How ‘isolated’ North Korea managed to build an ICBM that could reach Alaska
Video     Photos     Pakistan     World     Islam     Health     Crime     Islamic News     Business     Society     India     Travel     Middle East     Sport     sci/tech      Contact      RSS
Search

Shoe thrown at Ahsan Iqbal during speech

Zardari defends government for sending Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia

Pakistan could evict, rather than kill, militants: US official

Act now or face action in 90 days: FATF

At least 23 killed in multiple suicide bombings, attacks in Afghanistan

Pakistan: The royal playground for the Arabs

Can talks in Oman end the war in Yemen?

‘Don’t kill terrorists in Pakistan; get them into Afghanistan’

Saudi Arabia now opens doors of military jobs to women

Amnesty International demands Saudi Arabia to halt execution of 14 Shia activists

Israel suffers major setback in Syria

Another threat of surgical operations: Is India challenging China in the backdrop?

A weak denial: Is Pakistan hiding facts behind sending troops to Saudia?

Saudi regime faces certain defeat in Yemen

TAPI ceremony brings Pakistan and India closer despite LoC violations

Saudi enslavement of Pakistan

White Helmets Ready for False-Flag Chemical Attack in Syria

Did Nawaz seek Modi's help to rescue him?

Saudi Arabia using Israeli language against Iran, Senator Aitzaz says

Peshawar Zalmi take on Multan Sultans in PSL 2018 opening fixture

Democracy was harmed for saving a person: Imran Khan

Nawaz Sharif seeks confrontation in judiciary, Parliament: Bilawal

ECP dismisses PML-N plea, declares its Senate candidates Independent

48 million Americans suffer from hunger

South Africa to cut diplomatic ties with Israel

Is Shahbaz Sharif stabbing Nawaz in the back?

Ghouta residents ‘wait for death’ amid holocaust

Pakistan adopts latest IAEA’s protocols on nuclear trade

Pakistan Deploys 1,000 Troops to Saudi Arabia amid Yemen War: Reasons, Consequences

Religious scholars to assist IHC in election act case

Nawaz Sharif: A Victim of his own Dirty schemes and Avarice

Supreme Court bars disqualified Nawaz Sharif from heading PML-N

Nawaz Sharif disqualified from party leadership

Iran and Qatar launch joint chamber of commerce

Hindu temple opens in Abu Dhabi .. Why the UAE seeks to appease Hindus?

Sharif family is a master of lies, deceit and hypocrisy, says Bilawal Bhutto

Syria blames West support for terrorists in a letter to UN

US motion to put Pakistan on terror financing watchlist differed

Senator fears Pakistani troops could get pulled into Yemen conflict

Russia will continue to boost Pakistan’s counterterrorism capacity, says FM Lavrov

Why US not trustworthy ally for Turkey

We can’t fight war of others on our soil, says Khawaja Asif

Constitution more supreme to parliament, remarks CJP

China woos Baloch militants to secure CPEC projects

PSL 3 trophy unveiling ceremony held in Dubai

Pakistani troops in the kingdom: A sudden and unexplained missive

Imran Khan suggests direct Senate elections to avoid horse-trading

Does parliament need judges’ say to legislate, asks PM

Pakistan, Azerbaijan enjoy cordial relations: Afzal

Why does Maryam relate all thief references with Nawaz, wonders Aitzaz Ahsan

Interior ministry refuses to put Sharif family’s names on ECL

PSL 2018: All you need to know about leagues, players

Photo of four women playing board game at Khana-e-Kaaba goes viral

Details of troops' deployment in Saudi Arabia can't be revealed: Senate told

Australia, US, India and Japan in talks to counter China’s spreading influence

Khawaja Asif leaves for Russia on 4-day visit

The tourist, found her way in Mashhad

French Noha at Imam Khoi Culture Center on Shahadat of Lady Fatima (S.A)

Pakistan looks to China, Saudi Arabia for succour

Iraqi court sentences Turkish woman to death for joining Islamic State

Impending crisis stopped PM from banning JuD, FIF

Yemen war: Trial time for Saudi Arabia?

US Muslims raise funds to assist Florida terrorist attack victims, Families

People to take revenge of my disqualification in 2018 polls: Nawaz

Imran’s third wedding news confirmed, Pictures released

Sharifs assets worth Rs58m 18 years back, court told

Who will keep Asma’s flame burning?

Sunnis are assured of Imam Mahdi’s reappearance: Sunni cleric

Bahraini Regime Committed Some 1,000 Human Rights Abuses in 1 Month: Report

Iran plane crash: All 66 people on board dead, says airline

Martyrdom of Hazrat Fatima (S.A)

The Story of Hazrat Fatima (sa), daughter of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)

US meddles in foreign nations elections for 'democracy': Ex CIA director

Zardari retracts statement calling Rao Anwar ‘brave kid’

PM sanctioned troop deployment to Saudi Arabia for ‘advisory purpose’

Shoaib Akhtar appointed PCB brand ambassador

‘Bajwa Doctrine’ working well against American blackmail

No militant camps exist on Pakistani soil: COAS

DRINKING HOT TEA CAN INCREASE RISK OF ESOPHAGEAL CANCER

Cannot wait to lift PSL trophy in Karachi: Sammy

Are Young People Abandoning Facebook or Not?

What’s behind Iranian President’s India visit?

Abbasi decides to abolish Gilgit-Baltistan Council

Why Asif Zardari defended Rao Anwar?

Zainab’s murderer sentenced to death by hanging on four counts

The View of Islam on the People and the Government

Senate summons defence minister over sending troops to Saudi Arabia

Abbasi gives go-ahead to PIA, PSM privatisation

US security services express fear of Pakistan’s nuclear program

Myanmar ready to take back Rohingya refugees

Why Shia-Sunni Unity Is Necessary & Important? Ayatollah Khamenei's Opinion

Farooq Sattar backs down; withdraws from selection of Senate candidates

PML-N instigated me to speak against army, offered Senate ticket in return: Ayesha Gulalai

Kuwaiti Emir hails Iran’s role in war on ISIS terror group

Supreme Court issues contempt notice to Rao Anwar

US, UK joint efforts to put Pakistan on terror watchlist

Florida school terrorist supports Trump, white supremacy, hates Muslims

Hasan Ali doubtful for initial PSL matches, Umaid Asif joins as cover

PRESS TV | Takfiri groups, a creation of West to divide Muslims: Iran president

Supporting terrorists, main objective of US-led coalition: Syria

2017-07-09 16:08:59

How ‘isolated’ North Korea managed to build an ICBM that could reach Alaska

North Korea is a country in isolation, a place where most citizens don’t have access to the Internet or the means to travel abroad. In 2010, the New York Times described the country as a “ ‘hermit kingdom,’ so poor that there is almost no supply of concrete, bricks or window glass. People suffer shortages of rice, gasoline and even underwear.”

And yet. It’s been able to expand its weapons technology at an astounding rate. Earlier this week, it test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that experts say could have reached Alaska. How has the North been able to make big weaponry advances that experts considered a couple of years away at best?

The answer: North Korea has been developing its nuclear weapon systems expertise for decades. It boasts a cadre of well-trained scientists and engineers and a vast international financial network that’s both supplied the necessary raw materials and funded a billion-dollar weapons development program. And it doesn’t hurt that Kim Jong Un has made the nuclear weapons program a top priority, orienting his entire country toward that goal.

“When you have a strategic line, a single-minded focus on nuclear and economic development, and you’re able to politically mobilize and entire state infrastructure to that end, it provides a lot of potential momentum,” said Scott A. Snyder, a North Korea expert and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “That’s what Kim Jong Un has done.”

When North Korea first launched its missile development program, its strategy was to buy old Soviet missiles from third parties such as Egypt and Syria, said John Schilling, a North Korea expert and aerospace engineer who contributes to 38 North, a website devoted to events concerning North Korea. Once the North Korean engineers had the old missiles, they reverse-engineered them so that they could produce their own copies.

The country imported experience too, Schilling says. As the Soviet Union neared collapse, North Korea hired Russian engineers who weren’t being paid at home. It brought them to Pyongyang to both work directly on North Korean programs and train North Koreans.

North Korea also had relationships with Iran and Pakistan, Schilling said. “Initially, these seem to have been one-way affairs — North Korea sold Iran missiles to use in their war with Iraq, and Pakistan (or at least A.Q. Khan) sold nuclear technology to North Korea,” he wrote in an email. “But as all three nations developed their skills, this turned into more of an equal partnership with information and technology flowing between all three nations.” (Abdul Qadeer Khan is the founder of Pakistan’s uranium-enrichment program and has been accused of aiding the proliferation of nuclear weapons in other countries. )

At first, these efforts led to some trial and a lot of error. Not so anymore. Today, the regime is “much more efficient and effective” at producing weapons in-house, said Ken Gause, a North Korea expert at the Center for Naval Analyses. “They’re not making the same mistakes over and over again.”

Indeed, Schilling said that North Korea is mostly able to build its rockets in-house. “They do still need to import some specialized parts and components, particularly electronics, but this is done mostly on a black- or grey-market basis,” he wrote. And it’s not hard. “It doesn’t need to be done on a large scale, and it doesn’t need anyone else’s active collaboration, so it would be very difficult to stop,” he said.

The country’s speedy weapons development in the past few years, Snyder said, can be attributed to Kim.

Kim Jong Il, Kim’s father, initially developed the nuclear weapons program. But it wasn’t an overriding priority, Snyder says, and it moved at a “plodding pace.” When the younger Kim assumed power, Snyder said he “stepped on the gas pedal,” making missile development his top priority. That’s in part a political calculation — Kim was young when he took over the country, and untested. The program was a source of domestic legitimization. It also helped Kim counter the perception that North Korea is vulnerable internationally, a weak state surrounded by strong states.

Kim sees an ability to strike with nuclear weapons as the key to his legitimacy. All of which makes slowing the program down at this point a nearly impossible aim. “If North Korea wants a nuclear program, North Korea is gonna get one,” Gause said. “And we’re gonna have to live with it.”

 

Of course, there are still some hurdles the country needs to overcome.

Right now, its strongest warhead can detonate at about 20 kilotons, similar to the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Reaching the abilities of an American missile warhead (which yield 100 to 475 kilotons) will require “fundamentally new designs,” Schilling said. That’s still a couple of years away, he predicts.

The country has also so far failed to show that it can fit a nuclear warhead into a missile. But that doesn’t bring Schilling much comfort.

“Every nation with North Korea’s level of demonstrated expertise in nuclear weapons development has at least been able to fit their low-yield nuclear warheads into missiles,” he wrote. North Korea has published mock-ups of how it would do it, and Schilling calls them “plausible.” He also notes that very few countries have actually demonstrated that their missiles and warheads work together. 

Even the United States and Russia have done it only a handful of times. “Mostly, nations test their missiles and warheads separately and trust that they will work when brought together,” he wrote. “If the North Koreans felt compelled to put one of their warheads on one of their missiles and fire it tomorrow, odds are it would work.”

Amanda Erickson

Categories:   World ،
Tags:   US ، North Korea ، South Korea ، Alaska ، Kim Jon Ung ،
From other agencies (RSS Reader)