Author Topic: North Korea  (Read 10879 times)

Adam White

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #45 on: July 13, 2017, 09:20:40 AM »
So the solution is clear - let Israel take care of it  ;D
“If you're going to play it out of tune, then play it out of tune properly.”

BridgeTroll

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #46 on: July 13, 2017, 09:40:21 AM »
Yesterday I posted an opinion from Crispin Rovere where he discusses two options for dealing with NK... both options included war.  Below is the link to that article.

http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/07/11/north_korea_the_case_for_war_111767.html

Today I found a counter argument to Rovere's article... A case for deterrence.  It is a point for point counter and again is very interesting...

http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/07/13/north_korea_the_case_for_deterrence_111794.html

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North Korea: The Case for Deterrence
By David Santoro
July 13, 2017

A response to Crispin Rovere

Crispin Rovere and I discuss foreign policy all the time. Usually on Twitter. Virtually always on opposite ends of the argument. Not surprisingly, we again disagree over how the United States should respond to North Korea’s first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) last week.

In his latest piece, Crispin describes potential consequences of two fundamentally different futures: one where the Trump administration tolerates Pyongyang’s crossing of the ICBM threshold, bringing it a step closer to possessing a capability to launch nuclear strikes on the U.S. homeland, and one where Washington acts militarily to destroy the North Korean nuclear arsenal. He concludes that the latter is the “least bad alternative,” stressing that, unlike the former, a military campaign would show the whole world that proliferators will suffer consequences, and would end the awful Kim regime, reunify the two Koreas, and maybe even bolster America’s long-term position in Asia, notably vis-à-vis China.

He is wrong. I have already explained here what I regard as the “least bad agenda” after North Korea’s ICBM test, but let me respond to Crispin’s points, which I fear may be gaining currency in some U.S. policy circles.

Point #1: With nuclear-tipped ICBMs putting the U.S. homeland at risk, North Korea will become more aggressive against its neighbors and deter U.S. intervention

There is a risk that North Korea becomes more aggressive against South Korea, Japan, and others if Pyongyang thinks that its ability to strike the United States with nuclear-capable missiles will deter Washington. Strategists call this the “stability-instability paradox,” when a sophisticated nuclear arsenal brings stability at the strategic level, but, paradoxically enough, instability at lower levels of conflict. There is also a risk that, in a crisis involving South Korea or Japan, North Korea feels that it can create a wedge between them and the United States by threatening Washington with a nuclear attack on the U.S. homeland if it intervenes, or “decoupling.”

North Korea would be making serious miscalculations, however, because the United States will not be deterred from pushing back against Pyongyang, and it will not back down in an escalating crisis, even if its homeland is at stake. In the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, Washington makes clear that it will not allow adversaries to “escalate their way out of failed conventional aggression.” And over the past few years, Washington has worked relentlessly with Seoul, Tokyo, and others to build their military capabilities and to coordinate response options with and between them to Pyongyang’s provocations.

Pyongyang’s development of an ICBM capability does not alter that determination. The United States has a long history of successfully extending security guarantees to allies to protect them against competitors that can strike the U.S. homeland with nuclear-tipped missiles: first with the Soviet Union and, since the end of the Cold War, with Russia and China. Washington has learned that it can credibly and effectively deter and defend against such competitors even if it does not dominate them fully. North Korea will never match their nuclear and conventional forces and does not have their strategic depth. The United States can, therefore, manage North Korea.

This does not mean that North Korea’s ICBM development is not a new challenge to the United States and its allies. The latter must adapt deterrence and defense capabilities, concepts, and messages to deal with the evolving threat and strip away Pyongyang’s confidence that it can freely engage in greater military adventurism. But North Korea will not succeed in achieving a “stable deterrence relationship” with the United States or in “paralyzing” Washington in a crisis. This is fantasy.

Point #2: Failure to act against North Korea will cause U.S. regional allies to lose faith in the United States as a security guarantor and to develop independent nuclear arsenals

The failure to roll back and eliminate the North Korean nuclear arsenal has led to frustration and mounting fears in Seoul, Tokyo, and other allied capitals. At no point, however, have regional allies begun to lose faith in the United States, or distance themselves from Washington. On the contrary: they have all systematically sought stronger security guarantees from Washington and tighter alliance relationships. In recent years, the United States and its allies have deployed new military capabilities and established dialogue processes to discuss and strengthen deterrence and assurance. North Korea’s nascent ICBM capability will not reverse that trend. If anything, it will reinforce it. Significantly, in response to last week’s ICBM test, two U.S. bombers flew to the Korean Peninsula to join fighter jets from South Korea and Japan for a practice bombing run as part of a training mission described by U.S. military officials as a defensive show of force and unity from the three allies. Pyongyang’s actions do not pull allies apart. It brings them closer together.

Recent years have seen growing proliferation pressures in South Korea, yet virtually none in Japan, which maintains a strong “nuclear allergy.” Even in South Korea, proponents of an independent nuclear arsenal have been few and are now unlikely to gain momentum, especially under the presidency of Moon Jae-in, who has campaigned for a more moderate approach to Pyongyang even as it presses ahead with its nuclear and missile developments. Still, it is not impossible to envision South Korea going nuclear. South Koreans, however, would likely want to have their cake and eat it too, i.e., have their own nuclear weapons and maintain their alliance relationship with the United States. In any case, the idea that other regional states, such as Australia, would quickly follow suit if South Korea or Japan went nuclear is highly unlikely. So is the possibility of a proliferation cascade that “spread unfettered across Asia and then the world” and bury the global nonproliferation regime. Nuclear weapons do not spread like wildfire, and it is unclear that the nuclearization of Northeast Asia would have such devastating spillover effects.

Today, more relevant than the possibility of U.S. regional allies going nuclear are discussions in allied capitals about how to adapt deterrence capabilities and concepts to the changed and changing North Korean threat. For instance, a small growing number of constituencies in South Korea and increasingly Japan are calling for the forward deployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula. This suggests that allies recognize that if denuclearization of North Korea is currently out of reach, good deterrence (and defense), which must involve the United States, is the next best thing.

Point #3: Inaction against North Korea will lead China to accelerate its military build-up and become increasingly assertive in Asia

A U.S. decision not to act militarily to destroy the North Korean nuclear arsenal is not a sign of weakness. Nor it is inaction: the United States will, and has already begun to, strengthen deterrence of North Korea in coordination with its regional allies. Beijing may well use U.S. deterrence efforts to justify an accelerated military build-up (which has been increasing steadily for years), and it has already done so, notably in the context of the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system on South Korean soil. But Beijing is unlikely to conclude that the United States is a “paper tiger” and that it can be more assertive against Taiwan or elsewhere in Asia. If anything, U.S. increased regional presence make it more difficult to do so.

Point #4: War will be bad, but it is best fought now when North Korea’s ability to do damage (and China’s ability to exploit the situation) remain limited

Waging war against North Korea after its arsenal has grown and diversified would, in theory, be more difficult and more deadly and costly. Stronger Chinese conventional forces would also further complicate the situation.

This, however, overlooks two important points. First, waging war now would be bad enough. As Crispin himself notes, war would amount to “combat losses exceeding a hundred thousand – to say nothing of the millions of North Koreans dead, both military and civilian.” He adds that it could involve the use nuclear weapons, invite Russian assertiveness in Europe, and that, while only a remote possibility, direct Chinese intervention cannot be ruled out and “would almost certainly escalate into World War III.” It is difficult, in these conditions, to see any upside.

Second, and significantly, warmongers fail to recognize that it is not too late to try and reverse or at least modify North Korea’s trajectory. War, in other words, does not have to be fought, now or ever. In parallel to stronger deterrence and defense, it is possible to ramp up sanctions significantly and squeeze North Korea enough to force it back to the negotiating table. Denuclearization will likely remain out of reach, at least for the foreseeable future, but negotiations may lead to an agreement imposing on limits and constraints on its nuclear arsenal. This would be no panacea, but it would be far better than waging a war that could lead us to World War III.

Crispin Rovere’s case for war against North Korea is not the “least bad alternative.” It is the worst alternative. The way forward is more deterrence to keep North Korea in line and more sanctions and try to force it back into negotiations. That approach is imperfect, but it may yield results and, more important, it is the best option to avoid disaster. It will also help strengthen regional alliances and put China on notice.
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #47 on: July 14, 2017, 10:24:48 AM »
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/07/12/North-Korea-supplies-high-voltage-electricity-to-border-fence/3871499865995/

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North Korea supplies high-voltage electricity to border fence

By Elizabeth Shim  Contact the Author   |     July 12, 2017 at 9:35 AM   

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North Korean women wash clothing on the banks of the Yalu River near Sinuiju, across the Yalu River from Dandong, China's largest border city with North Korea. Kim Jong Un has been strictly regulating cross-border movement since assuming power, Seoul says. Photo by Stephen Shaver

July 12 (UPI) -- North Korea has installed high-voltage electric fencing at its border with China, posing even more challenges for people seeking to leave the country or smuggle goods in from the outside world.

The fence had already been installed along the Tumen and Yalu rivers, but the barricade was not being supplied with electricity until recently, North Korean reporters collaborating with Japan-based Asia Press said.

One North Korean reporter in Yanggang Province told Asia Press on July 4 the electric fences have put an end to what was once regular activity at the border.

"Not even an ant can afford to loiter around the border nowadays," the source said. "Since electricity was deployed, many people have been shocked, and it's been said some have died. A woman from Wiyon-dong [Hyesan city] was electrocuted and her eardrums ruptured."

A North Korean reporter in North Hamgyong Province confirmed the report of electric fences on July 6.

"It's been said even coming within a meter of the barbed wire could bring you in contact with electricity," the source said. "Even if the residents are not supplied with electricity it's said they can send electricity to the barbed wire, but it's not like there is a surplus of power."

The fence was installed in the fall of 2016 on the North Korea side. It is unclear whether electricity flows across all parts of the barricade.

China built a barbed wire fence from 2012 to 2014 along the Yalu and Tumen rivers.

According to the North Korean reporter in Yanggang, the power is being supplied from the relatively new Mount Paektu Songun Youth Power Station.

Ordinary North Koreans in Hoeryong, North Hamgyong Province, on the other hand, are supplied with electricity for about 3 to 4 hours a day, the North Korean source said.

The number of North Koreans reaching and resettling in the South has decreased, according to Seoul.

South Korea's unification ministry said Wednesday a total of 593 defectors arrived in the South in the first half of 2017, or about 20 percent less than in 2016.

The ministry said Kim Jong Un's crackdown on movement across the border is the "main reason for the decrease," News 1 reported.

There are now 30,805 defectors in South Korea, according to Seoul.

In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

spuwho

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #48 on: July 14, 2017, 01:02:06 PM »
So the solution is clear - let Israel take care of it  ;D

They did once already.

They bombed and destroyed a nuclear facility North Korea was building for the Assad Goverment on the Euphrates River in Syria.

It was still weeks or months away from getting radioactive materials.

Syria simply said that Israel bombed a power facility. But the Syrian government recycled the metal left behind and bulldozed the site over.

Intelligence reports showed it was going to be a breeder style reactor so the Syrians could produce more material.

The architecture was an exact duplicate of a NK reactor.

It didnt get a lot of press at the time, but if a foreign based NK based reactor hit the hyperactive press today, we would be inundated with doom and gloom.

BridgeTroll

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #49 on: July 14, 2017, 02:40:10 PM »
So the solution is clear - let Israel take care of it  ;D

They did once already.

They bombed and destroyed a nuclear facility North Korea was building for the Assad Goverment on the Euphrates River in Syria.

It was still weeks or months away from getting radioactive materials.

Syria simply said that Israel bombed a power facility. But the Syrian government recycled the metal left behind and bulldozed the site over.

Intelligence reports showed it was going to be a breeder style reactor so the Syrians could produce more material.

The architecture was an exact duplicate of a NK reactor.

It didnt get a lot of press at the time, but if a foreign based NK based reactor hit the hyperactive press today, we would be inundated with doom and gloom.

Make that twice.  They also took out the Iraqi Osirak reactor complex in 1981...  8)
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #50 on: July 17, 2017, 10:13:38 AM »
From the Australians...

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/korean-war-1950-53-still-settling-score/

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The Korean War 1950–53: still settling the score
17 Jul 2017|Ron Huisken

The three countries that started the Korean War in June 1950—Russia (USSR), China and North Korea—are still manoeuvring to secure a better outcome. When World War II ended in August 1945, American and Soviet troops had met more or less amicably at about the 38th parallel on the Korean peninsula. In 1949, both those powers withdrew their forces, leaving behind feeble local administrations in the north and the south that each aspired to lead the first government of the whole of Korea following the decades of Japanese colonial rule.

Kim Il-sung, a northerner who had fought in the resistance against Japanese rule and was accepted by the occupying Soviet forces as the leader of the north, lobbied the Soviet leader to support using force to take over the south and bring the whole of the peninsula into the socialist camp. Stalin eventually agreed that that was an attractive and feasible objective. On the condition that Kim Il-sung also secure China’s support for the venture, Stalin undertook to provide equipment, training and planning but ruled out any direct involvement by Soviet forces.

China’s Mao Tse-tung approved the plan and North Korean forces launched the attack on 25 June 1950. The north overran the southern forces, who retreated to a small enclave around the southern port of Pusan before the American-led UN forces reversed those gains and routed the north’s forces only to encounter, in October 1950,  a large force of Chinese ‘volunteers’.

This US–China phase of the conflict lasted for two more years before a truce was negotiated that recognised the original informal dividing line—the 38th parallel—as the de facto border between the Republic of Korea in the south, allied to the US, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north, a socialist state closely tied to the USSR and China.

That truce is still in place, which means that all the belligerents are still, in formal terms, at war with one another. And the peninsula did indeed evolve quickly into an arena of essentially permanent tension, provocation and imminent conflict. The USSR and China took care to ensure that Pyongyang lacked the capacity to contemplate renewed unilateral military adventurism. That remained the case even as the DPRK veered off towards becoming the most highly militarised and uniquely repressive authoritarian regime in the world.

The narrative that underpinned the DPRK’s political trajectory has been founded on the contention that the country had narrowly escaped naked American aggression in June 1950 and that the enemy, a superpower bristling with nuclear weapons, had since embedded itself in the south while it searched for another opportunity to invade.

Russia and China have never had the courage to contest this narrative or, indeed, to seriously encourage the DPRK to take a different path. The US has for some 70 years borne the lion’s share of the burden of deterrence and alliance management emanating from the machinations of the DPRK. Even when Pyongyang began, in the late 1980s, to explore the possibility of a nuclear option, Russia and China kept their distance. China, in particular, openly informed Washington at subsequent points of nuclear crisis—notably 1993–94 and 2002—that responsibility for the issue lay with the US and the DPRK.

The DPRK conducted its first nuclear test in 2006, and others followed in 2009, 2015 (two) and 2016. It then began to work more seriously on ballistic-missile-delivery vehicles and, over the period 2012–17, demonstrated developmental progress across a family of ballistic missiles that has astonished most experts. It is astonishing because the DPRK is small, very poor and the subject of rigorous sanctions to preclude the acquisition of critical nuclear and missile technologies. Some have drawn pointed attention to the fact that nearly all of North Korea’s trade comes through China.

For those reasons, it is more than a little rich for Russia and China to advocate, as they still do, that the solution must lie in the US agreeing to meet and negotiate with the DPRK unconditionally—that is, without even an understanding that the purpose of the negotiations is to reverse the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs.

Moreover, China and Russia insist that even with the DPRK’s astonishing progress with ballistic missiles, the deployment by the US and South Korea of a more advanced THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Air Defense) system demonstrated an unacceptable disregard for their own strategic interests in an unimpeded capacity to target the US with ballistic missiles.

Finally, it matters that Vladamir Putin and Xi Jinping want to see the DPRK and the US set the stage for negotiations, by the former freezing its missile and nuclear tests and the latter cancelling its regular military exercises with South Korea, implying equal responsibility for the enduring impasse.

Each of these postures illustrates a cavalier denial of responsibility for the DPRK and all that has transpired on the peninsula since 1950. The fact is, however, that Russia and China bear deep and significant responsibility for the current state of affairs on the peninsula.

They may hope to prolong the crisis beyond the end of American pre-eminence so that the history sketched above can be recast. But we may also be approaching a defining point. There are no attractive military options, not even for a superpower, but if the US gets to the point where it harbours doubts about the stability of the DPRK leadership and suspects that any one of several missile types could be carrying a nuclear warhead, it may feel compelled to act.

It’s only too clear that a negotiated outcome is beyond the reach of the three players most immediately involved—the US, South Korea and the DPRK. All the relevant players must bring their full influence to bear. That can’t happen if some won’t even acknowledge significant responsibility for the issue.

AUTHOR
Ron Huisken is adjunct associate professor at the ANU’s Strategic & Defence Studies Centre. Image courtesy of Expert Infantry.
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

spuwho

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #51 on: July 17, 2017, 12:23:57 PM »
The issue for the US is pretty simple.  All of the known nuclear powers are somewhat rational.

The DPRK is not.

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #52 on: July 24, 2017, 09:01:06 AM »
http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/07/24/peoples_republic_of_china_options_toward_north_korea_111882.html

An interesting exercize... This article is written from the perspective of foreign policy advisor to the PRC government.

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People’s Republic of China Options Toward North Korea
By Paul Butchard
July 24, 2017

National Security Situation:  Options for the foreign policy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) toward North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or DPRK).


Date Originally Written:  July, 15, 2017.

Date Originally Published:  July 24, 2017.

Author and / or Article Point of View:  This article is written from the perspective of foreign policy advisor to the PRC government.

Background:  Since January 2016, the DPRK has conducted two nuclear weapons tests and ten missile tests.  Such actions, coupled with increasingly bombastic rhetoric, displays a more aggressive posture for the DPRK than previous years[1].

Significance:  For the PRC, their relationship with the DPRK is a regional policy issue and a central element of PRC-United States relations.  President Xi Jinping is forging an outgoing, “Striving for Achievement” foreign policy for the PRC[2].  Simultaneously, the PRC has displayed more public disapproval of Pyongyang’s destabilising behaviour than previous years[3].  The course of action the PRC adopts towards the DPRK will play a major role in the relationship between Beijing and Washington in years to come, influencing events globally.

Option #1:  The PRC maintains/increases military, economic and diplomatic aid to the DPRK.  This option sees the PRC continuing or building upon its current course of action, providing vast military and economic aid and diplomatic protection to bring the DPRK’s behaviour in line with the PRC’s wishes.

Risk:  The PRC risks appeasing the DPRK, encouraging it to continue along its current path, one that is increasingly casting the PRC as a suzerain unable to rein in a vassal state, to the casual observer.  The DPRK would view such action as capitulation and an acknowledgment by Beijing that Pyongyang cannot be penalised for actions and policies even when they harm the PRC’s interests[4].  The DPRK is conscious of its strategic importance to Beijing and able to take PRC aid without granting concessions.  The PRC risks escalating confrontation with the United States if the latter perceives the PRC as unwilling to act or enabling the DPRK’s current destabilising behaviour, a possibility given recent remarks by President Trump[5].

Gain:  This option enables the PRC to sustain the DPRK regime, avoiding a humanitarian crisis on its border because of regime collapse, maintaining the tense but peaceful status quo.  The PRC avoids being labelled a United States puppet as the DPRK has previously implied[6].  United States’ sanctions related to the DPRK have so far been limited to private companies and individuals, not the PRC government[7].  This option thus avoids igniting military, diplomatic or economic confrontations with the United States.

Option #2:  The PRC decreases/ceases military, economic and diplomatic aid to the DPRK.  This option sees the PRC ‘sanction’ the DPRK by reducing or halting military, economic or diplomatic aid to alter its behaviour to suit PRC preferences.

Risk:  This option risks the collapse of the DPRK regime due to the PRC being its main economic trading partner.  The PRC also risks economic self-harm due to the vast natural resources it imports from the DPRK[8].  The collapse of the DPRK brings unparalleled security concerns for the PRC from uncontrolled nuclear materials and mass immigration to the potential of a United States ally on its border.

Gain:  By reducing aid the PRC would be acting against the DPRK’s unpredictable actions, potentially slowing its development of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), increasing its international standing, a cornerstone of President Xi’s foreign policy.  Such action would be seen favourably by the Trump administration increasing the likelihood of favourable trade deals or relative acquiescence to PRC actions in the South China Sea.

Option #3:  Regime change.  This option would see the PRC pursue regime change within the DPRK by means of supporting a coup d’état or palace coup of some description rather than overt military action of its own.

Risk:  The DPRK government and society revolves fully around the Kim dynasty, the removal of the deity that is Kim Jong Un and the Kim lineage risks the total collapse of the state.  There is no clear successor to Kim due to the autocratic nature of the DPRK and any successor would likely be considered a PRC puppet and usurper.  Subsequent destabilisation would result in the aforementioned humanitarian and security crisis’ posing a grave national security threat to the PRC.  Such action would be logistically and strategically difficult to accomplish, requiring multiple sections of the DPRK military and governmental apparatus being coordinated by a vast human intelligence network operated by the PRC.  As such, and due to pervasive North Korean surveillance even of its elites, a coup risks discovery long before execution.  United States and South Korean forces may see any attempt at regime change as an opportunity to launch their own military offensive or as evidence of PRC expansionism and a threat to the South.

Gain:  Replacing Kim Jong Un could lead to increased stability for the PRC’s regional development objectives.  The PRC could avoid total DPRK state collapse due to external pressure and avert the potential national security threats to the PRC mainland.  This option also raises the possibility of enhancing United States-PRC relations, buying the PRC the aforementioned political capital.  A new DPRK regime, allied with the PRC, that tempers its actions toward the United States, also raises the possibility of the removal of the United States’ Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defence system from South Korea, which the PRC views as a national security threat.  This option also presents the potential for the reduction of United States troop numbers in South Korea due to increased stability and a reduced threat from the DPRK.
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #53 on: July 31, 2017, 10:47:00 AM »
The worlds failure to reign in NK will now result in a Southeast Asian arms race... I suspect Both Japan and South Korea will begin looking at nuclear weapons of their own...

https://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2017/07/south-korea-missile/535359/

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South Korea Asks to Increase Its Firepower
President Moon Jae-in requested permission from the U.S. to strengthen its missile program after North Korea’s latest launch.

The President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, has asked the U.S. to open negotiations that would allow South Korea to build more powerful ballistic missiles in order to counter an increasingly aggressive North Korea. On Friday, the government in Pyongyang fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), its second this month, that flew about 45 minutes straight up and crashed into the sea off Japan some 620 miles away. U.S. national security advisor H.R. McMaster confirmed early Saturday that Washington had accepted Moon’s offer, and would begin negotiations shortly.

The decision is a remarkable change of direction for Moon, who came to office just two months ago. Moon campaigned on a platform that favored dialogue with North Korea. He’d also opposed the U.S. missile defense system, called THAAD, that was aimed at countering a North Korean threat. But on Saturday Moon asked his government to work with the U.S. to temporarily deploy the full THAAD system. The move will likely upset China, which says the missile defense system could be used to spy into its territory and that it would escalate tensions with Pyongyang.

China’s foreign ministry, in a statement early Saturday meant to scold North Korea, urged its leaders “to respect United Nations security council resolutions and stop all acts that could worsen tensions.” Then, after learning of Moon’s request to Washington, China issued an even more pointed statement, saying that “THAAD won’t solve South Korea’s security concerns, won’t solve the related issues on the Korean Peninsula and will only further complicate issues.”

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, warned in January that his country was close to testing an ICBM that could deliver a nuclear warhead to the U.S., and many experts believe this is now possible—or at least it could be shortly. In its first test this month, North Korea launched a Hwasong-14 missile into the atmosphere on an arc that took it many times higher than the orbit of the Space Station, to a landing some 600 miles away. As my colleague, Uri Friedman pointed out, experts analyzed the rocket stages and capacity and believe that, on a different, flatter arc, it would be capable of flying many thousands of miles, theoretically placing U.S. cities like Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, possibly even New York City within striking distance. In making good on that threat, one of the last challenges for North Korea is “reentry technology.” This is the challenge of allowing warheads to endure the heat generated on descent back through Earth’s atmosphere. Future tests might demonstrate how far North Korea has come in this regard.

Moon Jae-in’s request to allow South Korea to build more powerful missiles would require re-examination of agreement from the 1970s between South Korea and the U.S. According to the treaty, the U.S. would provide help in building the missiles. In exchange, South Korea agreed that the missiles would be limited to a range of less than 500 miles, and with payloads no heavier than half a ton. The intention was to limit an arms race in the region. Moon now says that, with North Korea’s new capabilities and aggressive stance, his own country needs more protective firepower. An increase in range probably doesn’t matter: all of North Korea is within the current 500-mile range. Therefore South Korean officials will likely ask to increase payload, so as to ensure that South Korea could destroy underground silos and locations of Pyongyang’s leadership. Any increase, however, is likely to upset China.

The Trump administration has grown increasingly frustrated with Beijing, which is North Korea’s largest trading partner and only significant protector. On Saturday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson blamed China and Russia for allowing Pyongyang to reach this point. “As the principal economic enablers of North Korea’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development program, China and Russia bear unique and special responsibility for this growing threat to regional and global stability,” Tillerson said. The Trump administration has pushed China to increase its pressure on North Korea, and has placed sanctions on a small Chinese bank for its operations in North Korea. But Beijing has been reluctant and has argued for years that its leverage, while greater than any other country’s, still is limited.

At the United Nations Security Council, the U.S. is pushing both Russian and China to enact much tougher sanctions against North Korea, which has provoked the predictable, histrionic response from Kim Jong Un’s regime. In a statement released shortly after Friday’s launch, North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, said, “If the Yankees brandish the nuclear stick on this land again despite our repeated warnings, we will clearly teach them manners.”

In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

spuwho

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #54 on: July 31, 2017, 12:47:57 PM »
When a person elected on a platform of negotiation turns and chooses to up their capability instead, is supposed to send a political message that SK will not take action against the DPRK unilaterally, but will attempt to defend itself first.

It also tells China that they prefer to work it out, but if forced, will take action.

Either way, the DPRK is going to lose. One misfire that puts a stage on foreign soil will spend the end of them.

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #55 on: August 08, 2017, 01:23:29 PM »
http://www.38north.org/2017/08/jdethomas080717/?utm_source=Copy+of+38+North+Bulletin+080717_3.5&utm_campaign=38+North&utm_medium=email

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UNSCR 2371: An Invitation to Evasion
BY: JOSEPH DETHOMAS
AUGUST 7, 2017

There are a few good things to say about the UN Security Council’s adoption of Resolution 2371, which increases sanctions on North Korea. The most important one is that the US put in the time and effort to grind out a sanctions resolution that was passed unanimously. The resolution itself is also good news, given the state of US-Russia relations and the competing public chatter about China by the White House that seemed to close the door on further joint diplomatic efforts to tighten the screws on Pyongyang. The resolution is also a good alternative to more dangerous options, such as the possibility of preventive war, as was recently discussed in an interview with US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster. But the resolution is being oversold and is unlikely to produce the kind of economic damage that its sponsors are advertising. Moreover, it opens new doors for successful evasion, which in the current environment—with a volatile US administration and high public alarm—could easily lead to sudden movements towards very dangerous over-reactions.

The Nuts and Bolts

UNSCR 2371 is not revolutionary. It is a sensible and useful evolution of the sanctions actions initiated by UNSCR 2270. Its main action is to ratchet up the pressure on North Korea’s foreign exchange earnings generated by its “normal” (i.e., non-illegal and non-military) international trade. It does so by closing the huge “people’s livelihood” loophole in UNSCR 2270’s ban on North Korean coal exports, banning the export of seafood, and capping joint ventures with North Korea and labor exports from that country. In addition, it takes useful steps to make enforcement of sanctions more effective by designating key individuals and entities and clarifying for member states their rights and responsibilities in sanctions enforcement. It also makes two statements to put the international community on record on two other recent North Korean actions, namely its use of a prohibited chemical weapon in the assassination of Kim Jong Un’s brother and the death of an American citizen in DPRK custody.

Sanctions Impact

Sponsors claim the resolution will cut North Korea’s foreign exchange earnings by a third, saying it will cost the DPRK as much as $1 billion annually. This seems rather optimistic. Some of the economic impact being claimed for the new resolution seems to be double counted with items already caught by UNSCR 2270. Except for coal, mineral exports were already captured, and the Chinese had already halted coal imports for 2017 under the “people’s livelihood” provision. Prohibiting seafood exports could well cost the DPRK hundreds of millions of dollars as long as one remembers that the fishing industry has been successful for years in evading regulation and enforcement. Chinese, Russian, and Japanese fishermen are no doubt determining the best locations to rendezvous with North Korean fishing vessels to obtain their catch at sea.

Evasion is an even bigger problem on two other big-ticket items in the resolution. The resolution does not ban the export of North Korean labor. It caps work authorizations for them in states receiving them. The foreign guest worker industry is replete with abuses. It is a business in which there are many ways to have people work “off the books.” In the absence of a total ban on North Korean workers, it is hard to imagine how this provision is going to be enforced effectively even for governments that want to. To a lesser extent, the same can be said for the cap on joint ventures. This is a useful step in theory, since the North Korean economy has been benefiting from such investments in recent years, but the players in the joint venture game in North Korea and from abroad can be a shady lot with considerable experience in evading oversight and regulation. The recent C4ADS report on North Korean sanctions evasion details how skillful the network of Chinese joint venture partners is in assisting the DPRK. This complex network of front companies linked to key North Korean entities is highly likely to find clever ways to skirt this investment ban.

This is not to say the resolution is doomed, but it will require a great deal of effort and international cooperation to enforce it. Simply put, there will be violations, particularly in China, even if the Chinese government is fully on board and cooperative. Thus, while the resolution is a step forward, it may well disappoint in terms of the immediate damage it inflicts and it is likely to generate frustrations and tensions in the United States in particular.

Strategic Impact

Even if the resolution inflicts the damage its sponsors hope, it will be insufficient to change Pyongyang’s policy. As we have seen in the past, the Kim regime will simply shift its remaining foreign exchange resources to its strategic priorities and allow those outside the defense and political elite establishment to shoulder the pain. This was the sad experience of those of us who wielded the even more powerful sanctions against Saddam Hussein under UNSCR 661. Highly repressive regimes with a narrow political elite can successfully shift the pain of even severe sanctions to the innocent.

While having these sanctions is better than diving into a preventive war, we should not expect this resolution to solve our problems. On its own, it is simply too little, too late. Rather, it is a card to be played in a much larger game involving military deterrence and US-China, US-ROK, China-DPRK and US-DPRK diplomacy. However, whether or not the leaders in Washington, Pyongyang, Beijing and Seoul, are up to that complex effort is very unclear.
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #56 on: August 11, 2017, 01:26:33 PM »
I wonder if Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington have these yet...

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3923203/Missile-Threat.pdf

http://www.guampdn.com/story/news/2017/08/11/guam-homeland-security-releases-fact-sheet-imminent-north-korea-missile-threat/558444001/

Quote
'Don't look at the flash or fireball' — Guam Homeland Security releases fact sheet in light of North Korea threats
Jasmine Stole , jstole@guampdn.com Published 4:37 p.m. ChT Aug. 11, 2017 | Updated 9:06 p.m. ChT Aug. 11, 2017

Guam Homeland Security issued a new fact sheet Friday, which the agency says will help residents prepare for an imminent missile threat.

The information was released following this week's threat by North Korea to launch a missile attack against Guam.

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3923203/Missile-Threat.pdf

The advice includes tips such as: "Do not look at the flash or fireball – It can blind you" and "Take cover behind anything that might offer protection."

“Lie flat on the ground and cover your head. If the explosion is some distance away, it could take 30 seconds or more for the blast wave to hit,” the sheet states.

During a press conference at Adelup late Friday afternoon, Gov. Eddie Calvo told reporters that the threat level remains the same and that the island is "safe and sound."

"There are no changes," Calvo said. "Everyone should continue to live their lives."

While the governor said there's no imminent threat to the island, he said families should still be prepared any situation, including inclement weather, and establish a family emergency plan.

Homeland Security says residents should prepare an emergency supply kit and a family emergency plan. During an imminent missile threat, authorities recommend taking cover as quickly as possible under a concrete structure or below ground after an attack warning is issued.

People should also avoid going outside for at least 24 hours to avoid any possible radioactive material, unless otherwise told by authorities.

If possible, take a shower with lots of soap and water, shampoo but avoid using conditioner that will bind to any radioactive material in your hair, the fact sheet states.

After the explosion, people are encouraged to keep an eye and an ear out for official information so they know where to go, what to do and places to avoid.

Schools are safe buildings and teachers and staff should have detailed plans for emergencies. If children are in school, parents are advised to listen to the news, avoid calling the school and wait for instructions to pick up your child, the fact sheet states.

Guam Homeland Security spokeswoman Jenna Gaminde said the information from the fact sheet was gathered from the federal Department of Homeland Security website, www.ready.gov.

In the event of an imminent missile threat, Guam Homeland Security will use all forms of mass communication to alert the public, Gaminde said. This includes sounding all 15 All Hazards Alert Warning System sirens located in low-lying areas through the island. Emergency information will also be published on television and broadcast in emergency radio announcements.

GHS will also send alerts to local media, village mayors and publish information on its website if there is an imminent threat.

Social media users can follow Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense on Facebook and Twitter for timely notices.

“We recognize these are all separate forms of communication and rely on all during emergencies,” Gaminde said.

This fact sheet and others will also be available at local mayor’s offices, according to Guam Homeland Security.
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2017, 10:00:51 AM »
So THATS how they did it...

http://www.iiss.org/en/iiss%20voices/blogsections/iiss-voices-2017-adeb/august-2b48/north-korea-icbm-success-3abb

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The secret to North Korea’s ICBM success
How has North Korea managed to make such astounding progress with its long-range missile programme over the last two years? Here, Michael Elleman shares the first solid evidence that North Korea has acquired a high-performance liquid-propellant engine from illicit networks in Russia and Ukraine.

Date: 14 August 2017
By Michael Elleman, Senior Fellow for Missile Defence

North Korea’s missile programme has made astounding strides over the past two years. An arsenal that had been based on short- and medium-range missiles along with an intermediate-range Musudan that repeatedly failed flight tests, has suddenly been supplemented by two new missiles: the intermediate-range Hwasong-12 and the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Hwasong-14. No other country has transitioned from a medium-range capability to an ICBM in such a short time. What explains this rapid progression? The answer is simple. North Korea has acquired a high-performance liquid-propellant engine (LPE) from a foreign source.

Available evidence clearly indicates that the LPE is based on the Soviet RD-250 family of engines, and has been modified to operate as the boosting force for the Hwasong-12 and -14. An unknown number of these engines were probably acquired though illicit channels operating in Russia and/or Ukraine. North Korea’s need for an alternative to the failing Musudan and the recent appearance of the RD-250 engine along with other evidence, suggests the transfers occurred within the past two years.

Tests reveal recent technical gains

North Korea ground tested a large LPE in September 2016, which it claimed could generate 80 tonnes’ thrust. The same LPE was again ground tested in March 2017. This test included four smaller, steering engines. On 14 May 2017, with Kim Jong-un overseeing test preparations, North Korea launched a new intermediate-range ballistic missile, the Hwasong-12. The single-stage missile flew on a very steep trajectory, reaching a peak altitude of over 2,000km. If the Hwasong-12 had used a normal flight path, it would have travelled between 4,000 and 4,500km, placing Guam, just 3,400km away, within range.

The success of the Hwasong-12 flight in May gave North Korean engineers the confidence needed to pursue a more ambitious goal: the initial flight testing of a two-stage missile capable of reaching the continental United States. Less than two months after the Hwasong-12 test, the two-stage Hwasong-14 was launched on 4 July. A second Hwasong-14 was tested on 28 July. The Hwasong-14 launches flew on very steep flight paths, with the first shot reaching an apogee of 2,700km. The second test peaked at about 3,800km.

North Korea’s announced results were independently confirmed by the Republic of Korea, Japan and US. In both tests, the mock warheads plummeted towards the East Sea, 900–1,000km from the launch point. If flown on a trajectory that maximises range instead of peak altitude, the two missiles would have reached about 7,000km and 9,000km respectively, well exceeding the 5,500km minimum distance for a system to be categorised as an ICBM.

The dimensions and visible features of the Hwasong-12 indicate an overall mass of between 24,000 and 25,000kg. The Hwasong-12’s acceleration at lift-off, as determined by the launch video aired by KCNA, is about 8.5 to 9.0m/s2. Assuming North Korea did not manipulate the launch video, the thrust generated by the Hwasong-12’s complete engine assembly is between 45 and 47 tonnes’ thrust; the main engine contributes between 39 to 41 tonnes’ force, and the auxiliary engines about 6 tonnes’ force. The Hwasong-14 has an estimated mass of 33,000–34,000kg, and an initial acceleration rate of about 4–4.5m/s2, resulting in a total thrust of 46–48 tonnes’ force.

Identifying the new LPE and its origins

The origins of the new engine (see Figures 1 and 2) are difficult to determine with certainty. However, a process of elimination sharply narrows the possibilities.

There is no evidence to suggest that North Korea successfully designed and developed the LPE indigenously. Even if, after importing Scud and Nodong engines, North Korea had mastered the production of clones, which remains debateable, this does not mean that it could design, develop and manufacture a large LPE from scratch, especially one that uses higher-performance propellants and generates 40 tonnes’ thrust.

Claims that the LPE is a North Korean product would be more believable if the country’s experts had in the recent past developed and tested a series of smaller, less powerful engines, but there are no reports of such activities. Indeed, prior to the Hwasong-12 and -14 flights, every liquid-fuelled missile launched by North Korea – all of the Scuds and Nodongs, even the Musudan – was powered by an engine developed and originally produced by the Russian enterprise named for A.M. Isayev; the Scud, Nodong and R-27 (from which the Musudan is derived) missiles were designed and originally produced by the Russian concern named after V.P. Makeyev. It is, therefore, far more likely that the Hwasong-12 and -14 are powered by an LPE imported from an established missile power.

If this engine was imported, most potential sources can be eliminated because the external features, propellant combination and performance profile of the LPE in question are unique. The engine tested by North Korea does not physically resemble any LPE manufactured by the US, France, China, Japan, India or Iran. Nor do any of these countries produce an engine that uses storable propellants and generates the thrust delivered by the Hwasong-12 and -14 LPE. This leaves the former Soviet Union as the most likely source.

Given North Korea’s reliance to date on technologies originating with the Isayev and Makeyev enterprises, one might suspect one or both as the probable supplier. However, neither enterprise has been associated with an engine that matches the performance of LPE used by Hwasong-12 and -14.

An exhaustive search of engines produced by other manufacturers in the former Soviet Union yields a couple of possibilities, all of which are associated with the Russian enterprise named after V.P. Glushko, now known as Energomash. The RD-217, RD-225 and RD-250 engine families use high-energy, storable-liquid propellants similar to those employed by engines tested by North Korea. Neither the RD-217 nor RD-225 have external features matching those of North Korea’s new engine. The RD-250 is the only match.

The RD-250 engine is normally configured as a pair of combustion chambers, which receive propellant from a single turbopump, as shown in Figure 3. When operated in tandem, the two chambers generate roughly 78–80 tonnes’ thrust. This level of thrust is similar to the claims North Korea made when the first ground test was conducted and publicised in September 2016.

It gradually became clear, however, that the Hwasong-12 and -14 used single-chamber engines. Note, for example, that Pyongyang claimed that a new pump design was used for the September ground test. This makes sense, because operating the RD-250 as a single chamber LPE would necessitate a new or modified turbopump. Having no demonstrated experience modifying or developing large LPE turbopumps, Pyongyang’s engineers would have been hard pressed to make the modifications themselves. Rather, the technical skills needed to modify the existing RD-250 turbopump, or fashioning a new one capable of feeding propellant to a single chamber would reside with experts with a rich history of working with the RD-250. Such expertise is available at Russia’s Energomash concern and Ukraine’s KB Yuzhnoye. One has to conclude that the modified engines were made in those factories.

The alternative hypothesis, that Russian/Ukraine engineers were employed in North Korea is less likely, given the absence of any known production facility in North Korea for such engines. In addition, Western experts who visited KB Yuzhnoye Ukraine within the past year told the author that a single-chamber version was on display at a nearby university and that a local engineer boasted about producing it.

Why single-chamber engines were transferred rather than the more powerful double-chamber original versions is unclear. One possible hypothesis is that the exporters, for whatever reason, exercised restraint in what they were willing to transfer to North Korea. Combined with a second stage, however, the single-chamber RD-250 engine is powerful enough to send an ICBM to cities on the American West Coast at least.

The RD-250 was originally designed by the Glushko enterprise of Russia, and produced and incorporated into the first stage of the R-36 (SS-9) ICBM and the Tsiklon-2 satellite launcher by KB Yuzhnoye of Ukraine. The Tsiklon-2 carrier rocket lofted its first satellite into orbit in 1969, with the last of 106 launches occurring in 2006. While Yuzhnoye was responsible for producing the Tsiklon-2 rocket, Russian entities launched the satellite. The relationship survived the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 primarily because of long-standing institutional linkages, and the commercial interests of both enterprises and countries. However, despite the Tsiklon-2’s unsurpassed reliability record, Russia stopped purchasing the Yuzhnoye rocket in 2006 in favour of an indigenous system. Yuzhnoye’s repeated attempts to market the rocket and related technologies to other potential customers, including Boeing and Brazil, yielded little. The once vaunted KB Yuzhnoye has been near financial collapse since roughly 2015.

The total number of RD-250 engines fabricated in Russia and Ukraine is not known. However, there are almost certainly hundreds, if not more, of spares stored at KB Yuzhnoye’s facilities and at warehouses in Russia where the Tsiklon-2 was used. Spares may also exist at one or more of Energomash’s many facilities spread across Russia. Because the RD-250 is no longer employed by operational missiles or launchers, facilities warehousing the obsolete LPEs are probably loosely guarded. A small team of disgruntled employees or underpaid guards at any one of the storage sites, and with access to the LPEs, could be enticed to steal a few dozen engines by one of the many illicit arms dealers, criminal networks, or transnational smugglers operating in the former Soviet Union. The engines (less than two metres tall and one metre wide) can be flown or, more likely, transported by train through Russia to North Korea.

Pyongyang has many connections in Russia, including with the illicit network that funnelled Scud, Nodong and R-27 (Musudan) hardware to North Korea in the 1980s and 1990s. United Nations sanctions imposed on Pyongyang have likely strengthened the Kim regime’s ties to these criminal networks. North Korean agents seeking missile technology are also known to operate in Ukraine. In 2012, for example, two North Korean nationals were arrested and convicted by Ukrainian authorities for attempting to procure missile hardware from Yuzhnoye. Today, Yuzhnoye’s facilities lie close to the front lines of the Russian-controlled secessionist territory. Clearly, there is no shortage of potential routes through which North Korea might have acquired the few dozen RD-250 engines that would be needed for an ICBM programme.

How did North Korea acquire the RD-250 engine?

When and from where RD-250 engines may have been shipped to North Korea is difficult to determine. It is possible the transfers occurred in the 1990s, when North Korea was actively procuring Scud- and Nodong-related hardware, as well as R-27 technology and its Isayev 4D10 engine. But this seems unlikely for three reasons.

Firstly, the network North Korea relied on in the 1990s focused on products originating from Russia’s Makeyev and Isayev enterprises. Energomash and Yuzhnoye had limited connections to Makeyev or Isayev; indeed, they were rival enterprises competing for contracts as the Soviet Union crumbled. It is, therefore, a stretch to assume the illicit channels Pyongyang was using in the 1990s had access to products manufactured or used at either Yuzhnoye or Energomash two decades ago.

Secondly, until recently, North Korea appeared to focus on exploiting R-27 hardware for its long-range missile ambitions. Pyongyang’s first intermediate-range missile, the Musudan, which was first displayed in a 2010 parade, is derived from the R-27 technology acquired in the 1990s. Moreover, until the Hwasong-12 launch in March 2017, Pyongyang’s design concepts for a prospective ICBM featured a first stage powered by a cluster of two Isayev 4D10 LPEs. Photographs taken while Kim Jong-un toured a missile plant in March 2016 captured the back end of an ICBM prototype that appeared to house a pair of 4D10 engines, not a single RD-250 LPE. A month later, Kim attended the ground test featuring a cluster of two 4D10 engines operating in tandem, a clear indication that North Korea’s future ICBM would rely on this configuration. There is no evidence during this period to suggest that North Korea was developing a missile based on the RD-250 engine.

Thirdly, the Isayev 4D10 engine, which relies on staged combustion, is a complicated closed-cycle system that is integrated within the missile’s fuel tank. If the open-cycle, externally mounted RD-250 engine had been available in 2015, engineers would have likely preferred to use it to power a new long-range missile, as it shares many features with the engines North Korea has worked with for decades.

However, when North Korean specialists began flight testing the Musudan in 2016, the missile repeatedly failed soon after ignition. Only one flight test is believed to have been successful. The cause of the string of failures cannot be determined from media reports. That many failed very early in flight suggests that problems with either the engine itself, or the unique ‘submerged’ configuration of the engine, were responsible. If this was the case, North Korea’s engineers may have recognised that they could not easily overcome the challenges. This might explain why the Musudan has not been tested since 2016.

The maiden appearance of the modified RD-250 in September 2016 roughly coincides with North Korea’s decision to halt Musudan testing. It is reasonable to speculate that Kim’s engineers knew the Musudan presented grim or insurmountable technical challenges, which prompted a search for an alternative. If North Korea began its quest to identify and procure a new LPE in 2016, the start of the search would have occurred in the same year Yuzhnoye was experiencing the full impact of its financial shortfalls. This is not to suggest that the Ukrainian government was involved, and not necessarily Yuzhnoye executives. Workers at Yuzhnoye facilities in Dnipropetrovsk and Pavlograd were likely the first ones to suffer the consequences of the economic misfortunes, leaving them susceptible to exploitation by unscrupulous traders, arms dealers and transnational criminals operating in Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere.

North Korea’s ICBM still a work in progress

Acquisition of the modified RD-250 engine enabled North Korea to bypass the failing Musudan development effort and begin work on creating an ICBM sooner than previously expected. The Hwasong-14, however, is not yet an operationally viable system. Additional flight tests are needed to assess the missile’s navigation and guidance capabilities, overall performance under operational conditions and its reliability. Empirical data derived from tests to validate the efficacy of warhead re-entry technologies is also needed. Pyongyang could elect to deploy the Hwasong-14 as early as 2018, after only a handful of additional test launches, but at the risk of fielding a missile with marginal reliability. The risks could be reduced over time by continuing flight trials after the missile is assigned to combat units.

Further, the Hwasong-14 employs an underpowered second stage, which could limit Kim Jong-un to threatening only those American cities situated along the Pacific Coast. Arguably, Pyongyang will want a more powerful ICBM, one that can target the entire US mainland. The modified RD-250 engine can be clustered to provide a basis for an improved ICBM, but development of a new missile will require time.

It is not too late for the US and its allies, along with China and perhaps Russia, to negotiate an agreement that bans future missile testing, and effectively prevents North Korea from perfecting its capacity to terrorise America with nuclear weapons. But the window of opportunity will soon close, so diplomatic action must be taken immediately.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 10:07:55 AM by BridgeTroll »
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #58 on: August 30, 2017, 01:43:16 PM »
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-08-29/should-japan-rearm-discuss

Quote
Should Japan Rearm? Discuss.
Prime Minister Abe needs to lead a debate about how respond to the missile threat.
By The Editors
August 29, 2017, 5:11 PM EDT

Outraged by Tuesday’s North Korean missile test, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe immediately called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. Japan needs to have an equally urgent debate at home.

The missile, which buzzed the island of Hokkaido before crashing into the sea, was especially provocative because North Korea had previously only sent satellite-launching rockets over Japan. Judging by past experience, success will embolden the North to conduct similar tests, raising the possibility that a missile could go awry or disintegrate over a Japanese city. Japan and the U.S. would have to decide whether to shoot them down, increasing the risk of wider hostilities.

Worse, it’s unclear whether Japan’s current missile defenses are even up to that task. It currently deploys ship-borne interceptors, designed to shoot down intermediate-range ballistic missiles, and land-based Patriot batteries, which can take out more primitive missiles or falling debris. It’s considering adding more powerful land-based interceptors as well, but those systems would be costly and might not be able to stop a barrage of simultaneous launches.

Abe’s task now is to build support for stronger measures. For years, politicians and policy wonks have debated whether Japan’s pacifist constitution allows offensive action under certain circumstances -- say, to take out a North Korean missile on the launch pad moments before liftoff. The consensus is that it does, under very limited circumstances. But it would require weaponry, such as Tomahawk cruise missiles, that would dramatically increase Japan’s warmaking capacity.

Abe needs to make the case for the fast development of such a capability. And he needs to be clear about the circumstances under which it would be used.

The prime minister needs to be similarly honest about his long-running push to revise Japan’s constitution, including its clause renouncing war. He says the changes he’s proposing would do no more than legitimize Japan’s existing Self-Defense Forces. But his past statements and links to hard-right groups have raised legitimate doubts about his intentions.

Japanese are conflicted about such big changes to their constitution, even as three-quarters of them say they would favor either preemptive strikes or a swift counterattack if North Korea were about to launch a missile toward Japan. Abe owes them an open debate in which all sides get a full hearing.

Such a debate would also help ease opposition outside Japan, most notably in South Korea, which has long been sensitive to any suggestion that its former colonial overlord might rearm. For the two neighbors to establish a credible deterrent, they’ll need to coordinate missile defenses, share intelligence and operate seamlessly with U.S. forces. Tensions between them would undercut any good Japan’s new capabilities might otherwise do.

China, of course, is unlikely to view any increase in Japan’s offensive military capabilities -- or its missile defenses, for that matter -- with equanimity. Instead of lashing out, however, leaders in Beijing might consider whether they’ve done everything they can to mitigate the North Korean threat. A more heavily armed Japan is just one of the costs of their refusal to do so.

To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg View’s editorials: David Shipley at davidshipley@bloomberg.net .
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

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Re: North Korea
« Reply #59 on: September 22, 2017, 10:58:01 AM »
A logical next step...

https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/north-korea-s-nuclear-testing-reaching-limit

Quote
North Korea’s underground N testing reaching a limit

A test of a North Korean thermonuclear weapon (or H-Bomb) over the Pacific Ocean is horrifying proposition. Apart from the serious strategic implications, the physical blast and electromagnetic effects of such a detonation would be catastrophic. If such a test occurred without warning, planes could fall from the sky as their electronics fail. Even satellites in low-earth orbit could be affected. The environmental effects on the ocean and its fishing resources would also be serious.

Much will be written about the horrifying implications of such a test, but apart from sabre-rattling, there could be a more practical side. North Korea has apparently reached the limit of what it can achieve with underground nuclear testing.

To date, all of North Korea’s six nuclear tests have been conducted in tunnels at the Punggye-ri site in northeastern North Korea. Some tests have been so hermetically contained that no trace emissions were ever detected. This is better for the environment but it produced confusion for foreign analysts, who could not even be sure whether plutonium or uranium was used as the fissile material for some detonations. North Korea is known to have production systems for both.

The most recent test was almost certainly North Korea’s first thermonuclear bomb. This device was tested in a tunnel that was apparently more fortified (by natural terrain) than previous tests, and designed to contain the strong force from this new H-Bomb. However, this was apparently not enough to completely seal in the explosion. Small traces of radioactivity have been detected beyond North Korea’s borders. Clearly, North Korea’s test site is showing its limitations.

North Korea has a track record of steadily increasing the yield of its nuclear weapons. Now that the feasibility of a North Korean thermonuclear weapon has been demonstrated, the next step will be to produce an even bigger bang. Testing such a device underground would probably be impractical for any nation. North Korea’s small size and geography denies it the sort of vast, relatively unpopulated areas of land that have been used for above-ground nuclear testing in the past. So a test in international waters is really the only practical option, disregarding the serious consequences of such an act.

Thus, there are strong technical reasons for a Pacific Ocean thermonuclear test. While North Korea may frame such a test as revenge for Donald Trump’s bellicose rhetoric, such a test would probably be carried out even without his harsh words. The goal is simply to advance the state of this nation’s nuclear arsenal.
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."