Old playbook behind North Korea's new nuclear test

The path to Pyongyang's latest nuclear test followed a textbook North Korean strategy: escalating provocations accompanied by furious denunciations of annual South Korea-US military exercises.

In the 12 days since Washington praised Pyongyang's "restraint" and held out the prospect of early talks, the North has fired three short-range missiles, sent another one soaring over Japan and detonated what appears to be a full-fledged thermonuclear device.

"The hydrogen bomb test was a perfect success," an announcer on state TV claimed after Sunday's test.

While some western media delight in portraying the North Korean regime as irrational -- or even unbalanced -- experts say it demonstrates an extremely refined ability in calibrating and timing its actions to maximise their impact.

The fuse for Sunday's detonation was lit with the test in July of two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) that appeared to bring much of the US within range.

That sparked a fierce warning by President Donald Trump that Washington could rain "fire and fury" on the North, while Pyongyang unveiled a plan to fire a salvo of missiles towards the US territory of Guam.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un later said he was putting the plan on hold, but warned he could still give the order depending on Washington's next move.

The final countdown then began on August 21 when the United States and South Korea kicked off an annual military exercise called "Ulchi Freedom Guardian" involving tens of thousands of troops.

The North, which sees such war games as rehearsals for invasion, said the US would be "pouring gasoline on fire" by going ahead with the drill.

Its initial military response came on August 26 with the relatively innocuous launch of three short-range ballistic missiles.

That was followed three days later by the far more provocative launch of an intermediate-range missile over Japan -- a move that triggered consternation in Tokyo and the wider region.

Sunday's H-bomb test was flagged just hours before by the release in the North's state media of photos of Kim inspecting a "thermonuclear weapon" capable of being mounted on an ICBM.

More than 60 years after the end of the Korean War, the impoverished North uses the perceived threat of US invasion to justify its nuclear weapons programme.

The annual military exercises in the South always lead to a sharp rise in tensions, and the North's fifth nuclear test on September 9 last year also followed the annual war games.

China, under fire from Trump for failing to restrain its neighbour and ally, has pushed for a suspension of the North's nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a halt to the drills -- a quid pro quo firmly rejected by Seoul and Washington.

If the North's playbook for the latest test is familiar, there is a wild card in the form of the new occupant of the White House.

While his advisers stress diplomacy, President Trump has repeatedly raised the option of military measures to shut down the North's nuclear and missile programmes.

Chronology of North Korean missile development
Seoul (AFP) Sept 3, 2017 - North Korea appeared to carry out a sixth nuclear test Sunday, with seismic monitors measuring an "explosion" of 6.3 magnitude near its main test site.

Japan's government said it confirmed a nuclear test had been carried out.

Hours earlier, Pyongyang's state media claimed that the country had developed a thermonuclear warhead that could be fitted onto its new intercontinental ballistic missile, another brazen assertion of its weapons capabilities.

The official Korean Central News Agency said leader Kim Jong-Un had inspected a miniaturised H-bomb that could be loaded onto a missile -- although doubts remain over the veracity of Pyongyang's claims.

Here are key dates in the North's quest to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States:

Late 1970s: North Korea starts working on a version of the Soviet Scud-B (range 300 kilometres or 185 miles). Test-fired in 1984.

1987-92: Begins developing variant of Scud-C (range 500 km), Rodong-1 (1,300 km), Taepodong-1 (2,500 km), Musudan-1 (3,000 km) and Taepodong-2 (6,700 km).

Aug 1998: Test-fires Taepodong-1 rocket over Japan in what it calls a satellite launch -- the US and others say it is a missile test.

Sept 1999: Declares moratorium on long-range missile tests amid improving ties with US.

July 12, 2000: Fifth round of US-North Korean missile talks in Kuala Lumpur ends without agreement after North demands $1 billion a year in return for halting missile exports.

March 3, 2005: Pyongyang ends moratorium on long-range missile testing, blames Bush administration's "hostile" policy.

July 5, 2006: Test-fires seven missiles, including a long-range Taepodong-2 which explodes after 40 seconds.

Oct 9, 2006: Conducts underground nuclear test, its first.

April 5, 2009: Launches long-range rocket which flies over Japan and lands in the Pacific, in what it says is an attempt to put a satellite into orbit. The United States, Japan and South Korea see it as a disguised test of a Taepodong-2.

May 25, 2009: Conducts its second underground nuclear test, several times more powerful than the first.

April 13, 2012: Launches what it has said is a long-range rocket to put a satellite into orbit, but which disintegrates soon after blast-off.

December 12, 2012: Launches a multi-stage rocket and successfully places an Earth observational satellite in orbit.

February 12, 2013: Conducts its third underground nuclear test.

January 6, 2016: Conducts its fourth underground nuclear test, which it says was a hydrogen bomb -- a claim doubted by most experts.

March 9, 2016: Kim Jong-Un claims the North has successfully miniaturised a thermo-nuclear warhead.

April 23, 2016: Pyongyang test-fires a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

July 8, 2016: US and South Korea announce plans to deploy an advanced missile defence system -- THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense).

August 3, 2016: North Korea fires a ballistic missile directly into Japan's maritime economic zone for the first time.

September 9, 2016: Conducts fifth nuclear test, its most powerful to date.

March 6, 2017: Fires four ballistic missiles in what it says is an exercise to hit US bases in Japan.

March 7, 2017: US begins deploying THAAD missile defence system in South Korea.

May 14, 2017: North Korea fires a ballistic missile which flies 700 kilometres before landing in the Sea of Japan. Analysts say it has an imputed range of 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) and brings Guam within reach.

July 4, 2017: Test-fires a ballistic missile that analysts say brings Alaska within reach. Pyongyang later says it was a "landmark" test of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

July 28, 2017: Launches an ICBM with a theoretical range of 10,000 kilometres, meaning it could hit much of the United States.

August 26, 2017: Fires three short-range ballistic missiles.

August 29, 2017: Fires ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific, acknowledging for the first time that it has done so. South Korea says it flew around 2,700 kilometres at a maximum altitude of about 550 kilometres.

September 3, 2017: North Korea appears to carry out sixth nuclear test, with seismic monitors measuring an "explosion" of 6.3 magnitude near its main test site. Japan's government confirms a nuclear test has been carried out.

The apparent test comes hours after Pyongyang state media shows leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting what it professes to be an H-bomb that can be loaded onto an ICBM. The claims have not been confirmed

North Korea's missile launch: Why Japan?
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 30, 2017
When nuclear-armed North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan this week, it sparked international condemnation. But it also raised the question: Why Japan? Location, location, location It might seem obvious, but geography is frequently a huge factor in geopolitical wrangling. The Japanese archipelago forms a long string off the coast of mainland north Asia, so by definition, an ... read more

Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once
credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly
paypal only

Let's block ads! (Why?)

from Military Space News, Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defense http://ift.tt/2gAV8n3
via space News
Old playbook behind North Korea's new nuclear test Old playbook behind North Korea's new nuclear test Reviewed by Unknown on 04:37:00 Rating: 5

No comments:

Defense Alert. Powered by Blogger.