USA spy satellites confirm North Korean officials’ claim that scientists there have been “steadily improving the levels of nuclear weapons with various missions in quality and quantity as required by the prevailing situation”.
China’s relations with North Korea have deteriorated since Kim Jong Un fully assumed power in 2012, but Beijing continues to repatriate North Koreans, including 29 people in 2014, according to the United Nations .
“It may take more than sanctions with respect to North Korea because of its total absence of a legitimate economy”, Kerry said. Uriminjokkiri, a propaganda state-run website, also reiterated the argument, saying “no one can take issue with its sovereign right” to liftoff a satellite and strengthen nuclear deterrence. “They have the technology to potentially actually deliver what they say they have”.
Reuters reports that North Korea may expect “rewards” from the South in exchange for participation in the reunion programme, such as a reopening of cross-border tourism to the Mount Kumgang resort or “tacit acceptance” of a Northern missile test.
But with the North’s continued provocations, there is a greater pretext for the Thaad to be deployed in Korea.
Keeping North Korea-watchers guessing about whether it will launch or test helps Pyongyang ensure that its October spectacle gets attention.
This point was also shared by David Shear, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, and other senators at the hearing.
Sung Kim, US special representative for North Korea policy and chief nuclear negotiator, said that of Washington’s three-pronged approach consisting of deterrence, diplomacy and pressure, it is looking into ways to tighten enforcement of existing sanctions and what it can do in case of another provocation.
While students, workers, and soldiers are being mobilized by the thousands to rehearse for parts in the celebrations, build stages, paint bridges, or otherwise beautify Pyongyang, several recent announcements by the North Korean government hint the real show may not happen in the capital at all.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday that six-party talks were still the best way to address North Korea’s nuclear issue.
“The goal is to prevent us from seeing what they’re doing”, said a USA official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the intelligence assessments.
North Korea has spoken about new rocket launches and nuclear tests – which would violate United Nations resolutions.
Precise estimates of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities are impossible due to highly restricted access to the country and the lack of knowledge of its technical know-how.
After multiple unsuccessful attempts, North Korea launched a satellite into orbit for the first time in 2012.
Pyongyang has always been accused of using long-range rocket launches as a pretext for test-firing intercontinental ballistic missiles.
During an annual parliamentary audit of the Chinese Embassy on Thursday, he added that the North Korean regime could “already have made a decision to launch [a missile] and [simply be] watching the atmosphere, observing the response [internationally]”.