North Korea’s Second Nuclear Test

| May 25, 2009

North Korea Test May26.png

News overnight that North Korea conducted it’s second nuclear test at it’s test site near Kilju, in the north eastern part of their country. Early indications are that the shot was between 2 Kilotons and 6 Kilotons, a larger yield than their first attempt where the result was a fizzled 500 Tons.

There are conflicting stories that this was a test of refinements to their 4 Kt design that they tried in the first shot, or a test of 20 Kt device similar to one used by the United States in World War 2. If it is a 4 Kt yield from a 20 Kt device, they are still a long way from having a workable weapon. If it was a second try at the 4 Kt Pakistani design, it shows that they got it right.

Neither option means that the North has the means to deliver such a weapon to the battlefield or use it. These tests serve two purposes for North Korea; a political saber rattling against what it rightfully perceives as a weakened and disorganized international community, and to prove to it’s sponsors that they are making progress on nuclear weapons. These weapons may have customers waiting for it in several countries and non-state groups who hope to have a nuclear weapon as a tool.

The test was carried out in the same area as the previous failed test, but it seems they dug a second shot tunnel into the north face of the mountain, as opposed to the south face used in the first test.

Imagery of the test area from a previous post to this site are here: Imagery Of North Korean Test Site.

As we have been stating since the 2006 test, the biggest danger here is that the belligerent posture of North Korea will nudge Japan away from it’s pacifist veneer installed after WWII. If Japan decides that there is no defense for Japan forthcoming from the United Nations or the USA, look for it to re-embrace the bushido culture and begin to re-arm. This would be a disaster for the world.

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Category: China, Geopolitics, Intelligence, Main, Military

About the Author ()

Bruce Henderson is a former Marine who focuses custom data mining and visualization technologies on the economy and other disasters.

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