Offbeat North Korea’s dispersed and hidden weapons complex highlights the challenge of denuclearization

06:11  14 june  2018
06:11  14 june  2018 Source:   msn.com

Trump's goal of total 'denuclearization' of North Korea is a long shot

  Trump's goal of total 'denuclearization' of North Korea is a long shot Most people don't think North Korea will ever totally give up nuclear weapons, so Donald Trump may go for a limited agreement.Few observers of a decades-long standoff between the United States and North Korea believe that Kim Jong Un will ever completely give up nuclear weapons, and that is probably Trump's biggest challenge when he meets with Kim next week in Singapore.

Weapons factories — and the scientists who work at them. The list of what it would take for the “complete denuclearization ” of North Korea is long. It wouldn’t be hard to hide at least some of the warheads and radioactive materials in the country’ s vast complex of underground facilities.

Level crossing video highlights dangers. U. S . Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States is prepared to take actions to provide North Korea with “sufficient certainty” that denuclearization “is not something that ends badly for them.”

a group of people standing on a rug© Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post The warheads — at least 20 in number, and perhaps as many as 60 — remain for now in their bunkers, somewhere in the rugged hills north of Pyongyang. Until today, there has been no public pledge from North Korea to dismantle them, or to allow inspectors to see them, or even to disclose where they are kept.

Work continues daily in the country’s radiochemistry lab near Yongbyon, where plutonium for new bombs is extracted from spent fuel rods. Just across a small river from the lab, testing continues on a 20-megawatt reactor capable of producing nuclear fuel for scores of additional bombs.

Closing North Korea's vast nuclear program poses challenges

  Closing North Korea's vast nuclear program poses challenges An unknown number of nuclear warheads. Stockpiles of weapons-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium. ICBMs. Weapons factories — and the scientists who work at them. The list of what it would take for the “complete denuclearization” of North Korea is long. North Korea has said it’s willing to deal away its entire nuclear arsenal if the United States provides it with a reliable security assurance and other benefits. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File) 2/3 SLIDES © The Associated Press FILE - This Aug. 29, 2017 file photo distributed on Aug.

North Korea has had to resort to complex measures to undermine the effects of other UN In fact, given that the sanctions regime’ s stated goal is the complete denuclearization of North The official narrative is that the sanctions are in place until North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons , which has

Story highlights . Gauging the progress of North Korea ' s nuclear weapons program is a tricky business. But the United States has said that North Korea ' s commitment to denuclearization is the starting point for any negotiations between the two sides.

The facilities are among hundreds that exist across a North Korean weapons complex that has shown itself capable not only of making sophisticated nuclear and chemical weapons, but also of expertly hiding them from public view. It is why weapons experts around the world expressed astonishment Wednesday at President Trump’s claim that the danger posed by Pyongyang’s decades-long weapons buildup had been effectively eliminated — that there was, as Trump wrote in a Twitter posting, “no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.”

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While the U.S.-North Korean summit may have lessened the immediate risk of a war, the elimination of the North Korean threat is at best a distant prospect, according to weapons experts and veterans of past negotiations with Pyongyang. Such an achievement would require difficult negotiations, years of dismantling and verification, and — perhaps most important — a profound change in the behavior of a state with a long history of cheating and deception on its past commitments, analysts said.

Graham warns that Trump's deal with North Korea needs approval from Congress

  Graham warns that Trump's deal with North Korea needs approval from Congress Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday said any agreement between the U.S. and North Korea that comes from President Trump's meeting with Kim Jong Un should come to Congress for approval. "Not only do I want to see the details, I want to vote on them," Graham said on NBC's "Today.

The program is too advanced, too dispersed , and too valuable to the regime for us to quickly eliminate it through diplomatic or military means on Negotiations will also be an important component of containing North Korea and so must cover more than a single-minded insistence on denuclearization .

The destabilizing effects of North Korea ’ s nuclear and ballistic programs on regional and international security cannot be overestimated. In devising a response to the North Korean challenge , regional actors should remain committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

Hours after Trump’s declaration of victory at the Singapore summit, some derided the notion of a suddenly defanged North Korea as naive and perhaps even delusional.

“North Korea’s capabilities today are no different than they were a week ago,” said Robert Einhorn, a Brookings Institution scholar and formerly a State Department arms-control official under Republican and Democratic administrations. Einhorn, who sat across the table from North Korean negotiators during previous talks on restraining the country’s missile program, said the elimination of the North Korean nuclear threat had occurred so far only within a “parallel universe” inside the president’s mind.

“It is ludicrous that he doesn’t recognize the situation,” Einhorn said. “To him, somehow, not only have North Korea’s intentions changed, but its capabilities are going away. I think he’s naive on the intentions, and he’s wrong about the capabilities.”

North Korea Is Winning

  North Korea Is Winning A step toward a Korean peninsula united — under Pyongyang.Let’s speak plainly. If your only criteria for the Singapore talks is whether they decrease the short-term prospect of cataclysmic war on the Korean Peninsula, then Trump’s brief summit with Kim Jong-un is a success. It may also be very popular.

In exchange for giving up its weapons , the DPRK will receive concessions from the U. S . — including sanctions relief and security assurances. Timing will be key to any denuclearization effort. I am on my way to Singapore where we have a chance to achieve a truly wonderful result for North Korea and

43. Hecker, “ North Korea reactor restart sets back denuclearization .” So, North Korea ’ s forces would need to disperse and /or take shelter to wait out an attack but then As highlighted earlier, HEU could at some point provide North Korea with a range of options using relatively simple weapons .

North Korea’s only public pledge so far regarding its nuclear arsenal is contained in a 19-word clause in the joint statement signed by leader Kim Jong Un during Tuesday’s summit with Trump. In it, Kim vowed to “work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” a promise nearly identical to one that North Korean leaders made during previous international negotiations going back to the early 1990s. In that period, Pyongyang tested six nuclear devices and an even greater number of long-range missile designs, some of them capable of delivering warheads to targets as far away as Washington.

After Tuesday’s summit, North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said the country would “abide by the principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action” during talks aimed at achieving “peace, stability and denuclearization” of the entire Korean Peninsula. But the statement made no specific pledges about the destruction of existing weapons or the dismantling of the sprawling network of factories and laboratories for making new ones.

Russia says UN should consider sanctions relief for N. Korea

  Russia says UN should consider sanctions relief for N. Korea The UN Security Council should consider steps toward lifting sanctions on North Korea following its agreement with the United States to scrap its nuclear program, Russia's UN ambassador said Wednesday. The council last year adopted three rounds of tough economic sanctions on North Korea, banning most of its exports of raw commodities and severely restricting oil supplies. Asked about lifting sanctions, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters: "I think that it is only natural that we should be thinking about steps in that direction.""There is progress on the track that should be reciprocal.

North Korea ' s concept of denuclearization "bears no resemblance to the American definition," said Evans J.R. Revere of Washington-based think tank Brookings. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides guidance with Ri Hong Sop (3rd L) and Hong Sung Mu (L) on a nuclear weapons program.

The list of what it would take for the "complete denuclearization " of North Korea is long. It wouldn't be hard to hide at least some of the warheads and radioactive materials in the country' s vast complex of Closer to home, many analysts believe North Korea is able to mount nuclear weapons on

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a news conference in South Korea, acknowledged that disarming North Korea could take years to accomplish. But he said negotiations to work out the details of the denuclearization program could begin as early as next week, and he hinted that some specifics had been agreed on, if not yet announced.

“There was a great deal of work done that is beyond what was seen in the final document,” he said.

But many steps must be taken before — or at least in parallel with — any physical destruction of bombs and missiles, weapons experts say. For starters, the hyper-secretive North Korean government must produce a verifiable inventory of what it has — from the nuclear reactors that can be easily seen on satellite images to the underground bunkers and tunnels where U.S. intelligence officials believe North Korea’s most advanced weapons and research facilities are hidden.

After that, the world’s most reclusive state must agree to allow hundreds of foreign experts into the country to inspect each building and storage depot in the declared inventory, and at the same time to investigate dozens of suspicious sites that are not on the official list.

Those steps, when completed, would set the stage for the actual dismantlement, an arduous and technically demanding process that various studies have projected could take between two and 15 years. There are hundreds of known facilities related to nuclear and chemicals weapons and advanced missile systems, scattered across nearly two dozen sites in the mountainous country the size of Pennsylvania.

Pompeo was grilled by reporters about North Korea’s nukes. This was his testy response.

  Pompeo was grilled by reporters about North Korea’s nukes. This was his testy response. "I find that question insulting and ridiculous and, frankly, ludicrous."However, the two leaders did not announce exactly how they would do so; the document they signed, less than 400 words long, had few practical details about how North Korea would actually get rid of its nuclear weapons.

“The official North Korea statements are very clear that North Korea has nuclear weapons , they’re North Korea has failed to keep a number of denuclearization promises in the past, but observers note that Kim Closing North Korea ’ s vast nuclear program poses challenges . National Hill June 9, 2018.

North Korea believes that its nuclear weapons now deter the United States, thus setting the stage Meanwhile, North Korea is also developing solid-fuel ballistic missiles that would enable it to disperse and hide And with North Korea having rejected denuclearization dialogue and made clear its

While North Korean officials adopted a strikingly positive tone in the run-up to this week’s presidential summit, longtime North Korea observers have seen little evidence that Kim is preparing to take such dramatic steps. The only concrete moves toward disarmament were last month’s destruction of the partially collapsed nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, and the apparent dismantling last week of one of the country’s missile test stands.

Among veteran North Korea watchers, there remains deep skepticism that Kim will ever consent to giving up his entire nuclear arsenal, the singular asset that compelled a U.S. president to travel halfway around the world to meet the leader of one of the world’s most repressive and economically backward states.

“ ‘Zero warheads’ is not on the table as long as the Kim family rules in Pyongyang,” said Robert Litwak, a North Korea expert and senior vice president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington think tank. “Their long game is not to lose the short game — and that means everything they do can be viewed through the prism of regime survival.”

Other experts acknowledged that the summit probably did succeed in reducing the danger to Americans, at least for now, by diminishing the chance of a nuclear exchange with the United States. Jon Wolfsthal, an adviser on North Korea in the Obama administration’s National Security Council, said the coming months could yet prove that Trump’s unconventional approach to arms control was more successful than the efforts of his predecessors, at least in achieving a diplomatic detente with the notoriously belligerent North.

“The hesitation you hear in the voices of experts is, there’s a small chance that this time is different,” said Wolfsthal, now director of the Washington-based Nuclear Crisis Group. “On the other hand, we’ve been doing this dance with North Korea for 25 to 30 years. They’ve achieved a lot because of their nuclear program. It could be possible that they’re going to give some of it up, but it’s not going to happen in the blink of an eye.”

joby.warrick@washpost.com


Report: US to send caskets to NKorea to return war remains .
South Korean media reported that the U.S. military plans to send 215 caskets to North Korea through a border village on Saturday so that the North could begin the process of returning the remains of U.S. soldiers who have been missing since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File) SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean media reported that the U.S. military plans to send 215 caskets to North Korea through a border village on Saturday so that the North could begin the proce U.S. soldiers who have been missing since the 1950-53 Korean War.

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