News / Asia

N. Korea Nuclear, Missile Programs Making Progress

FILE - Satellite image provided by GeoEye shows the area around the Yongbyon nuclear facility in Yongbyon, North Korea. The U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies said shows that North Korea has resumed building work on a reactor after months of inactivity at the site.
FILE - Satellite image provided by GeoEye shows the area around the Yongbyon nuclear facility in Yongbyon, North Korea. The U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies said shows that North Korea has resumed building work on a reactor after months of inactivity at the site.
VOA News
A senior U.S. intelligence official and a report by a Washington-based research institute are warning of advances in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Pyongyang has expanded the size of its Yongbyon uranium enrichment facility and restarted a reactor used for plutonium production.

His statement Wednesday appeared to confirm recent reports suggesting North Korea is making good on its promise to "adjust and alter" its nuclear facilities following its third nuclear test last year.

In his written testimony to a Senate committee, Clapper said the North's nuclear weapons and missile programs "pose a serious threat" to the U.S. and Asia, noting that Pyongyang is committed to developing a missile that can strike the U.S. mainland.

Clapper said the North has publicly displayed its road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles, known as the KN-98, but stressed that the system remains untested.

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Korea Chair Victor Cha told VOA's Korean service that Pyongyang's missile program is not the biggest issue faced by the U.S. at this time. "The biggest concern for the Obama’s administration right now is the nuclear program, and within the nuclear program, it is the so called covert uranium based program.  I think is the major concern because if developed that could potentially exponentially  increase the North Korea’s capacity to produce nuclear bombs," he said.

The RAND Corporation's Bruce Bennett said it is unclear how developed the North Korean technology is right now. "Well most of the North Korean rockets so far have been pretty unsophisticated. And the missiles that they have show that are smaller, that could be ICBMs, what we've seen so far, have been pretty clearly mockups. And so its not clear that they have gotten sophisticated enough to pose a serious threat to the United States, but they are moving in that direction," he stated.

In a separate report Wednesday, the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said North Korea appears to be expanding its main launch site to accommodate larger missiles that could hit the United States.

But the report, which relied on recent satellite photos, warned that because of ongoing construction the site will likely not be available for launches until March or April at the earliest.

South Korea and the United States have been watching North Korea closely for a military provocation, such as a nuclear or missile test, following the shocking execution of Kim Jong Un's uncle, who was accused of plotting to overthrow the state.

Seoul's Unification Ministry said Thursday it is "very serious and regrettable" that North Korea has made progress in its nuclear program.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid