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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

North Korean Nuclear Reach

Someone sent along this link to a South Korean news article on North Korean nuclear capabilities.  It quotes the Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency.
"The North may now have several plutonium-based nuclear warheads that it can deliver by ballistic missiles and aircraft as well as by conventional means," Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. "We expect the North will continue to test-launch missiles, including the TD-2 ICBM/SLV to refine their performance. With further TD-2 tests, North Korea may develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland."
So, not today, but perhaps soon.  The other think I noted was that the new Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).  She is quoted thusly:
"There must be a full accounting of these 20,000 tons of food aid requested," she said. "Lest we forget, in December 2008, U.S. shipments of food aid to North Korea via the World Food Program were suspended due to growing concerns about diversion to the North Korean military and regime elite and WFP's lack of effective monitoring and safeguards. Fast approaching is the 100th anniversary next year of the birth of Kim Jong-il's father, and there is the danger that aid provided would be diverted for this spectacle."
On the note of the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Kim il Song, someone commented, in another forum, that since North Korea is not bound by treaty against an atmospheric test, they might go for a two-fer.  Since North Korea craves attention from the rest of the world, they might try to develop a plan to fire a live nuke atop a delivery vehicle as a test.  As this commenter suggested, it would certainly refocus everyone's attention on NK again!  And, across the North Pole Lowell is not that much further from North Korea than is San Diego.

Regards  —  Cliff

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