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North Korea ‘struggles’ to obtain advanced nuclear technology; Report

Despite its intended objective of amassing a powerful arsenal of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, North Korea looks to have a long way to go, particularly in terms of technology to miniaturise bombs, according to an analyst present at a state-run institute on April 27.

According to Lee Sang-min, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has publicly promised to accelerate the development of the North’s nuclear capabilities and has even threatened to use nuclear weapons if ‘any forces try to violate the country’s fundamental interests.’

He said that the North appeared to be struggling to get complex technologies, such as smaller nuclear warheads and ballistic missile atmospheric re-entry capabilities, and that the secretive regime’s nuclear development has thus far relied on very primitive technology. Despite reports of a single test launch, he determined that Pyongyang does not appear to have acquired the capacity to carry a nuclear warhead atop its Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile and strike a precise target.

North Korea lowering the limit for nuclear use;
Furthermore, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s remarks at a recent military parade have raised fears that the totalitarian state’s nuclear strategy is shifting toward using nuclear weapons for aggressive purposes rather than just retribution. Pyongyang hosted a military display on Monday night to mark the 90th anniversary of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army (KPRA).

During the occasion, Kim stated that if any forces try to violate his country’s ‘core interests’, his nuclear forces ‘would have to decisively execute its unexpected second mission’. Kim’s unexpected remarks, which signaled a change in the North’s nuclear posture, have world observers concerned that the threshold for utilizing nuclear weapons has been lowered.

North Korea’s nuclear doctrine has always said that in the event of a nuclear assault, it may retaliate by conducting a nuclear strike against the aggressor. Kim’s comments come three weeks after his sister, Kim Yo-jong, threatened to use nuclear weapons if South Korea engages in a military conflict with its northern neighbour, in response to President-elect Yoon Suk-mention yeol’s mention during the election campaign of the need for a preemptive strike if the North appeared ready to fire a nuclear-tipped missile at the South.


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