If North Korea launches a rocket into space or conducts a nuclear test in the coming weeks, as observers suspect it may, China is certain to respond angrily, and perhaps with an unprecedented level of economic punishment. By making it more hard for North Koreans to seek refuge in China via heavier surveillance and a willingness to force North Koreans it catches back to their country, China enables Kim’s reign of terror and crimes against humanity.
If that weren’t enough, a number of North Korea watchers believe Kim plans to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party on October . 10 with a literal bang.
Analysts say the North has come a long way in developing nuclear warheads and long-range rockets, through nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013, and a series of rocket tests, disguised as satellite launches. China swiftly joined the worldwide community in condemning the action, called in the North Korean ambassador to protest, and, according to some indications, slowed the flow of goods across their border.
Amid growing speculation over the North’s fourth nuclear test, the US-based Institute for Science and global Security says that a new facility under construction at the Yongbyon complex appears to be designed to separate isotopes from spent fuel that can be used to produce powerful nuclear weapons.
The arrest took place on Friday in the southwestern Chinese city of Liuzhou where the defectors were questioned by the police on a bus traveling toward Kunming, a city about 660 kilometers west, the source said. Such measures could target the industrial commodities and luxury goods Kim needs to keep the moribund North Korean economy ticking over and ensure the loyalty of regime supporters.
The United States has been supporting South Korea in its stand-off with the North. Joint US-South Korea exercises, condemned by Pyongyang, have been held annually since 2011.
In a typically bellicose statement on Tuesday, the head of the country’s atomic energy agency warned that Pyongyang was ready to deploy nuclear weapons against the U.S.at “any time” if it didn’t desist with its “reckless hostile policy”.
North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said the reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear facility had been restarted two years ago-along with uranium enrichment.
Although the North Koreans have not yet demonstrated this capability, some USA military leaders believe they already possess it.
There are two key elements: Does North Korea have a rocket that can hit California?
This point was also shared by David Shear, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, and other senators at the hearing. “We put a great many sanctions on North Korea“, he said, “and further sanctions would be one possibility”.
“North Korea has systematically engaged in the abusive practice of enforced disappearances, and irreparably damaged the lives of abductees and their families, some of whom are still demanding accountability more than 50 years later”, said John Fisher, Geneva advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
“The aim is to make substantive and forward-looking progress in South-North ties, not to talk for the sake of talking”, he said, requesting anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
But North Korea will not be ignored.