On April 4th, Ri Tong-il, North Korea’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, announced Pyongyang’s threat to “carry out a new form of nuclear test”, the fourth, according to some accounts (the fifth according to FreedmanReport proprietary sources). The timetable was uncertain, although the proximity of the announcement to President Barack Obama’s visit to Asia hardly seemed accidental.
According to our sources, the “new form of nuclear test” will incorporate multiple warheads and will provide valuable information for their development of MIRVs delivery system for the nuclear payload. (MIRVs are offensive ballistic missile systems that can support multiple warheads, each of which can be aimed at an independent target, but are all launched by a single booster rocket. North Korean/Iranian MIRVs can carry five warheads, three of which may be nuclear.)
The website 38north.org, which monitors North Korea, reports, “Imagery from April 23, 2014 shows: Increased movement of vehicles and materials near what are believed to be the entrances to two completed test tunnels in the South Portal area.”
On Friday, April 25, new intelligence from FreedmanReport sources confirmed that the tunnels at the Punggye-re Nuclear test site had been sealed, indicating that the blast may be imminent. As Obama’s visit to Southeast Asia continues, it is still possible that this test of at least two missile-type nuclear warheads could happen at any time.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un, is a megalomaniac and probably certifiable, making him a dangerous man to have his finger on the nuclear trigger. What is even more alarming is his close relationship with Iran, and the joint nuclear program that they have embarked on together. As we reported earlier (see here and here), they have been collaborating on the development of advanced MIRV delivery systems for nuclear warheads, as well as on a plutonium bomb. The Iranian government moved these parts of its nuclear development program to from Iran to North Korea in December 2012, in order to avoid detection by the UN inspectors.
The nuclear test which North Korea announced most recently is likely, according to sources, to be at least 100 kt and perhaps as large as 300 kt. That will make it large enough to be noticed by seismic sensors and reported worldwide. But because of their unique construction of the blast chamber, with lateral tunnels to deflect the force of the blast, the test will create a smaller blast footprint.Test results, as recorded by the US, south Korea, and Japan, among others, will therefore be skewed, providing inaccurate information. The North Koreans and Iranians, however, will be able to use their own data in their development of the MIRV delivery platform.
Clearly Kim is not interested in keeping this nuclear test a secret. With his targets on South Korea and Japan, and Iran’s sites set on Israel and the West (including, most specifically, the United States) the stakes couldn’t be higher. In the hands of the insane leaders of North Korea and Iran, nuclear weapons put the entire world at risk.
The growing perceptions abroad of America as a weak actor in the international arena has emboldened our enemies far beyond what is acceptable. It is long overdue for President Obama to assume the mantle of real leadership in international affairs, and lead the world instead of following it and waiting for consensus. It his his responsibility to live up to his promise to America and Israel, to ensure that neither North Korea nor Iran gets to use these terrible weapons against those whom they have designated as their enemies.