Pakistan’s indirect role in North Korea’s nuclear program

Pakistani nuclear physicist, Pervez Hoodbhoy, talks to DW about his country’s “nuclear assistance” to Pyongyang, the relevance of the non-proliferation treaty and why the North should be accepted as a nuclear state.

Südkorea Raketentest (picture-alliance/NurPhoto/South Korea Defense Ministry)

DW: To what extent North Korea owes its nuclear technology to Pakistan?

Pervez Hoodbhoy: Pakistan did transfer centrifuge technology to North Korea.

It did not, however, directly contribute to the program because North Korean nuclear program is essentially based on the extraction of plutonium rather than the uranium centrifugation process.

When did Pakistan’s “nuclear transfer” to North Korea begin, and when did it end?

It ended in 2003 when Pakistani scientist A Q Khan was caught in the transfer of nuclear technology and subsequently all nuclear transfer came to an end.

It is unclear when it began, but it is possible that it started shortly after former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto came to power in 1989, so in the years after that it must have begun at some point.

Read more: Why Pakistan’s nuclear obsession is reason for concern

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy (DW/Shadi Khan Saif)Pervez Hoodbhoy: ‘In return for the centrifuge that Pakistan supplied to North Korea, it received so-called Dudong missiles’

Was Pakistani scientist A Q Khan the only person responsible for nuclear proliferation to Pyongyang?

It is very hard to believe that A Q Khan single-handedly transferred all technology from Pakistan to North Korea, Libya and Iran as it was a high-security installation in Pakistan and guarded with very fearsome amount of policing and military intelligence surrounding it.

Moreover, the centrifuge weighs half a ton each and it is not possible that these could have been smuggled out in a match box, so certainly there was complicity at a very high level.

But some military generals in Pakistan deny helping out Pyongyang because North Korean nuclear technology is a plutonium-based one unlike Pakistan’s.

I think that it is true the North Korean nuclear weapons are plutonium-based and this plutonium bomb is not the same as the uranium bomb.

Pakistan did supply centrifuges to Pyongyang, but the relation between the North Korean nuclear program and Pakistan is not direct.

What did Pakistan get in return for “helping” Pyongyang?

In return for the centrifuge that Pakistan supplied to North Korea, it received so-called Dudong missiles.

These are liquid-fueled missiles, which were taken over by the A Q Khan laboratory and were renamed “Ghouri” missiles.

I think they are part of Pakistan’s missile arsenal. These are not as effective as solid-fuel missiles, which do not need much preparation time.

So, certainly there was a quid pro quo. I think both North Korea and Pakistan benefited from this exchange, but not majorly.

Does the A Q Khan “nuclear network” still exist?

It is difficult to say that such network exists now. Pakistan’s nuclear program is now under observation and it will be very difficult to smuggle nuclear technology out of the country.

Fonte: DW

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Chronology of North Korea’s missile launches

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Fonte: Deutsche Welle

What stopped Japan from intercepting North Korean missile?

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The altitude and speed of Hwasong-12 would have made it very difficult to destroy missile in flight, while failure would have been embarrassing for Japan and encouraging to North Korea. Julian Ryall reports from Tokyo.

30/08/17

In the aftermath of North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile across Japan early on Tuesday morning, the Japanese government went to great lengths to reassure the public that it is taking all the necessary steps to protect them. In truth, however, there was effectively very little that the Japanese military could have done to neutralize this latest provocation by Pyongyang.

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SIPRI: Trends in world nuclear forces, 2017

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At the start of 2017 nine states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea—possessed approximately 4150 operationally deployed nuclear weapons. If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together possessed a total of approximately 14 935 nuclear weapons. While the overall number of nuclear weapons in the world continues to decline, none of the nuclear weapon-possessing states are prepared to give up their nuclear arsenals for the foreseeable future. This Fact Sheet estimates the nuclear weapon inventory of the nine nuclear-weapon possessing states and highlights some key aspects of the states’ recent nuclear-force developments.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)/EDITORS

Hans M. Kristensen is an Associate Senior Fellow with the SIPRI Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme and Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

Shannon N. Kile is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme.

See the full publication on: SIPRI 

An Indian Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile Test Failed Shortly After Launch. What Happened?

India will be looking to get to the bottom of what caused an Agni-2 MRBM to fail early in flight in user-testing.

05/05/2017,  Ankit Panda

On Thursday, India sought to test one of its Agni-II nuclear-capable medium-range ballistic missiles. The user-trial, which took place on Abdul Kalam Island off India’s eastern coast on Thursday, failed, according to sources who spoke to the Press Trust of India. “The two-stage, solid-fueled missile was just half a kilometer into its initial flight trajectory when things went awry. The mission had to be aborted,” one source noted. The Agni-II, first tested by India’s Defense Research and Development Organisation, has been a cornerstone of India’s strategic nuclear forces since the mid-2000s.

India has seen its fair share of missile tests recently, most notably with the Nirbhay cruise missile program as my colleague Franz-Stefan Gady has explained, but an Agni-II failing a user-trial may be a source of concern. At this point, with neither the Indian Department of Defense or the Defense Research and Development Organisation having made any comment or released any further information, there’s little to go on but the anonymously sourced comment. Still, given what little we know about this test and the Agni-II, there are a few possible explanations for what went wrong.

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The cause of the tension on the Korean Peninsula: a North Korean perspective

N. Korean researcher argues that the DPRK was forced to pursue a nuclear program by U.S. hostility

Kim Kwang Hak
April 7th, 2017

This article was contributed to NK News by the DPRK’s Institute of American Studies under the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. While it has been edited for content and to conform with most aspects of NK News style, the North Korean state media custom of lower-casing the first letters in “north” and “south” Korea – reflecting the view that they are legitimately one nation – has been maintained. 

Throughout the centuries the Korean Peninsula has been drawn to a vortex of the vicious cycle of the escalation of the tension year after year.

There surely exists a problem on the Korean Peninsula, which has drawn the attentions and interests of the world and also made a number of politicians, policymakers and experts argue over the “solutions” for some decades.

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Full text of Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s World War II anniversary statement

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The following is the official English-language translation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo’s statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII as endorsed by Japan’s cabinet on Friday:

“On the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, we must calmly reflect upon the road to war, the path we have taken since it ended, and the era of the 20th century. We must learn from the lessons of history the wisdom for our future.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, and wife Akie, behind him, pay respects at the grave of his late father and Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe in Yamaguchi prefecture, Japan, on Friday

More than one hundred years ago, vast colonies possessed mainly by the Western powers stretched out across the world. With their overwhelming supremacy in technology, waves of colonial rule surged toward Asia in the 19th century. There is no doubt that the resultant sense of crisis drove Japan forward to achieve modernization. Japan built a constitutional government earlier than any other nation in Asia. The country preserved its independence throughout. The Japan-Russia War gave encouragement to many people under colonial rule from Asia to Africa.

After World War I, which embroiled the world, the movement for self-determination gained momentum and put brakes on colonization that had been underway. It was a horrible war that claimed as many as ten million lives. With a strong desire for peace stirred in them, people founded the League of Nations and brought forth the General Treaty for Renunciation of War. There emerged in the international community a new tide of outlawing war itself.

At the beginning, Japan, too, kept steps with other nations. However, with the Great Depression setting in and the Western countries launching economic blocs by involving colonial economies, Japan’s economy suffered a major blow. In such circumstances, Japan’s sense of isolation deepened and it attempted to overcome its diplomatic and economic deadlock through the use of force. Its domestic political system could not serve as a brake to stop such attempts. In this way, Japan lost sight of the overall trends in the world.

With the Manchurian Incident, followed by the withdrawal from the League of Nations, Japan gradually transformed itself into a challenger to the new international order that the international community sought to establish after tremendous sacrifices. Japan took the wrong course and advanced along the road to war.

And, seventy years ago, Japan was defeated.

On the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, I bow my head deeply before the souls of all those who perished both at home and abroad. I express my feelings of profound grief and my eternal, sincere condolences.

More than three million of our compatriots lost their lives during the war: on the battlefields worrying about the future of their homeland and wishing for the happiness of their families; in remote foreign countries after the war, in extreme cold or heat, suffering from starvation and disease. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the air raids on Tokyo and other cities, and the ground battles in Okinawa, among others, took a heavy toll among ordinary citizens without mercy.

Also in countries that fought against Japan, countless lives were lost among young people with promising futures. In China, Southeast Asia, the Pacific islands and elsewhere that became the battlefields, numerous innocent citizens suffered and fell victim to battles as well as hardships such as severe deprivation of food. We must never forget that there were women behind the battlefields whose honour and dignity were severely injured.

Upon the innocent people did our country inflict immeasurable damage and suffering. History is harsh. What is done cannot be undone. Each and every one of them had his or her life, dream, and beloved family. When I squarely contemplate this obvious fact, even now, I find myself speechless and my heart is rent with the utmost grief.

The peace we enjoy today exists only upon such precious sacrifices. And therein lies the origin of postwar Japan.

We must never again repeat the devastation of war.

Incident, aggression, war — we shall never again resort to any form of the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes. We shall abandon colonial rule forever and respect the right of self-determination of all peoples throughout the world.

With deep repentance for the war, Japan made that pledge. Upon it, we have created a free and democratic country, abided by the rule of law, and consistently upheld that pledge never to wage a war again. While taking silent pride in the path we have walked as a peace-loving nation for as long as seventy years, we remain determined never to deviate from this steadfast course.

Japan has repeatedly expressed the feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war. In order to manifest such feelings through concrete actions, we have engraved in our hearts the histories of suffering of the people in Asia as our neighbours: those in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines, and Taiwan, the Republic of Korea and China, among others; and we have consistently devoted ourselves to the peace and prosperity of the region since the end of the war.

Such position articulated by the previous cabinets will remain unshakable into the future.

However, no matter what kind of efforts we may make, the sorrows of those who lost their family members and the painful memories of those who underwent immense sufferings by the destruction of war will never be healed.

Thus, we must take to heart the following.

The fact that more than six million Japanese repatriates managed to come home safely after the war from various parts of the Asia-Pacific and became the driving force behind Japan’s postwar reconstruction; the fact that nearly three thousand Japanese children left behind in China were able to grow up there and set foot on the soil of their homeland again; and the fact that former POWs of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia and other nations have visited Japan for many years to continue praying for the souls of the war dead on both sides.

How much emotional strugglemust have existed and what great efforts must have been necessary for the Chinese people who underwent all the sufferings of the war and for the former POWs who experienced unbearable sufferings caused by the Japanese military in order for them to be so tolerant nevertheless?

That is what we must turn our thoughts to reflect upon.

Thanks to suchmanifestation of tolerance, Japan was able to return to the international community in the postwar era. Taking this opportunity of the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, Japan would like to express its heartfelt gratitude to all the nations and all the people who made every effort for reconciliation.

In Japan, the postwar generations now exceed eighty per cent of its population. We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize. Still, even so, we Japanese, across generations, must squarely face the history of the past. We have the responsibility to inherit the past, in all humbleness, and pass it on to the future.

Our parents’ and grandparents’ generations were able to survive in a devastated land in sheer poverty after the war. The future they brought about is the one our current generation inherited and the one we will hand down to the next generation. Together with the tireless efforts of our predecessors, this has only been possible through the goodwill and assistance extended to us that transcended hatred by a truly large number of countries, such as the United States, Australia, and European nations, which Japan had fiercely fought against as enemies.

We must pass this down from generation to generation into the future. We have the great responsibility to take the lessons of history deeply into our hearts, to carve out a better future, and to make all possible efforts for the peace and prosperity of Asia and the world.

We will engrave in our hearts the past, when Japan attempted to break its deadlock with force. Upon this reflection, Japan will continue to firmly uphold the principle that any disputes must be settled peacefully and diplomatically based on the respect for the rule of law and not through the use of force, and to reach out to other countries in the world to do the same. As the only country to have ever suffered the devastation of atomic bombings during war, Japan will fulfil its responsibility in the international community, aiming at the non-proliferation and ultimate abolition of nuclear weapons.

We will engrave in our hearts the past, when the dignity and honour of many women were severely injured during wars in the 20th century. Upon this reflection, Japan wishes to be a country always at the side of such women’s injured hearts. Japan will lead the world in making the 21st century an era in which women’s human rights are not infringed upon.

We will engrave in our hearts the past, when forming economic blocs made the seeds of conflict thrive. Upon this reflection, Japan will continue to develop a free, fair and open international economic system that will not be influenced by the arbitrary intentions of any nation. We will strengthen assistance for developing countries, and lead the world toward further prosperity. Prosperity is the very foundation for peace. Japan will make even greater efforts to fight against poverty, which also serves as a hotbed of violence, and to provide opportunities for medical services, education, and self-reliance to all the people in the world.

We will engrave in our hearts the past, when Japan ended up becoming a challenger to the international order. Upon this reflection, Japan will firmly uphold basic values such as freedom, democracy, and human rights as unyielding values and, by working hand in hand with countries that share such values, hoist the flag of “Proactive Contribution to Peace,” and contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world more than ever before.

Heading toward the 80th, the 90th and the centennial anniversary of the end of the war, we are determined to create such a Japan together with the Japanese people.”

August 14, 2015
Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan

Fonte: Asia Times