Skip to content

North Korea Continues Its Nuclear Testing Spree

Dr Roshan Writes: North Korea claims that it has successfully conducted miniaturised hydrogen bomb test on Wednesday, 06 January, 2016 at P’unggye-yok, in the east of the country, near the town of Kilju.

Dr Roshan Writes: North Korea claims that it has successfully conducted miniaturised hydrogen bomb test on Wednesday, 06 January, 2016 at P’unggye-yok,  in the east of the country, near the town of Kilju. This was the fourth test conducted in the past few years, the last test was conducted in 2013.While it was expected that the North Koreans might go in for another test but the hydrogen bomb is indeed a surprise. There are like in the past, lot of skepticism, as far as the thermonuclear tests are concerned. The South Koreans are skeptical of this as they believe that the yield this time is also similar to  last times of about 6-7 Kilotons. “Given the scale, it is hard to believe this is a real hydrogen bomb,” said Yang Uk, a senior research fellow at the Korea Defence and Security Forum[1].  Another expert Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security organisation, thinks that “They could have tested some middle stage kind (of device) between an A-bomb and H-bomb, but unless they come up with any clear evidence, it is difficult to trust their claim[2].” In 2013 the North Koreans had claimed that they had the technology to miniaturize the nuclear device but at that time experts were skeptical about the claim.  Later on the North Koreans restarted their plutonium and highly enriched Uranium fascilities at Yongbyon .The repeated tests are a cause of concern as it gives them the confidence to miniaturize the device which would eventually be put on the ground launched missiles which can then target South Korea and Japan, thus impacting the strategic balance in South East Asia, and if they are able to put it on the ICBMs then the US might be in the radar which at the moment does not seem to be a probability. However; their nuclear inventory is constantly growing, as of now it is believed that North Korea has somewhere between 10-15 nuclear bombs but if the situation is not salvaged then it might grow at a faster pace creating further problems for its neighbours.

As usual all the major countries have condemned the attack, and the future of the six party talks, once again would be put on the back burner. Sanctions had already been imposed on the North Koreans but clearly this did not have the desired result. US has vehemently condemned the tests, and it seems that they do not know how to tackle this problem, as sanctions have clearly failed so what other options do they have? China and Russia have also condemned the tests. Russians had improved their relations with the   North Koreans and in all probability they would just continue with some verbal comdemmenations. This leaves us to see how   China which is the most important country as far as North Korea is concerned will react to this situation, because it has the most leverage and the capabilities to control North Korea . Though the Chinese refute this fact and shows their helplessness in controlling them. This may be because for the Chinese more than the nuclear issues it is the instability in North Korea which will be a cause of concern. They had also recently started improving their relations with them, when they had sent Liu Yunshan, to North Korea in October 2015. So until the countries unite a practical solution to this problem will remain elusive. This also puts a blow on the optimists in South Korea  who believes that with time they would be able to bridge the gap between the two sides, but  the North Korean obsession with nuclear bomb  would further increases the chasm  and the possibility of a dream cum true  Korean unification that much more difficult.

End Notes

 

[1] North Korea Succesfully conducts First Hydrogen Bomb Test,Reuters at http://in.reuters.com/article/northkorea-nuclear-test-idINKBN0UK0AO20160106

[2] Ibid

1065 Total Views 2 Views Today