For John, BLUF: North Korea closer to a useable nuclear weapons capability.
There will be a 9:00 AM Emergency Meeting of the United Nations Security Council today, to discuss North Korea's third nuclear weapons test. The North Korean News Agency said it was a "miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously".
To me this is the key phrase from the report in The International Herald Tribune article By David E Sanger and Chor Sang-Hun:
Preliminary estimates by South Korea suggested the test was much more powerful than the previous two conducted by the North.From a South Korean perspective that means that North Korea has an incipient nuclear capability.
The question is, what will deter North Korea from using their nuclear capability, or using it for blackmail by threatening South Korea? Are American voters happy to continue to extend a US Nuclear Umbrella over South Korea, given that North Korea has tested (a) a long range rocket that could reach portions of the US and (b) a miniaturized nuclear warhead that might fit on that rocket? Well, are the voters in Seattle happy?
Regards — Cliff