News / Asia

    Experts Warn of Further Provocations by North Korea

    FILE - People look at a map of the border area between North and South Koreas at the Imjingak Pavilion near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.
    FILE - People look at a map of the border area between North and South Koreas at the Imjingak Pavilion near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.

    North Korea could take further provocative actions after the latest nuclear test that drew strong protests from the international community, experts in Seoul warned.

    With its fourth nuclear test, the communist country is likely to accelerate its effort to seek the status of a nuclear-armed state, experts said. Washington reaffirmed its position that it would not give Pyongyang such a recognition.

    “We do not and will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state, and actions such as this latest test only strengthen our resolve,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a statement after the test.

    Kim Tae-woo, a nuclear expert who specializes in the North Korean nuclear issue, said Pyongyang will pursue its longstanding demand for a peace treaty with Washington while keeping nuclear weapons.

    Nuclear-armed state

    “North Korea wants the nuclear recognition without joining the NPT,” said Kim in reference to an international treaty aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and related technology.

    “The peace treaty that they are seeking is an attempt to withdraw U.S. forces from South Korea,” Kim added.

    Last week, Pyongyang offered to halt nuclear tests in return for an end to joint military exercises between Washington and Seoul and a peace treaty with Washington.

    Some warned Pyongyang could conduct a long-range rocket launch or another submarine-launched ballistic missile test in response to fresh sanctions by the United Nations Security Council.

    Existing U.N. sanctions ban Pyongyang from conducting any launches using ballistic missile technology.

    Jeon Ok-hyun, a former senior official with South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, said North Korea’s provocations against South Korea is also a possibility.

    “North Korea’s provocations could come in various forms, including cyberattacks and military actions,” said the former intelligence official.

    Internal politics

    A senior South Korean official, who asked to remain anonymous, said Pyongyang’s internal politics could aggravate the situation, citing the absence of Jang Song Thaek and Kim Yang Gon.

    Jang, Kim Jong Un’s uncle, was executed in late 2013. Kim Yang Gon, Pyongyang’s top official on Seoul, died in a mysterious traffic accident last month. Jang and Kim were known as moderates.

    With both gone, Pyongyang is likely to harden its stance on Seoul, according to the official.

    The official warned Pyongyang could respond to Seoul’s resumption of propaganda loudspeaker broadcasts militarily, which could trigger a military confrontation between the two sides.

    Nam Seong-wook, former president of the Institute for National Security Strategy, a research institute run by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, expected Pyongyang to take a “low-key approach” toward Seoul for the time being.

    Focus on internal matters

    Instead, Pyongyang is likely to focus on internal matters in an attempt to solidify internal support for Kim Jong Un in anticipation of a major party gathering in May. The nuclear test is being touted as Kim’s achievement in North Korea, according to Nam.

    On Tuesday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye called for “strong and effective” measures in the U.N. Security Council in response to North Korea’s nuclear test.

    Park warned a failure to take action would send a wrong signal to Pyongyang.

    Park’s warning came amid a flurry of diplomatic activities by the United States, Japan and South Korea to work on a U.N. response to the North Korean move.

    Jee Abbey Lee contributed to this report.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jake from Albuquerque
    January 20, 2016 1:06 PM
    When this evil nightmare that is the DPRK comes to an end, the world will see horror unlike anything since the death camps of Nazi Germany. Honest, intelligent, humane people know what is going on there. Corrupt and deluded P.C. zombies will try to cover up the truth and their collusion in the genocide of North Korea.

    However, several different groups are actively working to end the rule of the terrorists in Pyongyang. Despite the usual chicken-hearted replies of the Obama administration, a number of independent groups are right now evaluating ways to liquidate Kim Jong-Un and his cronies. Russia and Iran cannot stop the momentum of justice. Their best option is to take out as big a life insurance policy on Kim & Co. and wait for payday. Meanwhile, there is a larger fortune waiting for those who HAVE the means to eliminate him.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    January 20, 2016 9:46 AM
    North Korea will never give up it's defensive nuclear weapons that will defend the North Korean people from sneak attacks? .. And if the US really wanted peace with the North Koreans they'd withdraw those 30,000 US troops from the DMZ and South Korea?

    North Korea hasn't the offensive capabilities nor the supply vehicles to launch an attack on South Korea or any other country, nor is it in their interests to conquer any country? .. Think about it? .. Some countries have already attacked non-nuclear defended countries, didn't they? .. [and?] .. North Korea doesn't want to be the next non-nuclear defended country attacked by those countries? .. The only threat the North Korean defensive nuclear weapons pose, is to those countries who'd attack them? .. If the world can peacefully coexist with all the other countries that have defensive nuclear weapons, why can't they peacefully coexist with the North Koreans? .. The world should try it?
    In Response

    by: Jake from Albuquerque
    January 20, 2016 12:52 PM
    No interest.
    The North has proven themselves to be inveterate liars, opportunists, and State sponsors of terrorism. South Korea and the US have had enough of them and their games.

    A full embargo of all goods and materiel into NK is the best way to effect change: in less than two weeks the Army would starve out and there'd be NO protection for Kim & Co. when the mob came to string them up. Your pal UN's days are numbered.

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