Why North Korea Wants Nuke Deterrence

Exclusive: The revelation that North Korea hacked into South Korea’s military secrets and found U.S. plans for a preemptive “decapitation” of Pyongyang’s leadership explains its rush to build a nuclear deterrent, says Nicolas J S Davies.

By Nicolas J S Davies

The Western media has been awash in speculation as to why, about a year ago, North Korea’s “crazy” leadership suddenly launched a crash program to vastly improve its ballistic missile capabilities. That question has now been answered.

Near the ceasefire line between North and South Korea, President Barack Obama uses binoculars to view the DMZ from Camp Bonifas, March 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In September 2016, North Korean cyber-defense forces hacked into South Korean military computers and downloaded 235 gigabytes of documents. The BBC has revealed that the documents included detailed U.S. plans to assassinate North Korea’s president, Kim Jong Un, and launch an all-out war on North Korea. The BBC’s main source for this story is Rhee Cheol-Hee, a member of the Defense Committee of the South Korean National Assembly.

These plans for aggressive war have actually been long in the making. In 2003, the U.S. scrapped an agreement signed in 1994 under which North Korea suspended its nuclear program and the U.S. agreed to build two light water reactors in North Korea. The two countries also agreed to a step-by-step normalization of relations. Even after the U.S. scrapped the 1994 Agreed Framework in 2003, North Korea did not restart work on the two reactors frozen under that agreement, which could by now be producing enough plutonium to make several nuclear weapons every year.

However, since 2002-03, when President George W. Bush included North Korea in his “axis of evil,” withdrew from the Agreed Framework, and launched an invasion of Iraq over bogus WMD claims, North Korea once again began enriching uranium and making steady progress toward developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to deliver them.

By 2016, the North Koreans also were keenly aware of the horrific fate of Iraq and Libya and their leaders after the countries did surrender their unconventional weapons. Not only did the U.S. lead bloody “regime change” invasions but the nations’ leaders were brutally murdered, Saddam Hussein by hanging and Muammar Gaddafi sodomized with a knife and then summarily shot in the head.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

So, the discovery of the U.S. war plan in 2016 sounded alarm bells in Pyongyang and triggered an unprecedented crash program to quickly expand North Korea’s ballistic missile program. Its nuclear weapons tests established that it can produce a small number of first-generation nuclear weapons, but it needed a viable delivery system before it could be sure that its nuclear deterrent would be credible enough to deter a U.S. attack.

In other words, North Korea’s main goal has been to close the gap between its existing delivery systems and the missile technology it would need to actually launch a retaliatory nuclear strike against the United States. North Korea’s leaders see this as their only chance to escape the same kind of mass destruction visited on North Korea in the first Korean War, when U.S.-led air forces destroyed every city, town and industrial area and General Curtis LeMay boasted that the attacks had killed 20 percent of the population.

In this July 1950 U.S. Army file photograph once classified “top secret,” South Korean soldiers walk among some of the thousands of South Korean political prisoners shot at Taejon, South Korea, early in the Korean War.(AP Photo/National Archives, Major Abbott/U.S. Army, File)

Through 2015 and early 2016, North Korea only tested one new missile, the Pukkuksong-1 submarine-launched missile. The missile launched from a submerged submarine and flew 300 miles on its final, successful test, which coincided with the annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises in August 2016.

North Korea also launched its largest satellite to date in February 2016, but the launch vehicle seemed to be the same type as the Unha-3 used to launch a smaller satellite in 2012.

However, since the discovery of the U.S.-South Korean war plans a year ago, North Korea has vastly accelerated its missile development program, conducting at least 27 more tests of a wide range of new missiles and bringing it much closer to a credible nuclear deterrent. Here is a timeline of the tests:

–Two failed tests of Hwasong-10 medium-range ballistic missiles in October 2016.

–Two successful tests of Pukguksong-2 medium-range ballistic missiles, in February and May 2017. The missiles followed identical trajectories, rising to a height of 340 miles and landing in the sea 300 miles away. South Korean analysts believe this missile’s full range is at least 2,000 miles, and North Korea said the tests confirmed it is ready for mass production.

–Four medium-range ballistic missiles that flew an average of 620 miles from the Tongchang-ri space center in March 2017.

–Two apparently failed missile tests from Sinpo submarine base in April 2017.

–Six tests of Hwasong-12 medium-range ballistic missiles (range: 2,300 to 3,700 miles) since April 2017.

–A failed test of a missile believed to be a “KN-17” from Pukchang airbase in April 2017.

–Test of a Scud-type anti-ship missile that flew 300 miles and landed in the Sea of Japan, and two other tests in May 2017.

–Several cruise missiles fired from the East coast in June 2017.

–A test of a powerful new rocket engine, maybe for an ICBM, in June 2017.

–North Korea tested two Hwasong-14 “near-ICBMs” in July 2017. Based on these tests, the Hwasong-14 may be capable of hitting city-sized targets in Alaska or Hawaii with a single nuclear warhead, but cannot yet reach the U.S. West Coast.

–Four more missiles tested in August 2017, including a Hwasong-12 that flew over Japan and travelled 1,700 miles before breaking up, maybe as a result of a failure in a “Post Boost Vehicle” added to improve range and accuracy.

–Another ballistic missile flew 2,300 miles over the Pacific on September 15, 2017.

An analysis of the two tests of the Hwasong-14 in July by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) concluded that these missiles are not yet capable of carrying a 500 kg payload as far as Seattle or other U.S. West Coast cities. BAS notes that a first generation nuclear weapon based on the Pakistani model that North Korea is believed to be following could not weigh less than 500 kg, once the weight of the warhead casing and a heat shield to survive reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere are taken into account.

Global Reaction

Awareness of the role of the U.S. war plan in spurring the dramatic escalation of North Korea’s missile program should be a game changer in the world’s response to the crisis over Korea, since it demonstrates that the current acceleration of the North Korean missile program is a defensive response to a serious and potentially existential threat from the United States.

North Korean missile launch on March 6, 2017.

If the United Nations Security Council was not diplomatically and militarily intimidated by the United States, this knowledge should trigger urgent action in the Security Council to require all sides to make a firm commitment to peaceful and binding diplomacy to formally end the Korean War and remove the threat of war from all the people of Korea. And the whole world would unite politically and diplomatically to prevent the U.S. from using its veto to avoid accountability for its leading role in this crisis. Only a unified global response to potential U.S. aggression could possibly convince North Korea that it would have some protection if it eventually halted its nuclear weapons program.

But such unity in the face of a threat of U.S. aggression would be unprecedented. Most U.N. delegates quietly sat and listened on Sept. 19 when President Donald Trump delivered explicit threats of war and aggression against North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, while boasting about his missile strike against Syria on April 6 over dubious and disputed claims about a chemical weapons incident.

For the past 20 years or more, the United States has swaggered about as the “last remaining superpower” and the “indispensable nation,” a global law unto itself, using the dangers of terrorism and weapons proliferation and highly selective outrage over “dictators” as propaganda narratives to justify illegal wars, CIA-backed terrorism, its own weapons proliferation, and support for its favored dictators like the brutal rulers of Saudi Arabia and other Arab monarchies.

For even longer, the United States has been two-faced about international law, citing it when some adversary can be accused of a violation but ignoring it when the U.S. or its allies are trampling on the rights of some disfavored country. When the International Court of Justice convicted the United States of aggression (including acts of terrorism) against Nicaragua in 1986, the U.S. withdrew from the ICJ’s binding jurisdiction.

Since then, the U.S. has thumbed its nose at the entire structure of international law, confident in the political power of its propaganda or “information warfare” to cast itself as the guardian of law and order in the world, even as it systematically violates the most basic rules spelled out in the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions.

U.S. propaganda treats the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions, the world’s “Never again” to war, torture and the killing of millions of civilians in the Second World War, as relics of another time that it would be naive to take seriously.

But the results of the U.S. alternative — its lawless “might makes right” war policy — are now plain for all to see. In the past 16 years, America’s post-9/11 wars have already killed at least two million people, maybe many more, with no end in sight to the slaughter as the U.S.’s policy of illegal war keeps plunging country after country into intractable violence and chaos.

An Ally’s Fears

Just as North Korea’s missile programs are a rational defense strategy in the face of the threat Pyongyang faces from the U.S., the exposure of the U.S.’s war plan by American allies in South Korea is also a rational act of self-preservation, since they too are threatened by the possibility of war on the Korean peninsula.

President Donald Trump speaking to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 19, 2017. (Screenshot from Whitehouse.gov)

Now maybe other U.S. allies, the wealthy countries that have provided political and diplomatic cover for the U.S.’s 20-year campaign of illegal war, will finally reassert their humanity, their sovereignty and their own obligations under international law, and start to rethink their roles as junior partners in U.S. aggression.

Countries like the U.K., France and Australia will sooner or later have to choose between forward-looking roles in a sustainable, peaceful multi-polar world and a slavish loyalty to the ever-more desperate death throes of U.S. hegemony. Now might be a good moment to make that choice, before they are dragged into new U.S. wars in Korea, Iran or Venezuela.

Even Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is afraid that Donald Trump will lead humanity into World War III. But it might come as a surprise to people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and parts of a dozen other countries already engulfed by U.S.-driven wars to learn that they are not already in the midst of World War III.

Perhaps what really worries the Senator is that he and his colleagues may no longer be able to sweep these endless atrocities under the plush carpets of the halls of Congress without a genteel Barack Obama in the White House to sweet-talk U.S. allies around the world and keep the millions being killed in U.S. wars off U.S. TVs and computer screens, out of sight and out of mind.

If politicians in the U.S. and around the world need the ugliness of Donald Trump as a mirror for their own greed, ignorance and temerity, to shame them into changing their ways, so be it – whatever it takes. But it should not escape anyone anywhere that the signature on this diabolical war plan that now threatens to kill millions of Koreans was not Donald Trump’s but Barack Obama’s.

George Orwell might well have been describing the partisan blindness of the West’s self-satisfied, so easily deluded, neoliberal society when he wrote this in 1945,

“Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage – torture, the use of hostages, forced labor, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not change its color when it is committed by our side… The Nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Here’s the bottom line: The United States has been planning to assassinate Kim Jong Un and to launch an all-out war on North Korea. There. You’ve heard it. Now, can you still be manipulated into believing that Kim Jong Un is simply “crazy” and North Korea is the gravest threat to world peace?

Or do you now understand that the United States is the real threat to peace in Korea, just as it was in Iraq, Libya and many other countries where the leaders were deemed “crazy” and U.S. officials (and the Western mainstream media) promoted war as the only “rational” alternative?

Nicolas J S Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.  He also wrote the chapters on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.

44 comments for “Why North Korea Wants Nuke Deterrence

  1. October 22, 2017 at 18:53

    NUCLEAR NORTH KOREA / ‘la drole de guerre’ (the phoney war) in 1938 ‘la belle france’ PM m’sieur edouard daladier & brit PM chamberlain accepted the unacceptable. allowing herr hitler to annex austria & march into the czech republic ‘sudetenland’, but no worries mate, chamberlain had ‘a deal with the devil’, returning fm munich waving a signed document claiming ‘peace in our time’. 6am 1st sept 1939 a massively militarized nazi blitzkreig crashed over the polish border (but, but what about our deal) history will judge the current ‘predicament’ as ‘gross negligence’ by the weak kneed ‘naive’ who still seek dialogue, diplomacy with DPRK, some even suggesting we ‘accept the unacceptable’ OBAMA turned his back & stuck his head into the sand for 8 yrs (blaming pres trump is childish, he at least has the courage to confront the ), how’s that worked out as kim jong un (rapid tech advances) threatens to nuke his neighbours & fire off ICBM’s into their air space on a regular basis, sanctions hmmn the hermit kingdom treat their own people like trash, this is a brutal, totalitarian ‘gulag state prison’, if you think a 70 yr ‘homicidally dangerous’ insane dynasty a.k.a KJU ‘gulag hate regime’ cult of personality is gonna wake up tmoro mng rehabilitated, found god, had a spiritual awakening, yer as much responsible as all the other enablers. “AN APPEASER is s.o who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.” sir winston spencer-churchill 1875 – 1965 …-

  2. October 15, 2017 at 00:36

    I do not believe there is a single Congressman who fears WWIII – they all think its coming and Trump is the ideal frontman to bring it on because it will go badly for humanity whoever wins and Trump at least (and his family if necessary) is expendable.

    So there’s a way of thinking for an American legislator that hints that USA can kill two birds with one stone, as it were. Nuke all the independent countries that still hold out against US imperialism and replace the peoples’ choice at home with an insider.

  3. elmerfudzie
    October 14, 2017 at 17:36

    Hank, my commentary did not intend to suggest or demonize the people of North Korea. Bad political decisions by despots and satraps ALWAYS result in economic disaster followed by all out war. This political reality is not dependent on professional styles of propaganda. Un clings to status and power that are truly not his to rightfully assume. His succession “to the throne” is based on the concept of bu the so called Paektu Bloodline (a theory of primogeniture and inheritable traits that assume qualification by genetic superiority). That premise, exited European culture along with the fall of the Hapsburg empire, circa WW I. This so called “distinction” sets him apart from political candidates who are duly elected by a democratic process?! Un is and remains, a very difficult pill to swallow at the United Nations, for what is now, three generations of incorrigible leaders, un-elected and greatly feared by the North Korean people.

  4. Hank
    October 14, 2017 at 12:45

    If one looks at the Korean War, there was total devastation to N. Korea. We are fed the news which always demonizes enemies of the deep state. Edward Bernays is given credit but I believe it has existed in human nature from human creation and perhaps our first cousins also had this issue (and I am not speaking of primates). Thus rumor and innuendo played huge roles in past wars in stimulating the masses to action. The Civil War is a good example. Realistically, North Korea is surrounded by enemies. China likes it as a buffer state but I doubt China would fight to defend NK unless it felt threatened by western hegemony taking control of NK. NK would be committing suicide to attack SK,Japan, or the US or China. Better yet: let’s blame it on Putin & Russia, Iran, and Venezuela.

    • October 22, 2017 at 19:23

      HANK clearly north korea are unaware of your beliefs, kim jong un & co gangsters wouldn’t be threatening to nuke it’s neighbours, least continental USA if they didn’t believe for a moment that china had their back, further ‘any’ other sane country would of course expect dire consequences for such aggressive threats. in the mid 90’s 3 – 4 million died from famine (mis-management) with a 25 million pop regime’s obsession with military & nuclear weapon / ICBM development has bankrupted what little resources they have with a GDP of angola. ask yourself what they do for a living, they’re living in a vacuum of disconnect from the real world, KJU scared to even leave the country, no more than a crime syndicate trading black market arms, drugs & before long minaturized nuke weapons to ‘le terroiriste’, blaming the current president trump ( childishly fashionable) but that shows little comprehension of reality, all the of the evidence suggests this outfit is likely to unleash their weaponary, the clock’s ticking down, ‘le tmps est compte’ time is of the essence …-

  5. October 14, 2017 at 01:36

    Elmer, what it is about is US hegemony – it will not tolerate any country (particularly, a non-nuclear, therefore relatively defenceless country – see Iraq, Libya) remaining outside of its domination. If that were not the case, the solution would be very simple – leave them alone. North Korea has offered to stop both its nuclear and missile programs if the US would foreswear its threat of first-strike annihilation and cease its twice annual provocative war games. Ditto in the Middle East. To defuse the “terrorist” threat get out of their countries. There is a reason why Central and South American countries have not been subject to “terrorist” attacks. They are not attempting to impose their will in the Middle East.

    • elmerfudzie
      October 14, 2017 at 02:28

      Jerald Davidson, I’ll re-post an earlier commentary to answer your concerns: In 1991, Bush the elder, began his Presidential Nuclear Initiative and withdrew tactical nuclear weapons from the peninsula. The following year, a Joint Declaration, binding both sides not to test, or in any way deploy or store nuclear weapons entered into force. The North ignored it’s public commitment and secretly continued it’s nuclear program. Non-proliferation and countries bound to the NPT failed to make the Middle East a nuclear weapons free zone and they will fail in the Korea(s). How can we, the U.S. withdraw our nuclear umbrella and suddenly adopt a foreign policy of neutrality? A new security alliance would require a comprehensive change that would necessitate an entire denuclearized region. What chance is there for a truly successful NPT or the fantasy of a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty? Sanctions, endless Security Council UN meetings, have come to naught, deterrence was and remains the only option. Our armed forces have a Mutual Defense Treaty with Japan and South Korea and we’re going to stick to it! Besides, even if the USA pulled out of the far and middle east zones, China and or The “new” Soviet Union (they merely turned their hat around from USSR to Russian Federation), would continue all the occupation(s), to intimidate, control, threaten and militarily dominate most of the second and third world countries for both financial and political gain(s). Perhaps you’ve decided, consciously or unconsciously, NOT to extend all the common human traits, and attributes also referred to as the seven deadly sins onto peoples of Asian or Slavic origin?

  6. elmerfudzie
    October 13, 2017 at 11:11

    On the technical side of this debate, a question; can acts of international terror that involve the use of dirty bombs be reliably traced back to North Korean Uranium ore? Is it unique enough? do our Intel agencies have the “signatures” down pat? Un openly boasts that he will destroy mainland America, was he hinting at smuggled dirty bombs? On the political side, the CCP and Xi have repeatedly failed to coordinate with the U.S. and plan for the day when the Kim regime falls. Un may suddenly vanish from the scene, natural death (he’s not well), by coup, or assassination..These questions came up a long time ago, during the Clinton years and have yet to be addressed. Throwing Washington a bone “sanctions” smaller versions of BDS against North Koreans firms and cheap rhetoric just won’t do. Now the U.S. is forced to move unilaterally. One of the best intellects we have on this subject, Davd Schambaugh suggests that truly effective sanctions against Un may cause his regime to implode, the CCP would not want this, it would likely result in mass migration, loss of control over the North’s nuclear stockpile and so on. This situation is a Gordian knot, the ongoing conundrum and if Xi refuses to summon the “darker side” (the Chinese Tongs and triads) to force Un to step down, then Un must be eliminated,….we all know this. It’s my impression that the Chinese have been playing cat and mouse with the Western Occident, using this crisis to get our cooperation on Taiwan and huge territorial claims regarding the South China Sea. In any case, our Naval armada has made a U-turn, arriving in the right place. In response, the Russians are moving a tremendous number of heavy armor and military troops to their border with the North. The Chinese too know our firm intentions, moving their mobile ICBM missile launchers to the far north near the Russian border. So much for all those talks, talks and talks, a lot of hot air exchanged at crucial meetings such as that MSC Core Group Meets (three now?) in Washington, DC. Beware world, Trump is a man of action and NOT talk. We are days away from Armageddon. The East , once again miscalculated and has “woken the sleeping giant”. For what’s it’s worth dear CONSORTIUMNEWS readers, this time it’s not about oil, currency disputes, corporate take over of a sovereign nations commodities and wealth, it’s about the danger of nuclear proliferation, terrorism connected to it and forcing all the “dragons”to arm themselves with nuclear weapons. As The president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte, recently said in public, it’s going to be a slaughter….

    • October 22, 2017 at 20:07

      last time i checked the russian border with north korea extends enormous 17 kilometres …-

  7. Robert Noval
    October 12, 2017 at 22:11

    Great work, Sandy—consider yourself forgiven for missing last Saturday’s Afghan war anniversary protest!

    • Michael flores
      October 12, 2017 at 23:31

      Protest? You want The Taliban to win?

      • Aaron Aarons
        October 13, 2017 at 00:42

        Speaking for myself, I want the leftist government that the CIA and the future Qaeda overthrew in 1991 to win. That’s not possible, but the worst thing for the world is for the United Snakes to win anywhere.

      • Robert Noval
        October 13, 2017 at 12:48

        Don’t transfer you monumental arrogance to me. It’s none of your damned business who “wins” in Afghanistan—that is for them to determine.

        I don’t have a say in the matter, so it wouldn’t matter who I want to “win”.

        My only legitimate concern is that the US military leave—IMMEDIATELY.

    • October 23, 2017 at 00:07

      i believe there’s a battle group parked off the coast of the democratic people’s republic of chosun, always accompanied by a non-disclosed extremely clever sub, how many hiroshimas does it carry, i’m sure there’ll be others better informed than i on such matters …-

  8. Michael flores
    October 12, 2017 at 20:57

    The US hasn’t had a single nuclear warhead on the Korean peninsula since 1992, a whole year before NK began making nuclear weapons.

    • Aaron Aarons
      October 13, 2017 at 00:35

      Do you really think the United Snakes has to have nuclear warheads ON the Korean peninsula in order to use them against the DPRK?

  9. Michael flores
    October 12, 2017 at 20:54

    This person ic calling Saddam and mama innocent…. the person is not sane.

  10. Dave P.
    October 12, 2017 at 20:17

    Mr. Davies on Senator Bob Cork’s recent remarks about President Trump leading the Humanity into World War III:

    “Perhaps what really worries the Senator is that he and his colleagues may no longer be able to sweep these endless atrocities under the plush carpets of the halls of Congress without a genteel Barack Obama in the White House to sweet-talk U.S. allies around the world and keep the millions being killed in U.S. wars off U.S. TVs and computer screens, out of sight and out of mind.”

    Yes. Right on the spot.

    Hearing Senator Cork talking on TV about this Russia-gate scam and Sanctions, it is pretty obvious that he is as much responsible for this mad rush to start new wars – and confrontation with Russia.

  11. mike k
    October 12, 2017 at 14:26

    President Trump has an ego that must win the acrimonious fight with Kim Jong In.
    The Korean leader is very unwise to provoke Trump the way he has. The whole idea about making America great again, is really about making everyone aware of how great Trump is. Kim is threatening Trump’s bottom line need to appear great, and this will force Trump to show he can defeat him – by destroying his nation. Trump’s idea of American greatness is that we should dominate all others – or else! His naive remark about why have nukes if you can’t use them betrays his inner mindset, and gives us all reason to fear the worst from this unstable man…..

    • October 14, 2017 at 01:22

      Mike, perhaps Kim Jong-Un is “unwise to provoke Trump”, but even a small country has its pride and must feel it has to respond to Trump’s bluster, maybe also to show his citizens he is capable of defending them. Iran is not trying to provoke Trump, but they are equally the recipients of Trump’s threats. Trump is the prototypical schoolyard bully, witness his behavior toward devastated Puerto Rico. He must be serving someone’s purpose.

      • October 22, 2017 at 19:56

        GET HONEST it’s trump’s fault, he is the cause, he’s responsible for ‘climate change’ right?, for the love of god grow up and extend yourself beyond petty politics, KJU & his father were making equally horrendous threats well before the current US admin, as i may have said elsewhere, to placate the eternal ‘victimhood’ NK position, to enable, to even ‘appease’, to sanction on steroids the DPRK who meanwhile go about business manipulate fool’s opinion and carry on ‘their own sweet way’ developing nukes & ICBM rocket delivery systems, before long probably in a position to provide ‘le terroiriste’ with minaturised nuke bombs, COOL …-

  12. David G
    October 12, 2017 at 14:25

    The account of nuclear reactor construction in the third paragraph above is confused:

    The DPRK’s source for plutonium bomb fuel is the breeder reactor they built at Yongbyon in, I believe, the 1980’s.

    The light-water reactors they were supposed to get under the 1990’s deal (the same type as all civilian nuclear power plants in the U.S.) do *not* generate useable plutonium: that’s the point of the design. Since the deal wasn’t completed, they didn’t get these reactors.

    After the deal fell apart (by U.S. choice), the North unsealed the Yongbyon reactor, though I’m not sure whether they are actually using it to make more plutonium — as opposed relying on existing plutonium stocks and their uranium enrichment program. I don’t think the true details of that are public knowledge.

    But it is a nonsense to say, as Davies does, that “[e]ven after the U.S. scrapped the 1994 Agreed Framework in 2003, North Korea did not restart work on the two reactors frozen under that agreement, which could by now be producing enough plutonium to make several nuclear weapons every year.”

    • Nicolas J S Davies
      October 12, 2017 at 18:22

      I stand by my statement that you call a “nonsense.” By 2007, when Yongbyon was shut down under IAEA supervision, it had only produced enough plutonium for 4 or 5 bombs. NK reprocessed more spent fuel beginning in 2009, but only restarted the Yongbyon reactor in 2015, and it seems to be running at a very low level. If it had restarted work on the other two much larger reactors in 2003 (one was a year from completion in 1994), even if it had to restart work on them from scratch, it could by now be producing much more plutonium. Wikipedia cites Selig Harrison saying that those two plants would have produced enough plutonium to make several weapons per year.

      • David G
        October 12, 2017 at 23:26

        Respectfully (which “nonsense” was not; my apologies):

        In the paragraph at issue, you connect the two light-water reactors that the U.S. was supposed to build or provide under the deal to future plutonium production if they were to be completed.

        That is factually false. It isn’t debatable.

        The key feature of the LW technology is that it does not produce useable fuel, which is precisely why those reactors were supposed to be substituted for the shuttered Yongbyon.

        Based on your reply, I guess maybe there were two other, unrelated reactors under construction which would have used the breeder technology to make bomb fuel. I don’t know anything about that either way as a factual matter, but the verdict of your paragraph being confused stands.

        Reread what you wrote.

      • David G
        October 13, 2017 at 00:16

        Since your reply to my original comment cites Wikipedia as an authority (leaving aside the oddity that a professional writer or scholar would so do):

        I have now read the Wikipedia article, “North Korea and weapons of mass destruction”. There is no mention of any other two reactors besides Yongbyon that were/are near completion and could make more plutonium for their bombs. Nor is there any citation to Selig Harrison whatsoever.

        This exchange reminds me of one I had some time last year with another ConsortiumNews writer: I had pointed out something in the posted article that didn’t quite make sense, thinking it was just a matter of hasty writing and a lapse in the editing, not that it reflected any failure of understanding on the part of the writer.

        But then he, like you, replied to my comment in such a defensive and seemingly obtuse way that it raised much more serious doubts about him in my mind than the initial, minor slip did.

        Brings to mind the old saying, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt”.

      • elmerfudzie
        October 14, 2017 at 10:45

        Nicolas J S Davies, supervision is indeed the key word here. Once the monitoring camera’s came down, the issue was handed over to the military. Without the proverbial “spy network”, satellite data won’t reveal much at all. No-one knows what’s really going on with the plutonium stream. I suspect that the Yongbyon reactor has been converted to a breeder. Their scientists may be tinkering with the Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) concept. In any case it spells trouble, for everyone, everywhere..

  13. Brad Owen
    October 12, 2017 at 14:24

    My sense of what is REALLY going on, based on readings from EIR: full-court press to remove Trump from office before he locks USA into New Silk Road Paradigm later this month in summit meetings with China (and Japan and SK), using one of three methods 1. Trump is an agent of Russian influence= high crime of treason. 2. Trump’s a dangerous racist/closet NAZI=shame him into taking the “Nixon Walk” outta town. 3. Trump’s dangerously unstable=”25th” him out of office. Pence can be counted on to follow the Synarchist script, perhaps unwittingly. Asymetric War is wanted by Synarchist Empire to break the last holdout to Global Empire; the Eurasian Quarter, and Trump’s initial (campaign) “threat” to make friends with Russia and China will completely destroy those Synarchist plans. Safeguard Trump’s airplane. A shootdown of it, and pinning blame on NK, will advance Synarchist plans of removing Trump and guaranteeing war at the same time.

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 12, 2017 at 20:58

      You know what Brad, because America’s Shadow Government and it’s Deep State enforcer know how to ‘play’ the American people, and Trump thinks he knows how to ‘play’ the people better because of his celebrity tv status, that the Vegas odds makers are probably having a ball fixing the odds. I sense the Shadow Gocernment will win, and that once again when it’s over we the American people will feel ‘played’. Seriously, I don’t see how we citizens win with this deceitful bunch…all of them Shadow Government, Deep State, Trump, and all the rest of it couldn’t fess up and be honest with us disappointed citizens for fear we’d hang them.

      If Trump were to begin a war with N Korea, well the carnage of his decision could bring him down mightily. And then the Shadow Government could proceed under any pretense to go bomb Moscow, if they so choose to do so, or better said, if the Pentagon felt lucky that day. My sense is Russia’s Defense Systems would disappoint the Joint Chiefs of Staff in America greatly, and then America would have wished it to like Russia would have spent it’s money more wisely like Russia did and America had built a better defense shield…but hey, when your global and you are the biggest why would that matter. The thinking always was, why waste money on a defense system when you will Bomb them back into the Stone Age anyway…hoorah.

      Trump is certainly making it interesting, now bore me please. Joe

      • Brad Owen
        October 13, 2017 at 03:55

        Rest assured nothing is at it seems, or as it is presented to us by MSM. Trump is not as crazy/evil as he is made out to be, and those people who want to remove him are not all that concerned about safeguarding our general welfare. A tremendous lot of lying is going on. I happen to believe people are not acting alone upon the World Stage, that Higher Powers also have a hand in our affairs (the ancient Greeks had it about right). WWII was crescendo of the Old Way of geopolitics and the UN was the inauguration of the New Way. It’s been a see-saw battle between the two Paradigms, but the Synarchist Empire is on the losing end of a historic Slow Paradigm Shift, and have been losing ground since Lincoln’s victory, through the loss of WWII by the Axis Powers, through the failure of the Synarchist Empire to regain its former colonies through Post-WWII guerilla wars, through the increasing discrediting of neo-liberal free market capitalism (FDRs dirigism was, and still is, the New Deal/New Paradigm), through the upset loss of Clinton, allied to neocon/Synarchist war criminals. Trump represents the first, though flawed, President of the New Paradigm Era, where Obama represents the last President of the old Geopolitical Paradigm Era. Higher Powers are orchestrating this Paradigm Shift. Such important work obviously cannot be entrusted to human hands alone, and we can’t see all the ins & outs of Their needed maneuverings.

  14. mike k
    October 12, 2017 at 12:45

    After reading the article linked to below, I have come to the realization that Trump is actually going to wage a preemptive war on North Korea. His public statements are a preparation of American public for this horrific blunder, which will be justified as a necessity for our national defense – which of course is a lie. Many of us here have convinced ourselves that this war is unthinkable and cannot actually happen. I now realize that this is wishful thinking. President Trump is far more insane and dangerous than we have wanted to believe. I think it is likely that this atrocity is now likely to happen.


    • Yvonne
      October 12, 2017 at 16:37

      President Trump, doesn’t make those decisions but his lunatic ravings serves their purpose. Oligarchy rules this empire as it does most of the globe.

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 12, 2017 at 20:38

      That was somekind of article by Finian Cunningham, mike. Sounds like us and England are going to war with N Korea. I won’t dispute what Cunningham has to say, but let me throw in this; that when the shooting starts, whether it be in N Korea, Ukraine, or Iran, that there is a fat chance this thing could go global, and quickly. One spark like N Korea would be a perfect time for something to go off in the other troubled hot spots of the world, and the ones I mentioned are just of but a few of the hot spots we should be careful of lighting too many matches around.

      Trump is to much of a tough guy to give into too much diplomacy. He seems to like being the closer who only gives his opposition but one chance. You could read into anything he says, in many different ways, but shouldn’t we be concerned of how the rest of the world sees his rude saber rattling remarks. Trump’s UN speech was a rehearsal for his appearing on the History Channel fifty years from now as his once being America’s Hitler. I mean the optics of Trump are freighting put in a context of evil filmography.

      Lastly by Kim Jung un playing to the fears and ambitions of his people, we should always remember that the N Korean people don’t get out much if at all, and their nightmare memories of what Curtis LeMay’s Air Force did to them is still a chilling and horrible thought for them to contemplate.

      The Korean Peninsula needs lots of talk and no bombs…..so stop it President Trump. Joe

  15. Karl Sanchez
    October 12, 2017 at 12:43

    Yet again more evidence that it ought to be called The Outlaw US Empire, and that it must be neutered as soon as possible before it can escalate its reign of destruction and terror.

  16. Zachary Smith
    October 12, 2017 at 12:39

    It’s my view that Mr. Davies has most of this wrong. As I’ve previously said, North Korea had plenty of deterrence without possessing a single nuclear weapon. When they got the nukes, the ONLY missiles they needed were short or intermediate range ones. It makes a good talking point to claim that the programs were “accelerated” because of discovering the plans to kill the NK leadership, but in my opinion that’s all it is – talk. I’m quite positive that those plans have existed for decades, and that NK knew all about them before. Killing off the opposition leadership is standard fare on both sides. Witness the Blue House raid staged by North Korea in 1968. This one failed, but it was a real attempt to murder the president of South Korea.


    NK is very, very close to joining the Big Boys in the bombs and missiles, and I’d wager that’s the reason for the current sprint towards the finish line.

    • Yvonne
      October 12, 2017 at 16:20

      I would agree that these plans were in existence for many decades and never fully acted upon. But the Geopolitics of the world are changing with alliances being formed outside of U.S. control. These alliances pose a major threat not only to its hegemony but also to its influence and its economic health.

      I very much doubt that N.Korea will give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

      • Zachary Smith
        October 12, 2017 at 23:24

        Given that North Korea has been working on nuclear weapons for over 50 years, I agree that they’re not about to halt the program. In my opinion they’ve gotten to be very adept at posing as “victims” of some stupid US government policy or another. I’m linking to a Wiki on their program. Yes, I know, wiki can be crap, but there are 206 references there too. Here is how it starts:

        The nuclear program can be traced back to about 1962, when North Korea committed itself to what it called “all-fortressization”, which was the beginning of the hyper-militarized North Korea of today.[17] In 1963, North Korea asked the Soviet Union for help in developing nuclear weapons, but was refused. The Soviet Union agreed to help North Korea develop a peaceful nuclear energy program, including the training of nuclear scientists. Later, China, after its nuclear tests, similarly rejected North Korean requests for help with developing nuclear weapons.[18]

        Soviet engineers took part in the construction of the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center[19] and began construction of an IRT-2000 research reactor in 1963, which became operational in 1965 and was upgraded to 8 MW in 1974.[20] In 1979 North Korea indigenously began to build in Yongbyon a second research reactor, an ore processing plant and a fuel rod fabrication plant.[21]

        North Korea’s nuclear weapons program dates back to the 1980s. Focusing on practical uses of nuclear energy and the completion of a nuclear weapon development system, North Korea began to operate facilities for uranium fabrication and conversion, and conducted high-explosive detonation tests.[17] In 1985 North Korea ratified the NPT but did not include the required safeguards agreement with the IAEA until 1992.[22] In early 1993, while verifying North Korea’s initial declaration, the IAEA concluded that there was strong evidence this declaration was incomplete. When North Korea refused the requested special inspection, the IAEA reported its noncompliance to the UN Security Council. In 1993, North Korea announced its withdrawal from the NPT, but suspended that withdrawal before it took effect.[22]

        I wish Trump wasn’t acting like a ******* moron, but that’s just another excuse for the North Koreans. I can’t deny it’s a really effective one.

  17. Nancy
    October 12, 2017 at 11:32

    Kim Jong Un’s actions are actually remarkably rational considering what North Korea is facing and has endured at the hands of the US. It’s just tragic that the hubris of our criminal government has damaged so many lives and has put so many innocents at risk.
    Thanks to Nicolas Davies for pointing out that this insanity has been going on since well before Trump’s bombastic antics.

    • Yvonne
      October 12, 2017 at 12:21

      Yes, excellent article. I also thank the member of the South Korean legislature. Now let see how the idiot Nikki Haley spins this.

      No wander they’re so desperate to censor the internet.

  18. SteveK9
    October 12, 2017 at 10:57

    Why wouldn’t N. Korea publish these plans or at least enough to remove any doubt?

    • Yvonne
      October 12, 2017 at 12:10

      Because it would only be labelled “fake news or propaganda. Better for it to have been leaked by South Korea.

      Regardless of the truth, I don;t see U.S. allies (the big ones, anyway) pulling out their backing. Especially not the corporate stooges in England and France. Besides, an Empire is like the mafia, there would be repercussions; and this empire is getting pretty desperate at this point. All is not going according to plans.

      • mark
        October 12, 2017 at 12:57

        Very right. The UK under May is getting its new white elephant aircraft carrier ready to join in the fun, once again playing Tonto to Trumpenstein’s Lone Ranger.

    • Praman
      October 13, 2017 at 10:53

      @SteveK9 – Because the world is not to know, and perhaps even S. Korea does not know, exactly what was in the 235 gigabytes the N. Koreans exfiltrated, whether the data were decrypted or could be, etc.

  19. David A Hart
    October 12, 2017 at 10:52

    Interesting thread by long-time North Korea watcher Frank Jannuzi:


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