons — comparable to the U.S. bombs that flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in August 1945. But a senior U.S. administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it appeared the explosive yield was much smaller, perhaps a few kilotons. The official said more technical analysis would be done in coming days.
The administration official also disclosed that North Korea notified the State Department less than one hour before the explosion that it intended to conduct a nuclear test at an unspecified time. The U.S. then notified China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, the official said.
The United States could still try to resuscitate so-called six-party talks with the North as well as work with other members of the United Nations. North Korea has vowed not to resume participation in the six-party talks with the U.S., Japan, South Korea, China and Russia.
The Bush administration worked hard to get China, in particular, to press the North Koreans to denuclearize, and it seems likely that Obama will push equally hard with Beijing, which sided with the North Koreans against U.S. and United Nations forces during the 1950-53 Korean War. In recent years the Chinese have openly criticized the North Koreans for the nuclear arms program.
Two of the main worries about North Korea are left unsaid: Would it use a nuclear bomb to attack a neighbor or the United States? And might it continue an established pattern of selling nuclear wherewithal and missiles to foreign buyers?
Graham Allison, an assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration and now director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, said Monday that the international community regularly underestimates North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s willingness to do the unexpected.
“Could this guy believe he could sell a nuclear bomb to Osama bin Laden?”
Allison asked in a phone interview. “Why not?”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Robert Burns has covered national security affairs for The Associated Press since 1990.”
N. Korea Warns of ‘Merciless Punishment’: Posted on AOL News-By HYUNG-JIN KIM, AP-On May 27, 2009:
These are pertinent excerpts from this article:
“SEOUL, South Korea (May 27) – North Korea launched a tirade Wednesday against world powers threatening to punish it for conducting its second nuclear test, saying it is not afraid of sanctions and calling South Korea’s decision to join an operation to prevent the spread of weapons a declaration of war.
The North also has reportedly restarted its weapons-grade nuclear plant. It staged a rally in its capital, Pyongyang, on Tuesday to celebrate the test.
The isolated communist regime said through its official news agency that it would respond with military action if South Korea tries to stop or search any of its ships as part of the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative.
“Those who provoke (North Korea) once will not be able to escape its unimaginable and merciless punishment,” the North’s official news agency said.
South Korea decided to join the anti-proliferation initiative on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported Wednesday that U.S. spy satellites detected signs of steam at the North’s Yongbyon nuclear complex, an indication that it may have started reprocessing nuclear fuel.
The report, which could not be confirmed, quoted an unidentified government official. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency also had a similar report.
The move would be a major setback for efforts aimed at getting North Korea to disarm.
North Korea had stopped reprocessing fuel rods as part of an international deal. In 2007, it agreed to disable the Yongbyon reactor in exchange for aid and demolished a cooling tower at the complex.
The North has about 8,000 spent fuel rods which, if reprocessed, could allow it to harvest 13 to 18 pounds (six to eight kilograms) of plutonium — enough to make at least one nuclear bomb, experts said. North Korea is believed to have enough plutonium for at least a half dozen atomic bombs.
Further ratcheting up tensions, North Korea has test-fired five short-range missiles over the past two days, South Korean officials confirmed.
North Korea suggested that more missile tests could be planned, telling ships to stay away from waters off its west coast through Wednesday, according to South Korea’s coast guard.
The North’s moves have brought a wave of international reproach.
In New York, the U.N. Security Council is discussing a resolution that could include new sanctions.
Ambassadors from the five permanent veto-wielding council members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — as well as Japan and South Korea are expected to meet again soon to work out the details.
Council members, after condemning the test on Monday, said they would follow up with a new legally binding resolution.
China and Russia, both allies of North Korea, slammed it for going ahead with the blast.
Moscow’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, who is also the Security Council president, said the 15-member body would begin work quickly on a new resolution, according to ITAR-Tass.
He declined to say if additional sanctions were discussed.
China also said it “resolutely opposed” the nuclear test. But it was unclear how far it would go in sanctioning its neighbor.
Experts said past sanctions have had poor results because they weren’t fully implemented and because North Korea is already one of the most isolated countries in the world.
Kim Sung-han, an international relations professor at Seoul’s Korea University, said U.N. resolution 1718, adopted after the North’s first nuclear test in 2006, has strong elements but has not been strictly observed.
He said the success of any sanctions would depend on how aggressively China implements them.
“It’s not going too far to say that China holds all keys in sanctions,” he said.
Details of Monday’s nuclear test may take days to confirm.
Russian defense officials said the blast was roughly as strong as the bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II and was stronger than North Korea’s first test in 2006. Other experts said that was probably an overestimate, and put the blast closer in strength to the first test.
North Korea seemed unconcerned by the condemnation.
A large crowd of Pyongyang residents, including senior military and party officials, gathered Tuesday in a stadium to celebrate the nuclear test.
Choe Thae Bok, a high-ranking party official, was quoted by North Korea’s official news agency as saying that the nuclear test “was a grand undertaking” to protect the country against “the U.S. imperialists’ unabated threat to mount a pre-emptive nuclear attack and (put) sanctions and pressure upon it.”
A North Korean newspaper, Minju Joson, said in a commentary Wednesday that Pyongyang does not fear repercussions.
“It is a laughable delusion for the United States to think that it can get us to kneel with sanctions,” it said. “We’ve been living under U.S. sanctions for decades, but have firmly safeguarded our ideology and system while moving our achievements forward.
The U.S. sanctions policy toward North Korea is like striking a rock with a rotten egg.”
North Korea test-fires two missiles: Posted on The Age-By Park Chan-Kyong-On May 26, 2009:
These are pertinent excerpts from this article:
“North Korea has fired two short-range missiles in a move set to heighten tensions after its latest nuclear weapons test drew global condemnation.
The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting to consider the options after Pyongyang’s test of a nuclear device on Monday, which some estimates said was almost as powerful as the atom bombs that flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Council called the test a “clear violation” of international law and immediately began working on a resolution that could impose new sanctions on the secretive North, which has now tested two nuclear bombs in three years.
“This resolution should include new sanctions in addition to those already adopted because such behaviour should have a cost and a price to pay,” said Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the deputy French ambassador to the United Nations.
Following the UN condemnation, the North launched one ground-to-air missile and one ground-to-ship missile into the sea on Tuesday off its eastern coast near the city of Hamhung, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
“Intelligence authorities are analysing the motives for the firing,” it quoted a South Korean government source as saying, adding that each missile had a range of 130km.
In April it test-fired a long-range rocket that critics say was in fact a ballistic missile, and on Monday it test-fired three short-range missiles after the nuclear blast.
Russia estimated the force of Monday’s underground nuclear explosion at up to 20 kilotons, far more powerful than the October 2006 test that announced the impoverished communist state had joined the club of world nuclear powers.
The North said the latest test would “contribute to defending the sovereignty of the country and the nation and socialism, and ensuring peace and security on the Korean peninsula and the region.”
North Korea has repeatedly said it needs a deterrent to ward off an attack by the United States, which it believes wants to topple Kim Jong-Il’s regime. Almost six years of disarmament talks have not stopped its nuclear drive.
Some analysts suggested Kim was using the nuclear test to strengthen his hand at home, and so could be even less swayed than usual by more sanctions or international criticism.
The 67-year-old was widely reported to have suffered a stroke last August, prompting speculation overseas about the succession. The North’s position has noticeably hardened since then.
“This is part of Kim shoring up support for his regime among the inner circle and the public,” Peter Beck, a Korea expert at the American University in Washington, told AFP.
“The internal domestic dynamic is taking precedence over external factors.”
Even China, a permanent member of the Security Council and the North’s sole main ally, was strongly critical of the latest test – which North Korea had pledged to carry out because of previous censure from the Council.
“Disregarding the common objections of the international community, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has again tested a nuclear device,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The Chinese government expresses its resolute opposition to this,” it said.
US President Barack Obama, whose initial overtures to the North since taking office in January have been met with official hostility from Pyongyang, condemned what he called its “reckless” atomic test.
“North Korea’s nuclear ballistic missile programs pose a great threat to the peace and security of the world,” he said.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said his government was “registering Australia’s deep concern at the North Korean test and registering further ways that we can work together to thwart North Korea’s future nuclear ambitions”.
“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program are an increasing threat to regional security, to Australia’s national security and to the wider international community,” he said.
“We must work with our friends around the region on this threat now, to ensure that this emerging threat is contained in the future.”
The North on Tuesday reiterated complaints that Obama was no better than his predecessor.
“The present US administration is talking about what it called a ‘change’ and ‘bilateral dialogue’ but it is, in actuality, pursuing the same reckless policy as followed by the former Bush administration to stifle the DPRK (North Korea) by force of arms,” said the ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun.
Foreign ministers from Asia and Europe meeting in Hanoi were set to condemn the nuclear test as “a clear violation” of six-party agreements and UN resolutions, according to a draft text.
South Korea announced it was joining the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative, an international effort to curb trade in weapons of mass destruction that involves some 90 nations and includes military exercises.
North Korea had previously said that it would see the South’s participation as a declaration of war.”
Could Iran Outsource an A-Bomb Test to N. Korea?: Blog Posted on China Confidential-By Confidential Reporter-On May 26, 2009:
These are pertinent excerpts from this article:
‘Following North Korea’s test-firing of two more short-range missiles off its east coast on Tuesday, a reader asks if there is any truth to the rumor that North Korea conducted its second nuclear test for Iran–meaning, was the bomb made in Iran?
The answer, as far as we can tell, is no.
But the idea is not as far-fetched as it may seem. Unless it is stopped, Islamist Iran could one day outsource a nuclear weapon test to its Stalinist/Kimist ally.
Iran could also order up an atomic bomb and drop-ship it–literally–to the United States, using North Korea as a manufacturer and fulfillment center. Iran could arrange and pay for delivery of the weapon–to a U.S. coastal city by an Iranian or North Korean-controlled cargo ship flying a so-called flag of convenience.
Thousands of civilian vessels approach U.S. coastal waters daily; millions of containers are delivered annually; warhead-tipped missiles could be fired from such ships, using already tested, containerized launch systems; bombs could be smuggled into busy ports for detonation.
A relative handful of containers are inspected; and there is no defense against sea-based ballistic missile attacks, aimed at the cities or high above the country in an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack designed to wipe out the electric power grid and most electronics and communication systems.
In a move that indicates growing concern over the North Korean-Iranian nuclear threat, South Korea said Tuesday that it would join a U.S.-led initiative to intercept ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction.
China Confidential is the only media outlet to have accurately predicted both North Korean nuclear tests, including predicting the exact test dates. Using open source intelligence and an international network of volunteer stringers and analysts, China Confidential has consistently out-reported the mainstream media on the twin threats to world peace–nuclear-arming North Korea and nuclear-armed Iran.
POSTSCRIPT: Israeli defense experts are increasingly concerned about a possible EMP attack on the Jewish State. A knockout blow to electronic and communication systems could paralyze the country and allow for an all-out assault by Hezbollah, Hamas, and Syria with coordinated uprisings by radicalized Israeli Arabs.
In such a scenario, Iran could be responsible for the sneak attack–delivered by a foreign-flagged vessel–that could theoretically pave the way for the conquest of Israel while affording Iran a measure of plausible deniability.”
Note: These articles relate to and are pertinent to this disturbing issue-You Decide:
The Russian View of What Has Been Happening In America!
This blog contains articles from the Russian newspaper Pravda and the Russian’s view of what has been happening in America. Even the Russians can see the pathology! If these articles don’t put chills down your spine, then it confirms what the Russians are saying about Americans being a passive, hapless sheeple-You Decide:
Pros & Con’s of The Bush Presidency Foreign Policy:
This blog contains an article that seems to give us the Pros and Cons of the Bush Presidency, as it relates to the Middle East Policy. Although, I agree that there were some Cons, like every other Presidency, I believe that the number one Pro was that we were never attacked here at home after the 9/11 tragedy, which says something about the “war on terror” policy-You Decide:
A 9/10 Security Mindset:
33 Minutes-Protecting America During New Missile Age:
This blog contains an eye-opening 96 page report, along with a 7-minute sneak peak trailer, reveal that a ballistic missile fired at the US could reach its target in thirty-three (33) minutes or less–You Decide:
“Food For Thought”
“God Bless & Keep Our USA Safe”