North Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions

North Korea has once again defied the International community, this time detonating an underground nuclear device which some are comparing as equivalent in power “to the bombs which hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki”.

The force of yesterday’s blast was between 10 and 20 kilotons, according to Russia’s defence ministry, vastly more than the estimated one-kiloton blast three years ago.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency said that based on recorded seismic activity, the energy level of the test was four times bigger than the last one.

Meeting in emergency session, the UN Security Council unanimously condemned the test, while council president Vitaly Churkin of Russia said members would immediately begin working on a resolution to address Pyongyang’s latest move.

According to The Australian, the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said “the US thinks this is a grave violation of international law, and a threat to regional and international peace and security.

“And therefore, the United States will seek a strong resolution with strong measures,” she added.

“We believe it ought to be a strong resolution with appropriately strong contents, but obviously unless and until we complete the negotiation process, it is premature to say what its contents will be.”

Russia said the test would “provoke an escalation of tensions in northeast Asia”, according to a foreign ministry statement, while British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the test was a “danger to the world.”

However, aside from issuing a statement of “international condemnation” and possibly imposing new sanctions, is there anything that can really be done to bring the rogue nation and its unpredictable leader into line?

What can be done now?

Despite moves last night towards a new resolution, most analysts say the UN security council can do little more than condemn the test and tighten existing sanctions since Russia and China are unlikely to accept new measures. “This time we will likely get a stronger response than [to the] rocket launch since there is no ambiguity … but whether the council will have any tools to use is another question. Against North Korea, it seems highly unlikely,” Tim Savage, deputy director of the Nautilus Institute, told Reuters.

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49 Responses

  1. “What can be done now?……………”

    Obviously the Great and Courageous Leader has run out of French Brandy,Russian Vodka and Beluga Caviar which the Americans are refusing to allow through from the border with South Korea.

    All the Americans have to do is let the trucks pass and also send a few crates of Moet Chandon as well so we can all get back to work.

  2. reb – thanks for this thread – I was looking at writing on this morning. Now I can kick back and relax…. ah!

  3. And for all the posturing and rhetoric of GWB and about the “axis of evil”, it was his watch in which the democratic North got possession of nuclear weapons.

  4. “What can be done now?……………”

    What about actioning the UN Sanctions already in place!

    …UN Security Council? Just another (expensive) talkfest…

    …or we could ask our friends, the US of A, to just nuke ’em and send a message to the rest of the world particularly Iran…

    …I mean the Yanks are the only nation who have experience with the aggressive use of nuclear weapons – two in three days if memory serves me…

    …barring that I, remember that France continued testing here in the Pacific long after it was considered dangerous by other members of the UN…their nuclear weapons program must be much more advanced than anyone elses, they might be interested – its along way from their back door too, (as usual)…

    …or we could follow the government in our Head of States’ country (shakes head and mumbles about Republic) and just pontificate as all crumbled Empire builders do…

  5. The UN could send more stern letters.

  6. Tony

    That is all that will happen. North Koreans will starve to death the UN will rattle its cage a bit harder and then resolve to take action which will be Vetoed by China and/or Russia and once a gain a resolution will be filed in the filing cabinet under useless and very costly meetings achieving stern words of condemnation but no true outcome.

  7. Then again, it shows just how brave the US is when it knows a country has WMD’s… Aside from TB’s tongue-in-cheek call on the Yanks, I don’t see the usual ‘War in Iraq’ supporters calling for an invasion of N.Korea.

  8. Where is Hans Brix when you need him?

  9. We didn’t listen to the guy back then, why do you think Mr Blix would want anything to do with this?

  10. Waddya, mean tongue in cheek – its all true!

  11. B.Tolputt,

    Not Blix, Brix.

  12. Agreed Tol and TB. North Korea is certainly worth an invasion as it seems likely that they might be harboring weapons of mass destruction. Not that we know for certain, but our ‘intelligence’ suggests it might be thus.

  13. @Tony:
    I see… wasn’t very useful there was he… the sea bass didn’t even have fricken lasers on their heads!

  14. Thanks Tony…. I glad someone got the joke. 😉

  15. So which should it be?

    1. The UN approach (send a stern letter)?
    2. The US (Iraq) approach (invasion)?
    3. The French approach (not our problem)?
    4. The Chinese approach (go for it, NK, and here’s some uranium)?

    Personally, I think it’s just part of a cycle. They test, the US initiate talks, NK gets money, they shut up for a while.

  16. Yeh………….just send them some stuff…..!

    It’s kind of like having an out of control unemployed obese and alcoholic neighbour with a really bad haircut in your block of apartments whose only possession is a really loud shotgun that once in a while he roams out onto his balcony with shouting obscenities and lets fly with a few rounds into the night sky

    Kabooooooooooooom………………….Kabooooooooooooooom.

    He’s bored and he wants some attention

    It scares the shit out of the people living right next to him but the others on the other side of the block of apartments just get a bit annoyed.

    The Body Corporate sends him some stern letters which he ignores.

    The people living immediately above him just put up with it because he’s their cousin and there’s a bit of a history of “illness” in the family. But they dont like to talk about it.

    But in order to keep the peace the people in the top floor penthouse apartment (who can see everyone’s balconies) send him a delivery of booze and food every now and again as they know that the imbecile will quieten down and go back into his lounge room and watch endless repeats of “I Love Lucy” and “Gunsmoke”.

    It works every time.

    But who in the apartments is the bloody idiot that keeps sending him the 12 gauge shotgun cartridges. No one seems to know or no ones saying anyway.

  17. Nice analogy Walrus… One does wonder how they get enough uranium (&/or it’s processed relatives) to build these weapons. Is N.Korea uranium rich?

  18. 2. The US (Iraq) approach (invade the wrong country)?

  19. North Korea ???……..no one really cares anymore because the Media have done the issue to death.

    Kinda like Swine Flu. Everyone shrugs their shoulders and thinks to themselves…..yeh well people always get the flu…………………..and some people die from it every year…………….We shrug our shoulders and get on with it.

    Sol says we are a bunch of racists………we say to ourselves……………oh yeah…………………….whatever !

    Merill Lynch Stockbroking come out on Dow Jones today saying that they were “out” on their predictions about retail sales last quarter because Australians are not taking the GFC seriously………………………I fell off my chair laughing.

    What a wonderful way of dismissing criticism of your share price projections for the retail sector !

  20. Walrus,

    We’ve got every doomsayer in town giving us any number of trumped-up reasons why we should be panicking in the streets: GFC, swine flu, climate change!; even nuclear armageddon is back on the menu.

    Funny thing is, though, we are not ready to be manipulated in that way. Go find some other sucker to sell your apocalypse to. Now f**k off and let me finish my beer.

  21. You left out spiralling crime that is outa control.

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25535964-421,00.html

    No lets just arm the population and our morphing into being always in fear Americans is complete.

  22. Tony, on May 26th, 2009 at 5:31 pm Said

    Did someone say………………….”Beer”…..?

  23. “…………British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the test was a “danger to the world.”

    Hello Pot……meet Kettle

  24. “We believe it ought to be a strong resolution with appropriately strong contents, but obviously unless and until we complete the negotiation process, it is premature to say what its contents will be.”

    ———-US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice

    Did she lift that quotation straight off a script from “Yes Prime Minister” or what …………?

    Jeeeeeeesus……Talk about meaningless rhetoric !

  25. “Personally, I think it’s just part of a cycle. They test, the US initiate talks, NK gets money, they shut up for a while”J o Melb

    I agree with this. Past behaviour suggests it to be so.

    I also think that it exposes the hypocrisy of “recent” US foreign policy propositions & particularly the staunch defenders of these actions.

    ie. ” it shows just how brave the US is when it knows a country has WMD’s”…& nothing obvious to gain but casualties & escalation.

  26. I just heard on the way home that North Korea has left off another two (missiles).

  27. “..I just heard on the way home that North Korea has left off another two (missiles)…..”

    reb, on May 26th, 2009 at 6:15 pm Said:

    The Yanks must have said “No” to the Beluga Caviar !

  28. The Yanks must’ve also turned down his offer to be a centrefold model.

    I think the insult to his ego is what set this entire sorry affair off…

  29. Ah! The IATW of old!

    Love the analogy (getting better’n better)

    …and I blew WT all over my NEW! computer reading about Merryl Lynch’s BS!

  30. The US (Iraq) approach (invade the wrong country)?

    They really wouldn’t want to do that… China would kick their ass, not to mention stop lending them the money they need for the military. And Japan is under their protection! They could always attack South Korea… after all, they’re right next to N.Korea so must be in league with the axles of evilness 😛

  31. I was in Tokyo in 1998 when the Dear Leader fired a missile over the city. You could feel 35 million people tremble as one.

    They held off then but Japan will now, on the balance of probabilities, develop and deploy nuclear weapons within the next 2 years. Japan already has more than 100 tonnes of processed plutonium ready to go and have only abstained from weaponising it due to diplomatic considerations.

    The dear Leader’s fireworks display also encourages our major export market to continue pouring billions of dollars into someone else’s so-called missile-defence system, a conceptually-dubious gizmo the Japanese will have no proprietary rights to …

    Meanwhile, back in the gulag, ordinary North Korean people continue to count any day they get to eat as a good one.

  32. Hey reb, that very attractive portrait should have been posted after dinner time …

  33. Missile Defence = Digital Maginot Line?

  34. Ah, Comrade Kim. China effectively created this little turd and I reckon it’s up to them to get him to pull his swelled head-in.

    Should they fail to do so, perhaps the US could quietly give the Japanese (who are, after all, the supposed targets of the NK nukes) the nod to start building Bombs of their own.

    For purely defensive purposes, you understand.

    Now that would definitely be something not to China’s liking: The Rapists of Nanking with Nukes.

    No siree, not to their liking at all: Open the window and you’d be able to hear the howls in Beijing from here in Sydney.

  35. “It shows just how brave the US is when it knows a country has WMD’s”

    I think it shows common sense not going after NK. Although I would be for military actions of some sort at this point, a US military strike could ultimately lead to the nuking of Japan or the ROK unless said military attacks specifically targeted the nuclear facilities themselves in one fail swoop. But if not successful we would get those who would hold us responsible for civilian deaths instead of those who actually fired the nuke. Instead, we will continue to talk and allow the North Koreans to continue to expose the uselessness of the UN and sanctions (much like SH in Iraq). In the end, if they decide to use the weapons anyway, we will ultimately catch the blame for that as well because we didn’t use military action. It is all so predictable. Another thing Toilet, why not let you guys take care of it? Again, a world that is tired of US “foreign policy” looks to us for policy, also utterly predictable….LOL…..

  36. Claims US Government, in effect, paid for North Korean nukes:

    http://www.infowars.com/north-koreas-nukes-paid-for-by-the-us-government/

  37. Hang on Sparta the draconian sanctions in Iraq were what the US pushed for and were the harshest ever imposed on any nation. They directly caused the deaths of tens of thousands of children whilst actually making Saddam more powerful, and then the US insisted on even harsher sanctions. American doctors were so incensed they were ignoring the penalties involved and going to Iraq smuggling in sanctioned medicines to help Iraqi children.

    Whilst you’re bagging the UN have a look at the resolutions that the US pushes for or insists on and see how successful their outcomes have been. You cannot bag the UN in isolation of its biggest contributor and instigator of many UN policies.

    So in criticising UN failure you are also criticising US failure.

    Also people don’t “look to the US” for foreign policy, the US set itself up for it. It was the country that made itself the arbiter of world affairs, directly interfering in the politics of other countries (even democratic ones), the world’s sheriff and has been doing that for about 100 years or more.

    Often it has done good (extreme good) but also often its interference and playing world cop has caused many of the world’s long term problems. But the US is declining on its own anyway with its influence waning.

    Then again the nuclear arms race also involved America and the previous US administration started to build new nukes in contravention to NP treaties. Several countries have been using America’s nuclear expansion as an excuse to start nuclear programs for “self defence”, the excuse the Bush administration used to expand their nuclear weapons.

    It’s pretty hard ordering other countries not to do what you are in full swing of doing yourself.

  38. “They directly caused the deaths of tens of thousands of children whilst actually making Saddam more powerful, and then the US insisted on even harsher sanctions.”

    Evidence please…….Saddam is more powerful but tens of thousands die…Hmm…..you mean we are responsible for how SH chose to spend his resources…priceless…..

    “So in criticising UN failure you are also criticising US failure.”

    So say you. Sanctions only have meaning if they are used against those that actually give a damn about their own populous……

    “Also people don’t “look to the US” for foreign policy, the US set itself up for it.”

    Adrian, history would suggest otherwise as you know…….

    “It was the country that made itself the arbiter of world affairs, directly interfering in the politics of other countries (even democratic ones), the world’s sheriff and has been doing that for about 100 years or more.”

    Simply question, why doesn’t the world just ask us to take our troops home? Or why haven’t they for the past 100 years? I would be all for it!

    “It’s pretty hard ordering other countries not to do what you are in full swing of doing yourself.”

    Well then you share NK position and basically say “get stuffed” to the UN then? I am not sure what to make of your reasoning. If your ok with “anybody” having nuclear weapons simply because we do, then I suppose I know where you stand on this………When and if they are ever used, I am sure you will not look to blame the US then?

  39. I think it shows common sense not going after NK.

    That same common sense that insisted the US invade another country that supposedly also had WMD’s… It all makes sense now. You just need to imagine the USA as a school bully who talks up the “fighting prowess” of weaker foreign exchange student in second grade so when he beats them up he isn’t called an asshole by the rest of the school (world). Confronted by someone with even a moderate ability to hurt them back; and the US talks peace, love, & diplomacy.

    I think the school bully analogy is very appropriate 🙂

  40. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on May 27th, 2009 at 3:01 am Said:
    “I think it shows common sense not going after NK.”

    I agree, we should see the action for what it really is.
    NK has had very little to bargain with until now, and if a change of leadership is on the horizon, they need to ensure the new man is holding a strong hand when he sits at the table.
    Instead of knocking over the table, we should be supporting the actions of the other players, their neighbours, because ultimately they are the key to any solution.
    We should also be reading the signals given by Indonesia’s rejection of Rudd’s Asia-Pacific community plan. They prefer that matters are dealt region by region. To barge in from outside upsets everyone. Supporting their efforts is the way to go.
    In many ways this problem is similar to the Indo-China conflict. Nixon knew that the key to finding a solution was through China, hence his historic visit. Most people regard him as a disgraced politician, I regard him as a great diplomat as he could see what was needed to solve one of the major conflicts of my generation, and was not afraid to take that first step.

  41. I see the armchair generals are out rattling their rusty sabres … and playing with young lives again!

    Just ignore the little prick and isolate them (NK) – they are frightened of their own shadows …

    … god, forbid, Japan goes silly with nuclear weapons… too…

  42. “Confronted by someone with even a moderate ability to hurt them back; and the US talks peace, love, & diplomacy.”

    Yes, as a matter of policy it makes perfect sense to go to war with more powerful rivals. Who pray tell might that be at this moment in history? Interesting you believe Iraq and Afghanistan are cake walks? Unfortunately your rationale neglects that little thing in history called WWII and that Japan/ROK might be on the receiving end, not us……..Sigh…….

  43. johnd,

    “Instead of knocking over the table, we should be supporting the actions of the other players, their neighbours, because ultimately they are the key to any solution.”

    Yes, I am afraid that is about all we can do at the moment……

  44. Yeah, well the Yanks might be bullies, but tell me something new.

    What’s wrong with my idea of encouraging the Chinese to lean-on that little bastard in NK by quietly proposing to Beijing that, er, in the circumstances, you know……it would be perfectly understandable if their old friend, Japan, decided to go nuclear too? For purely defensive purposes and all that.

    I reckon this just might motivate Beijing to squash Kim.

    And that would be a win all-round:

    For the North Koreans (who could finally join the 21st Century, get-rid of a dictator and get something to eat, for a change);

    For the Japanese (who would finally get rid of a lunatic next-door and no longer have to worry about missiles flying overhead or their citizens getting kidnapped for a nice involuntary holiday in the People’s Paradise any more);

    For the rest of the World (who will no longer have to worry about WWIII starting-up on the Korean peninsular);

    For the Chinese (who will finally get rid of an embarrassment of their creation, while at the same time ensuring that Ghost of General Tojo won’t be paying them a return visit-this time with nukes-in the foreseeable).

  45. Evan, on May 27th, 2009 at 10:11 am Said: Yeah, well the Yanks might be bullies, but tell me something new

    Careful, Evan, you’ll have, Tom, over here accusing you of racist remarks, with statements like that!

  46. Evan, on May 27th, 2009 at 10:11 am Said:

    “What’s wrong with my idea of encouraging the Chinese”

    I don’t think they need encouraging, but they are probably looking for an opportunity to do it in such a way so that it doesn’t look like they are doing it at the behest of the US. I believe they have now been handed it.

  47. Interesting you believe Iraq and Afghanistan are cake walks?

    Nope, never said that. To paraphrase Neil, only right-wing dingbat could twist what I said into such a representation. My only point is that neither Afghanistan or Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that the way North Korea is being treated strongly implies that the US knew that while peddling the story to the public.

    Unfortunately your rationale neglects that little thing in history called WWII and that Japan/ROK might be on the receiving end, not us……..Sigh…….

    That’s right… because the USA joined that war after they were attacked at Pearl Habour. Before that they were isolationist, i.e. they thought the rest of the world should deal with their own problems. For someone so gung-ho about your countries military conquests – you are sadly lacking in hostory to back up some of those claims of yours.

  48. The USA and South Korea need to call the Norths Bluff on this or this tactic will continue to be used.

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25546060-23109,00.html

  49. North Korea now “officially” at war with us, again? They are now saying they are not going to abide by the 1953 Armistice. This could get ugly very fast……I can bet my former unit is on full alert, look out 2nd ID!

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6369797.ece

    http://www.nautilus.org/DPRKBriefingBook/agreements/CanKor_VTK_1953_07_27_korean_armistice_agreement.pdf

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