Is North Korea our greatest threat to national security?

Newsmax 2013/02/12 16:00:00
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North Korea's nuclear test may be aimed at showing its foes it can deliver a missile with a warhead but it is still a long way from being able to threaten the United States, experts say.

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), an international monitoring agency in Vienna, said an "explosion-like" event that North Korea described as a nuclear test had a seismic magnitude of 5. This was bigger than similar tests it carried out in 2006 and 2009.

CTBTO executive secretary Tibor Toth said the action "constitutes a clear threat to international peace and security and challenges efforts to strengthen global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation".

North Korea said the test, which drew swift international condemnation, had used a miniaturized device.

The secretive Asian state is widely believed to be trying to develop a device that is compact and light enough to fit on top of a ballistic missile - "something that has long been considered out of the North's technical reach," the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.

A successful test would bring it one step closer to having the capability of building a long-range ballistic missile which could deliver a nuclear weapon, SIPRI said.

Nuclear proliferation expert Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London said: "It won't be possible to confirm from afar, but the claim of a successful miniaturized device is consistent with expectations that the test would be of a warhead that can fit in the nose cone of one of its missiles."

Jim Walsh of Massachusetts Institute of Technology said: "It seems as if Pyongyang wants to send the message - true or not - that it can employ a missile with a nuclear warhead and that previous problems with their nuclear tests have been overcome."

However, North Korea still had a long way to go before it could credibly threaten the United States with nuclear weapons, said Daryl Kimball from the Arms Control Association, a U.S.-based research and advocacy group.

"It is likely to be years away from fielding an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile), which could deliver a nuclear warhead to the U.S. mainland. There is still time to halt and reverse current trends before North Korea's nuclear capabilities become more substantial."

An international test-ban treaty was negotiated in the 1990s but has not yet taken effect because not all holders of nuclear technology have ratified it. The Vienna-based CBTBO monitors possible breaches, looking out for signs of atomic tests, including seismic waves and radioactive traces.

Experts say it can take days or more to detect possible radioactive signs that would confirm with absolute certainty that a nuclear test had taken place.

Seen as a cornerstone of efforts to free the world of atomic bombs, the test ban treaty enjoys wide support around the world. But of the five officially recognised nuclear weapon states, the United States and China have yet to ratify it.

"Though confirmation will take some time, given the seismic signature and the important fact (North Korea) has never lied when it comes to nuclear tests, I think we can take them at their word and assume this was the explosion of a nuclear device," a Western diplomat in the Austrian capital said.

Kimball also said the test was an embarrassment for China's leadership and Pyongyang may have jeopardized the aid and diplomatic support it receives from Beijing.

China criticised the previous tests but did not roll back on aid. But Beijing had signaled that if North Korea undertook further tests, it would not hesitate to reduce assistance.

"Indeed, Beijing could do much more to apply pressure. Past Chinese diplomatic and economic support has allowed North Korea to ignore world opinion, in spite of the desperate state of its economy and hunger-ravaged population. It is important that Beijing now demonstrate its last warning was sincere," Kimball said.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

NEWSMAX.COM reports:
Korea Sends Nuclear Message, Capability Unclear.
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Top Opinion

  • Mike 2013/02/12 16:43:03
    The powerbrokers in DC who do not follow the US Constitution are the greatest threat to our national security.

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  • Waruyi 2013/09/25 01:54:30
    There is a Chinese saying: 庸人自扰,which means “worry about troubles of one's own imagining ; bark at the moon ; all unnecessary fuss made by the simple-minded ; fight windmills”
  • Jerry 2013/03/13 23:00:21
    ....... " I believe any power hungry youngster, being influence by the powers that be behind closed doors, is definitely now a hot spot of Our World, ....... to say the least a small landmass country like North Korea, ....... fine tuning Their nuclear capability, and threatening to launch military rockets with long range nuclear warheads, indeed needs Presidential attention...... but I'm not referring to Obama...... if former President George W. Bush was still in office...... He would have nipped this in the bud, consulting with the Senate and House of Representatives, and also making an important trip to New York City addressing Our United Nations, about the threat, and what He, and the United States would do pin point military strikes, wiping out any work on nuclear weapons, make it clear do the North Korean Leader, that We mean business, remember in the Reagan Administration Our President did pin point strikes on what a New York Times front page photo showed one demolished facility next to one, still wholly intact...... that is what a President is supposed to do........ " not this numb nuts, Obama " and dummy Biden......
  • Idiot repubs 2013/03/13 19:52:01
    Idiot repubs
    Right wing militias are.
  • merlinskiss 2013/03/13 19:39:03
    Our greatest threat is 535 people in Washington that sheeple keep electing who have no clue on the Constitution or Bill of Rights.
  • Peewee ~PWCM~ 2013/03/13 19:12:51
    Peewee ~PWCM~
    We are our own worst enemy.
  • Murph 2013/03/13 19:10:23
    Liberals who vote for Democrats and RINOs.
  • Little Angel 2013/03/13 18:56:25
    Little Angel
    The biggest threat is our Government....
    threat government
  • HAlex1972 2013/02/22 06:59:47
    Maybe in 2003 when we were invading Iraq, but now our greatest threat to national security is the "security" afforded us by our own government.
  • andrea 2013/02/20 09:11:02
    china and arab extremests first.
  • Keith Raney 2013/02/19 05:32:49
    Keith Raney
    Sometimes I think that the U.S. will fall victim to self destruction before another country attacks. That's Just a personal opinion though.
  • always ... Keith R... 2013/02/19 10:33:48
    always in trouble
    You maybe right Keith???!!!
  • Theresa 2013/02/18 23:15:42
    They are a minor problem but hardly a threat.
  • All American 2013/02/18 23:10:07 (edited)
    All American
    I think Obama is.
  • sneekyfoot 2013/02/18 22:58:23
    Id like to test the NK boy leader out , make him drink barbeque sauge and give him a gasoline enima . Then I would light him up for a korean barbeque.
  • monkeyking908 2013/02/17 20:24:39
  • Scrappyang 2013/02/17 20:20:57
    Only on the list, but not top one.
  • Bite my shiny metal ass 2013/02/17 15:59:10
    Bite my shiny metal ass
    Im not afraid of a tiny korean midgit that dosent even know how to make a warhead.if they do make a nuke they would probally blow up pyongyang before any other city.
  • Dan 2013/02/17 03:08:32
    But it is high on the list, and rising. I have family in S Korea so I pay attention to the seemingly mentally disturbed government to the North.
  • Eddie Arnold 2013/02/15 22:28:23
    Eddie Arnold
    Our largest threats come from within our own country. I believe our biggest threat right now is immigration and anti-Americanism.
  • einlucid 2013/02/15 17:36:35
    Our biggest threat is our allies. For too long American taxpayers have footed the bill in foreign policy. It's time for our Allies to take the lead role, like France did in Mali.
  • Zepland 2013/02/15 17:11:49
    All our foes are equally dangerous.
  • Centrist_Bill 2013/02/15 17:01:41
    Glob Fly!! For those that dont know what it is:
    Glob fly
    A glob fly was a Klingon fly, half the size of an Earth mosquito, with no sting, that made a rather irritating buzzing sound. (TNG: "The Outrageous Okona")!!!
  • Kirby 2013/02/15 14:52:51 (edited)
    Our current president and his followers are a greater threat than this pip squeak!
  • republican 2013/02/15 12:48:18
    our own government is the biggest threat to national security.
  • Lena He... republican 2013/02/15 14:19:54
    Lena Helena
    Israel and to a lesser extent the Queen's Britain which is NEVER free from modern colonization - For peace in the world the Royal government of Britain should have the word WAR, OCCUPATION and ARROGANCE removed from its vocabulary.
  • Nudenz 2013/02/15 12:01:20
    Don't be ridiculous. The US is not the only Country in the World.
    As for N. Korea. It should worry more about feeding its starving population, rather than pretend it is a Major Military Power.
  • Dr. John 2013/02/15 10:41:07
    Dr. John
    The corporation known as UNITED STATES (the federal government) is the greatest threat to national security.
  • MichaelJ 2013/02/15 06:33:28
    Unfortunately in my opinion, our own President is the biggest threat to our national security.
    A nation divided can not stand and the President encourages as much division as possible for nothing more than political power. Sad.
  • Balladeer-PWCM-POTL 2013/02/15 06:28:47
    along with THIS guy...

    Obama Devastation  My Work here is Done
  • Marek 2013/02/15 06:19:53 (edited)
    No, multiculti and illegal immigration combined with welfare state and racial preferences is the greatest threat.
  • Che Guevara - Hero 2013/02/15 04:43:19
    Che Guevara - Hero
    North Korea can't even produce enough rice to feed it's own people.
  • ruru 2013/02/15 04:14:52
    Our muslim socialist president is the greatest threat to national security.
  • No Name 2013/02/15 03:49:19
  • Will Fletcher 2013/02/15 00:52:59 (edited)
    Will Fletcher
    They're the only country who threaten to test nuclear weaponry on "American soil" .
  • Lena Will Fl... 2013/03/12 17:16:00
    Will Fletcher - The technology they possess is very low key. The recent rocket was partly made by an individual! In a shed in the back yard???? Moreover the distance to the nearest point in the USA is too far for any device to be a danger, at the moment. To assume that the technology the USA possesses would not be capable of isolating their rocket/s is the stuff of dreamland. You have nothing to fear from N Korea, however it is the danger of a 'local' North Korean issue that might draw in the USA, that however would be a very dangerous escalation. Fortunately the American military does not share your misguided fear about a direct attack on your soil! Sleep peacefully pal.
  • Will Fl... Lena 2013/03/12 18:31:30 (edited)
    Will Fletcher
    I do not live in America so I have no real reason to "fear" them. Also as you can tell this statement was made over a month ago and my opinion on the matter has since changed.
    Also if they somehow did manage to acquire the technology and did decide to fire/test on US soil there would be very little the military could do about it. Yes the military are developing technology that could intercept a missile but it is still in development and has A LOT of bugs and issues making it highly unreliable. If North Korea fired multiple warheads at the US... well the results are not too promising....
    Finally do me a favor and don't call me a "pal" we are not friends in any shape or form and I would appreciate it if you would remember that.
  • redhorse29 2013/02/15 00:07:00
    Our biggest threat is from within. Be fearful of Homeland defense and the Civilian Army that is not loyal to the people but is only sworn to the agency and president.
  • Lena redhorse29 2013/03/13 23:15:21
    Wili Fi - I appreciate what you say, but the USA does have the technology and vast scientific know how to curtail any supposed threat. It will not happen. As for my calling you pal - OK I confirm that you are not my friend and in view of your touchy response and will never be. What we must avoid is a preemptive knee jerk reaction from the Hawks in the US military, although it appears not to be a priority for them at the moment, thank goodness. Continue to sleep in peace however.
  • golem48 2013/02/15 00:02:29
    The current regime in DC is..
  • susan 2013/02/14 23:27:43
    The greatest threat to our national security has, during the Obama administration, become an internal one. We are far less threatened by outsiders than by our own government.
    Our own government has now started conducting undeclared wars against individuals residing in other countries. We send drones into Pakistan, a nuclear-armed country, without the approval of that government, and assassinate our own citizens and anyone in their proximity. Can you imagine what would happen if, say, the Mexican government decided to come after some of its citizens who have crossed the border into the US with drones and killed them, along with who knows how many others?
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