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KCNA confirms: Pudgy sets off a nuke
With double-plus good hand-wringing from the NYT. Nothing can be done, nothing we do works, so we might as well just go along and accept it.
WASHINGTON -- North Korea confirmed on Tuesday that it had conducted its third, long-threatened nuclear test, according to the official K.C.N.A. news service, posing a new challenge for the Obama administration in its effort to keep the country from becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.

The K.C.N.A. said the North used a "miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously" and that the test "did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment."
'Miniaturized and lighter' may not mean what we would take it to mean: a device that could be mounted on a missile. But I'll bet that's what the Norks want us to think.
Early Tuesday morning in Washington the office of the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., issued a statement suggesting the North Koreans were, on their third try, beginning to produce nuclear devices with substantial explosive power. "The explosion yield was approximately several kilotons," the announcement said, which was less specific than a South Korean Defense Ministry estimate of six to seven kilotons. That would be far greater than the yield of less than one kiloton detected in the North's 2006 test, but it is unclear how it would measure up to the last test, in 2009, which had estimated yield of two to six kilotons. By comparison, the first bomb the United States dropped on Japan, which devastated Hiroshima in 1945, had an explosive yield of 15 kilotons.
Six kilotons can still ruin your day...
The test drew a crescendo of predictable and ineffectual international condemnation Tuesday, with President Obama calling it a "highly provocative act" that demands "swift and credible action by the international community" against North Korea.
Really? Like what, exactly...
Russia, Britain, South Korea and the United Nations also quickly condemned the blast. The head of the international nuclear watchdog called the test "deeply regrettable" and the United Nations Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting at 9 a.m. in New York to take up the matter.
At which time the Security Council will agree that the test was 'deeply regrettable'. By the time they do that it will be time for lunch...
Preliminary estimates by South Korea suggested that the test was much more powerful than the previous two conducted by the North.
Since those two were, in essence, partial fissiles...
The test is the first under the country's new leader, Fat Boy Kim Jong-un, and an open act of defiance to the Chinese, who had urged Pudgy Mr. Kim not to risk open confrontation by setting off the weapon. In a relatively muted statement issued several hours after the blast, China expressed its "staunch opposition" to the test but called for "all parties concerned to respond calmly." And it was unclear how China would act at the Security Council meeting on Tuesday.
Did the Chinese close the railway at the border? Did they turn off the spigot at the State Bank? Unless and until they do those things, everything they say is for consumption by gullible Western leaders, diplomats and the media and certainly not an indication that they are displeased with their lap dog. The Chinese consider western leaders to be saps, and unfortunately they're mostly correct in that assessment...
The nuclear test, came the same day Mr. Obama is to use his State of the Union address to call for drastically reducing nuclear arms around the world, potentially bringing the number of deployed American weapons to roughly 1,000 from the current 1,700.
Good idea. Cut the number of American devices the same day the Norks explode their first uranium device. The world will get the message, you bet it will...
Even before the North conducted Tuesday's test, the Obama administration had already threatened to take additional action to penalize the country through the United Nations.
Like what, exactly...
But the fact is that there are few sanctions left to apply against the most unpredictable country in Asia. The only penalty that would truly hurt the North would be a cutoff of oil and other aid from China. And until now, despite issuing warnings, the Chinese have feared instability and chaos in the North more than its growing nuclear and missile capability, and the Chinese leadership has refused to participate in sanctions.
Said another way, the Chinese are pleased with what the Norks are doing and are simply being duplicitous in their relations with the West...
Suet Face Mr. Kim, believed to be about 29, appears to be betting that even a third test would not change the Chinese calculus, and later Tuesday, the North Korean Foreign Ministry warned of "second and third measures of greater intensity" if Washington remains hostile.
By which he means, if we refuse to provide food aid...
The test set off a scramble among Washington's Asian allies to assess what the North Koreans had done.

The United States sent aloft aircraft equipped with delicate sensors that may, depending on the winds, be able to determine whether it was a plutonium or uranium weapon. The Japanese defense minister, Itsunori Onodera, said Japan had ordered the dispatch of an Air Self-Defense Force jet to monitor for radioactivity in Japanese airspace. Japan's new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, told Parliament that the country was considering "its own actions, including sanctions, to resolve this and other issues."
If you want to resolve it, suggest ever so obliquely that your country may have to assemble and test nuclear devices of its own. That will get a response from the Chinese, I guarantee it.
But the threat may be largely empty, because trade is limited and the United States and its allies have refrained from a naval blockade of North Korea or other steps that could revive open conflict, which has been avoided on the Korean Peninsula since an armistice was declared 60 years ago.
It's an unfortunate fact of life, one that we've commented on extensively in the past here at the Burg: Seoul is within artillery distance of the North Koreans. The Norks do not need a nuke, they just need to threaten to start firing from the ten thousand plus tube and missile launchers they have aimed south. That, not a nuclear test, is what stops us from doing anything overt to shut down the Norks.
It may take days or weeks to determine independently if the test, was successful.
It already has been. There's seismic evidence. The South Koreans call it a six kiloton device. The world has noticed. The Norks have accomplished everything they set out to do.
American officials will also be looking for signs of whether the North, for the first time, conducted a test of a uranium weapon, based on a uranium enrichment capability it has been pursuing for a decade. The past two tests used plutonium, reprocessed from one of the country's now-defunct nuclear reactors. While the country has only enough plutonium for a half-dozen or so bombs, it can produce enriched uranium well into the future.

After the detonation, the K.C.N.A. news agency said that the test demonstrated that North Korea's nuclear deterrence that has become "diversified." South Korean officials said they were studying whether it meant that North Korea had actually used highly enriched uranium for bomb fuel, rather than plutonium.

No country is more interested in the results of the North's nuclear program, or the Western reaction, than Iran, which is pursuing its own uranium enrichment program. The two countries have long cooperated on missile technology, and many intelligence officials believe they share nuclear knowledge as well, though so far there is no hard evidence.
Other than the hundreds of Nork scientists and engineers in Iran, the extensive communications back and forth, the Iranian tech people in Pyongyang, and the complete cooperation on missile tech. Nope, no hard evidence at all says the NYT!
Iran is preparing for two important sets of negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations's nuclear regulatory body, starting in on Wednesday, and later this month with the six world powers seeking to curb its nuclear program.
Which will work about as well as the IAEA's efforts to curb North Korea...
Yukiya Amano, the director general of the I.A.E.A., which is based in Vienna, said in a statement on Tuesday that North Korea's action was "deeply regrettable and is in clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions."
Thanks for that Mr. Amano. What a hard hitting statement. Lunch?
He also offered to "contribute to the peaceful resolution" of the North Korean nuclear issue by "resuming its nuclear verification activities in the country as soon as the political agreement is reached among countries concerned."
Which will occur around the twelfth of Never...
The timing of the test was critical. It came just as a transition of power is about to take place in South Korea, and the North detested the South's departing president, the hard-line Lee Myung-bak. By conducting a test just before he leaves office, the North could have been sending a message and giving his successor, Park Geun-hye, the chance to restore relations after the breach a test will undoubtedly cause.
If Park is smart she'll reject that nonsense, seal the border, do everything she can to ignore the blandishments from the North and make sure her military -- and her countrymen -- are ready.
While intelligence officials in Washington and Seoul are jittery about the North's progress, there is still no proof that it has yet mastered the difficult technology of miniaturizing bombs so they can be fitted to ballistic missiles.
But instead of doing anything about it now we'll wait until the Norks have a basketball-sized device. Then we'll wring our hands, proclaim it to be too late to do anything, and blame George Bush.
But arms experts declared a recent rocket launching a success, suggesting the country was making advances that could eventually allow it to lob a nuclear-tipped missile as far as the United States mainland.
Posted by:Steve White

#9  On the other hand there are a few of us here that were prefix "5" at one time....
Posted by: Bill Clinton   2013-02-12 22:37  

#8  NO, it means that they got a weapon somewhere else, and set it off.

They can no more "Build" A nuke than i CAN.
Posted by: Redneck Jim   2013-02-12 19:26  

#7  still waiting for a good estimate of the size of the NORK nuke. Have seen numbers as high as 20-30 kT, but also lower numbers around 10-20 kT. Just the same - it's a serious amount of BANG an it means they've got their weapon designs working.
Posted by: Raider   2013-02-12 19:23  

#6  " ...A certifiably estimated 20-30 kiloton explosion" > Wehell its just NOT a 6-7 kiloton'er now is it???

It would appear that NOKOR's past "failures" weren't "real" failures after all, just POTEMKINIST FUN'NIN lest there be serious-to-catastrophic, Iran- or Hard Boyz-styled "workplace/industrial accidents"???




Yes, but IMO not in the way its being portrayed in the MSM-Net - all I'm going to say is that the situation or circumstance is more complicated than it appears.
Posted by: JosephMendiola   2013-02-12 18:45  

#5  How do we know North Korea even has nukes and doesn't just blow up a Chinese built one once in awhile so that we think they do? It would be pretty cheap insurance by China to protect their crazy little minion.
Posted by: rjschwarz   2013-02-12 14:36  

#4  by the way Rantburg - that photo is a classic. Brings back a lot of smiles :-)
Posted by: Raider   2013-02-12 12:30  

#3  thanks. 20-30 kT is a lot! They have "made the grade" with their bomb design. There's nothing screwed up with the technology if they got that kind of yield. Please post links - to any follow-up confirmations on size of the blast.
Posted by: Raider   2013-02-12 12:29  

#2  From Bharat Karnad's blog:

Officially, South Korean siesmic sensors read 4.7+ on the Richter scale, the US 4.9+, Japanese 5.2+, but the most reliable read is from the Russian station at Petropovlovsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula nearest to the test site with 5.3-5.5+ Richter. Petropovlovsk also has, according to this source, a radionuclide detection facility. While the Granite stratum of the Hamygeong test site dampened/suppressed the shock waves, the 5.5 on Richter translates into a certifiably estimated 20-30 Kiloton explosion.
Posted by: john frum   2013-02-12 11:21  

#1  Meanwhile, at the Situation Room...

Sir, do you know what this means?!

Yes. For the speech tonight, increase clenched fist hand gestures by 25%. If that doesn't work, begin plans to re-arrange the alphabetical order.
Posted by: swksvolFF   2013-02-12 10:44