Is North Korea ready to dismantle its nuclear program? Kim Jong-un’s surprising moves in recent months, from inviting South Korean envoys to visiting China, give reason for optimism. It is indeed worth noting that for the first time since the Korean War, a North Korean leader will be visiting South Korean territory. We will also see a first-ever meeting between the incumbent heads of the United States and North Korea. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox However, as unique as these occasions may be, the expectations for the meetings’ success are inflated. In South Korean media, there are even talks of potential unification following denuclearization within a decade. But total denuclearization – defined by the US as complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of a nuclear program – is a goal far over the horizon for now. Kim is unlikely to give up irreversibly his “ticket to survival” any … [Read more...] about Is North Korea really ready to denuclearize?
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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea's military, founded 81 years ago Thursday, is older than the country itself. It began as an anti-Japanese militia and is now the heart of the nation's "military first" policy. Late leader Kim Jong Il elevated the military's role during his 17-year rule, boosting troop levels to an estimated 1.2 million soldiers, according to the South Korean government. The military's new supreme commander, Kim Jong Un, gave the Korean People's Army a sharpened focus this year by instructing troops to build a "nuclear arms force." Yet the army is believed to be running on outdated equipment and short supplies. The secretive army divulges few details about its operations, but here is an assessment from foreign experts of its strengths and weaknesses: ___ ARTILLERY North Korea provided a chilling reminder of what its artillery is capable of when it showered a front-line South Korean island with shells, killing four people in November 2010 and underscoring … [Read more...] about A look at North Korea’s military capabilities
North Korea has threatened to detonate a nuclear device aboveground. Such a test could turn China, and the world, against it. The US may even strike to prevent it, but North Korea may do it anyway. North Korea recently repeated its threat to test a nuclear device aboveground, in what would be its most dangerous and provocative move ever, unleashing a massive explosion and hale of radiation that could turn the world decisively against it. After President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if provoked, Pyongyang responded by saying it may test “an unprecedented scale hydrogen bomb,” which experts interpreted as possibly meaning a detonation of a nuclear-armed missile above the Pacific. But regardless of what Trump says, North Korea has reasons to test aboveground. For one, North Korea’s last test of a massive hydrogen bomb nearly destroyed the mountain they tested under. Earthquakes rumbled … [Read more...] about North Korea has been threatening an aboveground nuclear detonation — here’s how it could go down
North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador said on Monday that tensions on the peninsula had escalated to the point that “a nuclear war may break out any moment.” This is exactly the kind of bluster Pyongyang has engaged in for decades. On the surface, the latest US military movements may look like preparations for a preemptive strike on North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure. But it’s clear the two forces are still locked in a stalemate. The USS Michigan, a stealthy submarine laden with 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles, just arrived in the South Korean port of Busan. It most likely carried Navy SEALs and covert submarines designed for operations deep behind enemy lines. US bombers frequently train to strike North Korean targets. Stealth jets like F-35s and F-22s wait in the wings in case of conflict. A US aircraft carrier decked out with dozens of fighter and electronic attack aircraft sits just off North Korea’s shores. But experts say … [Read more...] about North Korea says ‘nuclear war may break out any moment’ — but that’s the last thing it wants
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—North Korea warned Seoul on Saturday that the Korean Peninsula had entered “a state of war” and threatened to shut down a border factory complex that’s the last major symbol of inter-Korean co-operation. Analysts say a full-scale conflict is extremely unlikely, noting that the Korean Peninsula has remained in a technical state of war for 60 years. But the North’s continued threats toward Seoul and Washington, including a vow to launch a nuclear strike, have raised worries that a misjudgment between the sides could lead to a clash. In Washington, the White House said Saturday that the United States is taking seriously the new threats by North Korea, but also noted Pyongyang’s history of “bellicose rhetoric.” North Korea’s threats are seen as efforts to provoke the new government in Seoul, led by President Park Geun-hye, to change its policies toward Pyongyang, and to win diplomatic talks with Washington that could … [Read more...] about North Korea warns South Korea of ‘state of war’