DPRK Resumes Nuke/Missile Programs
North Korea is continuing development of weapons of mass destruction(WMDs) despite world condemnation of last month’s failed rocket launch. The launch was a disguised ICBM test.
North Korea just may have a Memorial Day surprise up it’s sleeve planned for the United States! DPRK has been very busy lately.
Since the failed test, new satellite images show North Korea is continuing preparations for it’s 3rd underground nuclear detonation. It could be this weekend or later this summer around the 4th of July.
Other new satellite photos show North Korea is also building another new larger launch pad and rocket assembly building at its Musudan-ri launch complex.
That site is on the opposite side of the Korean peninsula from where the ill-fated Unha-3 was launched at Tongchang-dong last month. This development has possible Iranian overtones.
Reports have also surfaced that the United States sent a high-level delegation to Pyongyang, North Korea early last month in a failed last-ditch attempt to convince DPRK to abort their missile test.
A Memorial Day Nuke Surprise?
The Korea JoongAng Daily published a new DigitalGlobal satellite image captured May 9th, 2012 that shows preparations for a nuclear test are progressing. It is in an article titled, “Preparations for third North nuclear test spotted“.
The newest satellite image shows extensive work has been done since the last images taken in April. Signs of activity are everywhere. Excavating continues, using more rail-mounted mining carts than before. More roads are completed leading from the underground entrance. There is new building construction at the operations center and some mysterious ground scarring has appeared nearby.
U.S. envoy Glyn Davies still talks of a “serious miscalculation” by the North if it should proceed. Perhaps he and the U.S. State Department do not realize its a done deal.
The question is not if, but when the test will occur.
This writer speculates it will be this Memorial Day weekend or around the 4th of July this summer. The basis of the speculation is that in two previous missile/detonation tests, in 2006 and 2009, one was conducted on Memorial Day in 2006, another on the 4th of July in 2006 and another on the 4th of July in 2009.
New Rocket Launch Site Found… an Iranian Connection?
38 North, a North Korean watchdog site devoted to independent analysis of North Korea, published new DigitalGlobal satellite images, dated 4/29/2012, that show major new rocket launch facilities under construction. They are being built at Musudan-ri less that 50 miles from where DPRK is preparing their 3rd nuclear test.
It is described in an article titled, “New Launch Facilities Under Construction at Musudan-ri, Possible Iranian Connection“. 38 North is a publication of the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS (USKI) out of Johns Hopkins University.
The new launch pad is North Korea’s largest yet. The whole village of Taepodong has been leveled to make room for the North’s largest ever missile assembly building. No doubt, DPNK is building bigger and more powerful rockets to be ready by 2016-17.
Nick Hanson, an affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University has suggested the new vehicle assembly facility is somewhat similar to the recently completed horizontal assembly building at Iran’s Semnam launch complex. He suggests Iran and North Korea are cooperating with each other in the development of ICBMs.
A Failed U.S. Diplomatic Mission
ResetKBS news of South Korea, and Kyoto News of Japan both reported within the last week that the United States flew a high level delegation into North Korea on April 7th intending to stop the DPRK’s April missile launch. That was a a week before fail launch attempt.
It’s reported the mission was discovered when Japanese air traffic controllers turned an unannounced flight over to their South Korean counterparts by saying its destination was “Pyongyang Sunan Airport”.
When asked about it, a U.S. envoy said:
I don’t have anything for you on that… I am just not — I don’t have anything for you. I understand you need to ask this question, but I cannot help you“
– Ambassador Glyn Davies, U.S. State Department, 5/18/2012
Obviously, the diplomatic mission was a failure.
It is clear that North Korea fully intends to continue on its path towards WMDs and the development of offensive rocket systems to deliver them great distances.
The North still publicly claims they are not developing nuclear weapons. However, the latest satellite images and the results of the most recent diplomatic efforts prove conclusively that is not the case.
In 2006 and 2009 North Korea conducted both missile and nuclear weapons tests in close proximity. The ICBM test has already occurred and preparations for an underground nuclear test are proceeding at a feverish pace.
The United States has to come to grips with the idea that, no matter what, North Korea is working as hard and as fast at it can to build a nuclear-tipped ICBM arsenal. The U.S. and the world needs to plan on how to mitigate it.
The underground nuclear test may not happen until the 4th of July or later, but it will happen.
North Korea, however, just might have a Memorial Day surprised planned for the western world this weekend!