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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid