Skip to main content

North Korea is committed to an ‘alarming change’ in its nuclear policy, professor says

North Korea ultimately wants to have more nuclear weapons to use against the U.S. troops in South Korea and Japan in the event of an invasion, according to a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

North Korea currently has the ability to use a small number of nuclear weapons against the United States, said Jeffrey Lewis, a professor on arms control.

“They have some deterrence, but what I think the North Koreans really, fundamentally want is the ability to use a much larger number of nuclear weapons against U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan if they thought an invasion was underway,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday.

“This is part of [an] … alarming change in the way they approach nuclear weapons, and that change is really to give themselves the ability to use nuclear weapons first if they think they are about to be invaded,” he said.

His comments came after North Korea conducted another missile test on Sunday.

State news agency KCNA reported that Kim “gave important instructions on further building up the defense capabilities and nuclear combat forces of the country.”

“North Koreans are really committed to shifting their nuclear policy,” according to Lewis.

He said the missile looked like “yet another variant” of a short-range one and that it’s “more of the same” from North Korea — but it’s “still quite unwelcome.”

Testing nuclear weapons?

According to Lewis, North Korea is now working toward a nuclear weapons test, more than four years since its last one in 2017.

“In a sense, the gloves are off,” he said. “They don’t really feel bound by any of the commitments they made in 2018 when the diplomacy period started, and we’re also seeing a lot of activity at the nuclear test site.”

During his presidency, U.S. President Donald Trump held two summits with Kim to discuss denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. The second one, in Hanoi, ended abruptly when the two sides were unable to agree on the removal of sanctions.

North Korea closed the entrances to its nuclear test tunnels in 2018, but they have likely already reopened them, Lewis said.

Satellite images taken in March showed construction at the site where North Korea has conducted all its previous nuclear tests, Reuters reported.

It’s now up Kim to decide when he wants to test a nuclear weapon, the professor said.

“If we know one thing, we know that there’s going to be a nuclear test when Kim Jong Un feels like it,” he added.


Popular posts from this blog

[December] North Korea's provocations in 2022

Dec. 5, 2022 North Korea fired around 130 artillery shells into the eastern and western maritime buffer zones between the two Koreas amid the South Korea-U.S. live-fire drills outside of the buffer zone. According to the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff, artillery firings from Kumgang County in Kangwon Province and Jangsan Cape in South Hwanghae Province from 2:59 p.m. South and North Korea set military buffer zones on the ground, sea, and air to reduce accidental conflicts under the inter-Korean military accord(a.k.a Comprehensive Military Agreement, CMA)  signed on Sept. 19, 2018.  "At sea, the two sides agreed to cease all live-fire and maritime maneuver exercises within the zone north of Deokjeok-do and south of Cho-do in the West Sea, and within the zone north of Sokcho and south of Tongcheon in the East Sea. The two sides also agreed to install covers on the barrels of coastal artilleries and ship guns and close all gunports within the zones."( Agreement on the Impleme

[November] North Korea's Provocations in 2022

  Nov. 2, 2022 North Korea launched four short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) into the Yellow Sea at 6:51 a.m.(KST) from Chongju and Pihyon in North Pyongan Province, followed by three SRBMs into the East Sea at 8:51 a.m. from Wonsan, Kangwon Province. One of those three SRBMs landed in the South of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), which serves as the de facto inter-Korean maritime border. The SRBM landed in the sea 167 kilometers northwest of the island but only 57 kilometers northeast of the South Korean coastal city of Sokcho and 34 kilometers outside the South's territorial waters. This is the first time North Korea has fired a missile toward South Korean territory. At 9:12 a.m., North Korea fired an additional 10 suspected surface-to-air missiles into the East Sea from Nakwon, Chongpyong, and Sinpo in South Hamgyong Province and into the Yellow Sea from Onchon and Hwajin-ri in South Pyongan and Kwa-il in South Hwanghae Province. From 11:10 a.m., in response to the North&

The Sources of North Korea's WMD development

North Korea's food insecurity has worsened due to COVID-19 lockdowns and severe floods. However, Kim Jong-un has ignored North Korean's agony of hunger, only o bsessed with illicit activities to develop nuclear weapons and missiles. North Korea raises illegal funds through cyber crimes like crypto heists & ransomware attacks.  It won't be forgiven by North Koreans as well as international society.