Is North Korea A Nuclear Threat to the United States?
The article “China Warns North Korea Nuclear Threat is Rising” explains how new Chinese estimates are much higher in terms of the number of nuclear arms North Korea has than US ones. It describes how North Korea might have up to 20 nuclear weapons and how growth in production over the next few years might be much higher then the previous SAIS estimate. It also states how the head of US Northern Command said that North Korea “can now mount a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile called the KN-08." This missiles range is about 5600 miles, which would be capable of firing upon California.
I chose to use this article not only because it is recent, published on April 22 of this year, but because it also gives further insights into China fears of North Korea. It also provided me with facts about the number of weapons North Korea has and the range of the longest missile. The article provided China's perspective unlike most of my other sources that provided the United States perspective.
The fact sheet from the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, a nonpartisan organization whose mission is to reduce the threat of war and nuclear weapons, gives quick facts about North Korea's nuclear program and missile development. It gives statistics on every single missile typed North Korea currently has including the rockets they launched three years ago which it claims “is essentially the same as ballistic missile technology.” It also gives facts about North Korea's attempted miniaturization which is necessary for the use of nuclear materials on missiles.
From this resource, I utilized the range statistics for missiles and the information about North Korea's nuclear stockpile. I also use one of the graphics from the site for my presentation. The document gave a great summery of the nuclear capacity of North Korea.
The State Department document, The North Korean Threat: Nuclear, Missiles and Cyber is a brief written by Sung Kim. Kim is the current Special Representative on North Korea Policy and former representative to the Six-party Talks that were meant to help deescalate the North's Aggression. The Document summarizes of the House Foreign Affairs Committee the threat North Korea poses, other countries relations to the US in the context of the North, and US policy as of January of 2015. The document describes how all parties want a denuclearized North and how North Korea is trying to use weapons and cyber attacks as a bargaining chip in the international community. It also describes President Obama's post-Sony executive order and its actions in terms of sanctions.
This document provided me with the State Department perspective on North Korea's actions. From this document took the quote "North Korea is not, as they claim, developing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles in response to a threat from the United States or any outside power. Rather, North Korea believes these programs will help prolong the Kim regime and obtain material and political benefits from the international community" for my presentation to emphasize the strategic potential of nuclear weapons.
The article is a general time line of North Korea's nuclear program. It stretches from December 31, 1991, when North and South Korea agreed on a mutual nuclear ban to November 19, 2014, when the North threatened a fourth nuclear test. It shows North Korea's various nuclear tests and missile launch in the context of international efforts for diplomacy, leadership changes, and domestic conflicts. The timeline describes the rising levels of aggressive nuclear language of the Kim Jon Un regime and the US response.
The timeline gave me a better understanding of causality in North Korea's nuclear arms race. I was able to feature the most important events in my presentation to give a better understanding of the escalating nature of the progression of North Korean nuclear policy today.
The Ballistic Missile Defense Intercept Flight Test Record is a public document that describes the success record of the United States missile defense system. It contains the record for the three primary missile defense platforms; the Ground-based Midcourse Defense, which can intercept intermediate to long range missiles; the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, a sea based system which can intercept short-intermediate range missiles; and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, which can intercept missiles at any range including ICBMs. It also gave the success record of each system, 9 out of 17, 29 out of 35, and 11 out of 11 respectively and 66 out of 82 overall. The sheet generally gave me an understanding of our ability to intercept a missile in the case of a launch by North Korea.