Sunday, October 08, 2006

North Korea successfully tests nuclear bomb -- Yonhap

North Korea reportedly conducts a successful nuclear test, according to an AP report. "South Korean government officials said North Korea performed its first-ever nuclear weapons test Monday, the South's Yonhap news agency reported." See Pajamas Media for ongoing, updated coverage. The seismic event has been measured by Korea and the USCGS. Initial calculations indicate a single digit kiloton or subkiloton yield. The US and Japan agree to tackle the problem via the UN. Also click on "Read More" and the discussion in comments.

Here are more developments from the Australian:

An official at South Korea’s presidential Blue House said the explosion was detected at 10:35am. It is understood to have originated from the Kilchu area of North Hamgyeong province in the country’s north-east.

"At this moment, President Roh Moo-hyun is holding an emergency meeting of the related ministers and, if this tremor is ultimately confirmed as a nuclear testing, this meeting will turn into a National Security Council meeting,” the official said. “We are promptly exchanging information with the concerned nations.”

Mr Roh is due to meet Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about 6:30pm Australia time. Yesterday in Beijing Mr Abe and China’s President Hu Jintao jointly called upon the North Korean regime to abandon its test plans.

The nuclear test was conducted not far from North Korea's missile launch facility. There are reports that the South Korean President is in conversation with President Bush. It is interesting that the North Koreans intentionally detonated the bomb while PM Abe of Japan was in Korea.

Now all the folks who wanted 400,000 troops in Iraq and thought the transformational initiative which emphasized technology and precision weapons were a crock may grudgingly conclude that maybe Donald Rumsfeld did have a point. The US requires a full-spectrum fighting force able to engage the AQ and North Korea. A world power like America needs to think of more than one theater of operations, always. Also critics may now remember how, unremarked, the administration pulled US troops back from the DMZ, which if they were still there would make them sitting ducks. As it is, they far enough back to give them a chance. Also, the unnoticed development of facilities at Guam have given the US a capability it now needs. Not everything, but something. That plus BMD defense. Maybe I'm looking for silver linings where none are to be found. But just maybe not everyone was asleep. Now, back to Foley.


USGS detects seismic event: 4.2 on the Richter Scale, depth 0 miles. Location 41.311°N, 129.114°E and 01:35:27 UTC which approximately corresponds to the 40 51N 129 40E of the North Korea missile launch site. The Guardian says the blast was announced at 2.36am. There is exactly a one hour difference in the between the UTC time of the USGS seismic event and British time due to the additional hour caused by daylight saving time (+1). This is probably the same event. A shallow underground test recorded at 4.2 on the Richter. Initial calculations indicate a single digit kiloton or subkiloton yield. See discussion below.


Blogger Jamie Irons said...

If verified, this is extremely bad news.

Everything depends on the Chinese response and, after that, the Japanese reaction. We (the U.S.) appear to have no moves.

Jamie Irons

10/08/2006 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Maybe it is bad news. Maybe it is good news if it wakes the sleeping giant.

The US has many options. It would be nice if the US announced that a boomer was already patrolling in the Pacific, with 100 or more MIRVed warheads aimed at every site worth hitting in North Korea. And the US announced the immediate withdrawal of all forces from South Korea, to clear the field of fire. And the US announced its willingness to assist Japan in the rapid development of its own nuclear forces. And the US announced a policy of boarding every North Korean ship anywhere in the world for the purposes of confirming the absence of weapons transfer.

And by the way, North Korea, the point of the boomer is that North Korea will cease to exist about 60 minutes after any nuclear explosion anywhere on the territory of the US or its chosen allies. Unless North Korea wants to get off the hit list by verifiably destroying all its nuclear arms.

However, I expect the giant to roll over and carry on snoring. There are still homosexual Republicans to out, you know.

10/08/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

I expect the new "strategy" will be to allow Japan, South Korea & China to LIVE with North Korea's insanity.

I see a japanese nuke soon on the horizon.

I see 500,000,000 non japanese asians pissing thier pants at the thought of a strong nationalist and military power called "Japan"

I say, too bad...

10/08/2006 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger John Lynch said...

Wonderfully clarifying. I'd be delighted to hear a credible response from the party that's poised to gain control of Congress...

10/08/2006 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Too bad we wore out all our troops with multiple deployments bringing midnight basketball to Iraq, we might have been able to use them better against an a-hole with actual WMD.

10/08/2006 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

One line that will be taken is that America "provoked" North Korea into doing this by its missteps a short time ago when it tagged Pyongyang a criminal state. However, since nuclear weapons cannot be developed in such a short time, North Korea must already have possessed the weapon. Therefore nothing America could have done in the recent past would have altered the fact that it had "broken out" of the NPT regime.

In fact, the recent "assurances" that the State Department prized so highly from Pyongyang can now be seen in retrospect as clearly illusory; just so much paper. However, some media outlets being what they are, I am sure the whole episode will be laid at the doorstep of the Bush Administration. At any rate, we'll just have to get over it; as it's just a plea for help from a desperate regime, beggared by imperialistic sanctions. If we hand Kim a pile of money we can go on to the next Foley Instant Message, which everyone knows is far more important. Fag-flogging while Rome burns.

Of all the dangers that the soothing antiwar left has convinced us don't exist the most mythical of all is the myth of our safety. They've convinced us all that we are not threatened by any but our own evil selves. And they will continue to coo into our ears, even as the knife comes plunging in.

10/08/2006 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Asher Abrams said...

I'm wondering if this is coordinated with Syria and Iran in advance of an attack on Israel.

10/08/2006 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger genwolf said...

Well wretchard you are right about where the blame for this is probably going to be sheeted. Of course it is incredible clear that China's policy of engagement and her assurances are both completly bankrupt, as is South Koreas sunshine policy. But then those accounts have been in the red a long time and yet the policies have continued trading, and in good measure largely becasue the guardians of credibility - the mainstream media, leftwing academeia - never issued so much as a default notice. What is especially perverse is that at every step along the way the US has fulffilled to the letter the expecations of the guardians of credibility - insisting being multilateral, offering concessions but with clear conditions, working with and through allies, being extremely measured in the belicosity of statements made - all in the face of a North Korea whose behaviour makes the recent antics of Chavez or Amadinejad appear sober by comparison.

Well now the world has the first installment of it's reward for the vigorousness of it's assualt on the stock of American credibility and deranged and obsessive hostility to it's president. I hope it is everything that was wished for as future installments are going to be of a similar nature.

10/08/2006 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The director of South Korea's monitoring center that is watching for a test with sound and seismic detectors has declined to immediately comment on the reported test.

The U.S. Geological Survey said it has not detected seismic activity in North Korea, although it's not clear if a blast would be strong enough for its sensors.


10/08/2006 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

What Foley took away, this night, the Nokor's gave back, in spades. It will be very interesting to see what the polls do this week.

10/08/2006 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Robert Schwartz said...
The only thing that gives me any comfort is the fact that neither Iran not NoKo have tested a bomb, which they would undoubtedly do if they had one. I am therefor encouraged to think that it is a lot harder to build one than it is commonly suposed to be.

Schwartz's timing on this was - well--perfect! Not for him, but perfect.

S. Koreans score the highest on math and science tests of all peoples outside Singapore and Taiwan. S Korea is a major force in scientific papers and patents awarded. Their brothers in the North are deprived and indoctrinated, but not stupid.

Nukes aren't hard.

We and the Soviets did it with 60 year-old technology. The hardest work is just proving something can be done - then any group with the means and will can copy. China built it's bomb 40 years ago back when they were as poor and totalitarian as the NORKs are.


1. China loses face. They have been humiliated by the nation they were supposed to be at their apogee of influence with amongst all their neighbors.
2. Japan ditches the pacifist clause in their Constitution.
3. The SORKs re-evaluate both the Sunshine policy and the assurances of the Korean Left that the NORKs can be appeased.
4. The US has to recognize that while we are stuck with a Bush-Clinton-Bush II shrunken military capable now of fighting only one conventional war, and because we have been bogged down in Iraq - other nations like Venezuela, China, Iran, N Korea have lost much of their fear of us and are enjoying the period where we are weak elsewhere because we are diverted into Iraq sucking up 70% of our ground power.
We are in a period where our military continues to shrink - on our way to a 150 ship Navy, because American Ruling Elites are focused on getting richer and avoiding sacrifice.

10/08/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

hehe...Well this is great news. Wake me up when this nightmare is over.

Oopsy looks like the rational state of N. Korea just became a Nuclear Power…containment working great!

10/08/2006 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Can I just say that even though the Republicans are buggering every single thing they touch they have one redeeming feature. They are not even close to the wreck the Democrats would be. How F#$KING great is that?!?!?!

With Instapundit on this can I have third choice?

10/08/2006 10:52:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Gee, you suppose maybe South Korea might have a sudden change of heart now that we're talking about pulling the rest of our troops out?

I want LOTS of very loud apologies from them before we do decide to stay.

But why should we? Like the previous poster said, this is now China and Japan's problem. And maybe Australia's. America can saunter off with a jaunty step whistling a happy tune, because we are NOT the globe's cop any more.

10/08/2006 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger TmjUtah said...

Pool for how long before the Japanese announce possession of a nuclear deterrent, anyone?

I figure it will take the Japanese longer to print the press release than it will for them to assemble enough weapons to sterilize the Norks.

Speaking of "not stupid", and all that...

10/08/2006 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Chi Heon-Cheol, head of the Korea Earthquake Research Centre in Daejeon, said the seismic activity at 10.36am (11.36 AEST) took place 15.4km northwest of Hwadaeri in the northeastern province of North Hamgyong.

“The peculiarity of the seismic waves indicated there was an artificial explosion, not a natural earthquake,” Mr Chi said.


10/08/2006 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger John Lynch said...

Yield looks pretty low. Based on information from Pakistani and Chinese tests, it's probably less than 8kt.

If the 4.2 Richter measurement is correct AND geologic conditions are comparable to China and Pakistan (and I am no expert)then we have a pretty small weapon or a fizzle.

10/08/2006 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger John Lynch said...

Relevant quote from the Bulletion of Atomic Scientists

"The average magnitude reported by the 65 stations recording the event on May 28 was 4.9, indicating an explosive yield in the 6-13 kiloton range. Fifty-one stations recorded the event on May 30, with an average magnitude of 4.3, indicating an explosion in the 2-8 kiloton range."

And from milnet

"China's last nuclear test, and which with luck may be the last nuclear test ever conducted, was detonated at 0149 GMT (9:49 p.m. EDT) on 29 July 1996. According to the Australia Geological Survey Organization in Canberra its yield was 1 to 5 kilotons, registering 4.3 on the Richter Scale. This was China's 45th test, and its 22nd underground one"

I didn't find a yield formula, but 4.3 on both of these is pretty close, and would tend to overestimate yield given the 4.2 measurement.

10/09/2006 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

A 4.2 event would be in the low kiloton range as noted by John Lynch. (See Wikipedia for yield table

However, the South Koreans have obtained a much lower measuremen, 3.6, from which they conclude a subkiloton detonation. Note also that the test site was under a relatively small hill. So the Nokors weren't exactly expecting a multimegaton blast. Still, one of those could mess up a city pretty good.

10/09/2006 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/09/2006 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...

HOW MANY BOMBS: Estimates of the amount of radioactive material the North possesses vary widely, enough for possibly between four and 13 weapons, and are unverifiable.

DELIVERY: A top concern is the possibility of North Korea mounting bombs atop missiles aimed at Seoul, Tokyo or even parts of the United States.

HOW STRONG: North Korea's nuclear test was equivalent to 550 tons of TNT, a state-run South Korean geological institute said. That's relatively small compared to the bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima, which was equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT.


10/09/2006 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger John Lynch said...

Blast effect sim! Plug in the yield you want! Nuke your home town!

5kt would mess up my town of 14,000 people. 1 kt would mess up the southern tip of Manhattan.

10/09/2006 01:04:00 AM  
Blogger summignumi said...

Wretchard, Question(s), does “Nokors weren't exactly expecting a multimegaton blast. Still, one of those could mess up a city pretty good” equate to small blast = small warhead = fits on current missile? Also where the Mullahs present, did we just hear the test blast of oil money? If so does, small blast = small concealable bomb = US city if ashes? The Chinese, Russians and Democrats (Thank you Madam Albright and Narcissistic Clinton) released the genie, it is time to let Japan and Aussies have them too.

10/09/2006 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger John Lynch said...

A subkiloton weapon would have a disproportionate amount of its damage caused by initial radiation rather than blast. Initial radiation is fairly constant with yield. Above a certain threshold (50kt or so) it becomes insignificant compared to blast- it won't matter if you go a lethal rad dose becuase the blast would kill you a few seconds later. A small bomb, on the other hand, would cause many radiation casualties even if the victim was uninjured by the blast.


Nuclear War Survival Skills is free online. No copyright. Chapter links in the left frame. Lots about nuclear bombs and how to survive them.

10/09/2006 01:43:00 AM  
Blogger Spatchcock said...

This is probably pretty naive of me, but .....

Yesterday, we were pretty sure they had nukes. Today we know it.

What exactly has changed?

10/09/2006 02:08:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

summignumi - The Chinese, Russians and Democrats (Thank you Madam Albright and Narcissistic Clinton) released the genie, it is time to let Japan and Aussies have them too.

It is the height of insularity to think that it is all about which Party is in charge in America -that determines who is interested in nuke bombs or whether or not a major hurricane decides to hit New Orleans.

In fairness to the Clinton Administration, they worked out a deal that was completely consonant with the wishes of our allies the SORKs and Japanese, and one that China backed. There were no NORK nukes when Bush took office. What changed was the NORKs were found to be violating the agreement, by secretly enriching uranium, badly ticking off all Parties.

Early on, many neocons loved to tout how their American Churchill, Dubya, would have never let bin Laden live if he was around and how his "No Munichs" approach would mean an end to "appeasement"...and anyone who opposed "The New Empire" would be bombed in a "surgical strike" cakewalk intervention to eliminate any threat...between tax cuts of course.

Ah, the good old neocon days of JDAMs solving all problems -as America and it's Bestest Buddy, Israel, spread democracy.

Bushies found "getting Binnie" was not as easy as they once pilloried Clinton for, and the American Churchill's bold statements of Syria, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, China, doing "things that will not stand and are unacceptable" appear to have been "accepted" after all with America mired in Iraq and unable to even keep Afghanistan from getting worse without asking for American sacrifice - which would jeopardize Bush's tax cuts to his that cant happen! No blood, toil, tears speeches...

And the NORKs went from Zero nuke bombs to 8-13 during the resolute Texans watch.

But, other than the fact that being mired in Iraq has weakened America globally and cost us considerable clout and influence that we have to go back to Jimmy Carter's era to match - what the NORKs did building a dozen nuke bombs under Bush, blowing the 1st off - or making and violating treaties with the Clinton's has little to do with American party politics.

What will be interesting is the global reaction. And American regards to how it is slowly coming home that the Soviets end did not mean an end to enemies - and besides vapid Lefty multiculti slowly headed for the ash heap, the run on new entitlements and tax cuts based on a "peace dividend" has to be requestioned.

Between Carter and Bush II, America had a pretty good run of effective Presidents in Reagan, BushI, and Clinton. Let's hope we start another good run in 2008, because we will need it as forces of de-stabilization grow stronger and more sophisticated - and we need a strong, well-led, fiscally solvent, and competitive America ready to deal with it.

10/09/2006 02:30:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

This is probably pretty naive of me, but .....

Yesterday, we were pretty sure they had nukes. Today we know it.

What exactly has changed?

To improve nuclear weapons, confirm reliability, and commence on a program to miniaturize them to allow missile launches - you must test them. From tests, you get the data to advance your weaponry from the crude to the useful in local region or global projection of power. Same with the NORKs missile tests - failure or disappointed test results are expected, even welcomed, in certain cases to detect design flaws, unforseen failure mechanisms.

No different really than the botched tests we, the Nazis, the Soviets, even Al Qaeda had with WTC attack #1. Be it nukes, missiles, or IEDs.

The point is to learn - so you can become more deadly, reliable, sophisticated in using force.

For that reason, weapon testing is bad for the "other side".

10/09/2006 02:39:00 AM  
Blogger Spatchcock said...

Thanks Cedarford.

So you see this as the beginning of a series of tests aimed at improving the weapon (and getting it ICBM-mounted) rather than as a one-off.

I suppose time will tell.

10/09/2006 02:57:00 AM  
Blogger QRM said...

If anybody Knew about History...Here- in Europe- people have forgotten, and our only hope is América.
May be the "land of the free and the home of the brave" is going to repeat the huge mistake that lead Mr. Chamberlain and many others to think that feeding the beast is a way to achieve peace. Now, nazis are Iran and North Korea, and many other tiranic regimes and countries- not only governors but also people hate freedom, hate us, in muslim world, for example-.

It´s all up to you, once again. With the US in the right side, freedom will prevail.

10/09/2006 03:33:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

For comparisons sake, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were about 10 kilotons, which is the average for America's tactical nuclear arsenal. The strategic nuclear arsenal contains fusion devices in the one-to-three megaton range, including multi-warhead MIRV ICBMs.

It seems to me that North Korea might be lieing. It may have set off a huge conventional explosion to give the impression it had a nuke. Now it can use the belief that it has a nuke to extort aid from the UN.

10/09/2006 04:45:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

"The Itailan navigator has landed in the new world" so went the message that the first nuclear reactor was operating - and on Columbus Day Ameriians wake up to hear about the North Korean bomb test.

Now, do those guys have a sense of timing or what?

In North Korea we are dealing with the Clinton/Carter bomb; they enabled it.

In Iran we are dealing with the Carter/Gore bomb; they enabled it.

Old Jimmy do get around, especially for a peanut farmer, don't he?

Terisita: What the EFF would a bunch of troops be for taking out North Korea's nuclear capabilitues? Talk somebody about waking the hell up!

10/09/2006 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Well, firstly, the U.S. needs to announce the withdrawl of its participation in the Six Party talks.

And, as the Chinese need to actually pay for this duplicity of theirs, we need to announce heightened joint defense planning between the U.S. Pacific Fleet and Japan's Combined Fleet. The notion that China was a helpless bystander in these affairs has been assiduously peddled by the Chinese Government. It is an elegant lie.

Thirdly, I strongly suspect the Iranians were present at the test.Time to ramp up the Iran business, as well.

We are neither as weak, nor as stretched thin, as advertised.

10/09/2006 05:05:00 AM  
Blogger lugh lampfhota said...

C4 said:

"1. China loses face. They have been humiliated by the nation they were supposed to be at their apogee of influence with amongst all their neighbors."

DPRK couldn't do anything without explicit Chinese approval. China provides all of DPRK's oil and coal. This was a message from China.

"2. Japan ditches the pacifist clause in their Constitution."

Japan knows China is behind it, that China is ascendent and will publicly posture while quietly moving into the Chinese sphere.

"3. The SORKs re-evaluate both the Sunshine policy and the assurances of the Korean Left that the NORKs can be appeased."

South Korea will puff up in public then revert to the sunshine.

"4. The US has to recognize that while we are stuck with a Bush-Clinton-Bush II shrunken military capable ....."

The US is a checkmated Gulliver. China owns America's ass strategically and economically.

Could this be why our elites have transferred a sizable chunk of their capital to China?

10/09/2006 05:16:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Reuters is saying:

Indian nuclear scientists said they thought the North Korean test was an indication that the country was going for smaller devices to ensure effective delivery.
"They are concentrating more on the small devices because of reliability of launching and effectiveness," said A.N. Prasad, former chief of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, India's top nuclear research facility.
"If the situation demands, they can scale it up, which is not difficult. This is the best approach now."

My comment: It is my understanding that small-yield nukes are more difficult to build. The simplest and most primitive nukes are the ones the US developed using now-sixty-year-old technology. An implosion device is simply a sphere of near-critical-mass enriched uranium or plutonium wrapped in plastic explosive. Detonate the explosive and the sphere is compressed until it achieves a critical geometry.

So called “suitcase nukes” were developed much later and rely on sophisticated technologies involving neutron reflectors.

Now for a bit of paranoia: It is in the Republican’s interest to support North Korea's claims so that the “security moms” will vote for the party of strong national defense. It is in the Democrat’s interest to support North Korea's claims so that they can blame Bush and energize the Bush-hating wing of their party to vote in November. It is in the UN’s interest to support North Korea's claims so that the military option of invading North Korea and forcing regime change is now off the table. You don’t invade nuclear-armed states. Don’t expect anyone to step forward and point out that Emperor Kim Jong Il isn’t wearing any clothes…

10/09/2006 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Teresita has this thing about George Bush. It's all his fault.

Ground troops would do absolutely no good to us on the Peninsula in this crisis, so teresita's point is more rather inelegant Bush bashing. "Were overstretched, we're falling apart...." completely ignores the existence of the Air Force, the Navy, and our thermonuclear arsenal. Indeed, we'd have wider latitude in this crisis were we to withdraw the 2nd Division, which will happen by 2009.

We've got more hole cards in this game, I suspect. But strategic realities and logistical concerns never stopped a cheap debater's trick, now did it?

The actual Korean War of 1950-1953 was a throwback to WWI, once Matthew Ridgeway's 1951 Spring Offensive settled the lines down for the remainder of the conflict. Eisenhower broke the logjam by a secret threat to unleash the B-47 Atomic Strike Force on the Chinese. The war came to an end. Ground forces didn't end it, but they did keep southern Korea from falling to the nascent Stalinist regime of Kim Il Sung.

Firmness of purpose will make up for the diplomatic box we find ourselves in. Kim wants something from us: a lifeline for his regime. We will not give it to him. Bush has been right not to have direct talks with him, and the Democrats have been altogether wrong. Bush has also been right to strangle the regime through the Treasury Department's anti-counterfeiting program.

The problem is, and always has been, the regime. It is in a terminal crisis. Bush and Rice know this. They are wisely letting it play out. Ground troops will do us no good.

10/09/2006 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

High time that Livermore Labs and Los Alamos passed good ole mc^2 technology to Taiwan. After all, what's good enough for rats like Kim Jong-il most certainly suits Taipei.

If Japan and Pyongyang nuke it out, while a craven and deluded Seoul cowers in between... well, this has been a long time coming. Thanks, Bill and Madelaine.

Over this same period, an arrogant and bellicose Peking, in thrall to heirs of Mouse Dung, has uttered furious denunciations of its democratic competitor across the Straits. Sigh. When the supply of stolen Aegis technology dries up (updating required every eighteen months or so), will the fearsome Communist Dragon begin biting its own tail, or like the late unlamented Soviet Onion (sic) merely acquiesce to deliquesce?

Maybe in the next few years we will reach an actual inflection point: By unilateral or (irrelevent) multi-national fiat, the U.S. should simply declare the Nuclear Club closed. Squeak, squeak! go Iran and certain well-known others. Well, if you really want EMPs taking out your infrastructure, go ahead. What's that you say?-- how un-PC, how sadly un-multicultural? All together, now: Let's raise a real big laugh.

10/09/2006 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

We need to wait for the official responses from our regional allies (this includes China), and, whatever they are, calmly nod our head in agreement and support.

The immediate imperative is to characterize the event. Modulate the problem. Endorse the principals. Remain inscrutable, and indispensable. Follow through.

And be ready for the fluid dynamics.

10/09/2006 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

The North Koreans have conducted not just TWO but a whole SERIES of ICBM tests. They have only done two "all-up" tests but have fired a whole series of smaller and less obvious tests that proved out components.

Back in the 50's we did mostly all-up tests with whole missiles because we were in a race with the USSR. Later, in the 60's, 70's and 80's we first did smaller component level tests and conducted far fewer all-up tests because we were not as rushed.

Thanks to Jimmy and Slick Willie, the North Koreans could take the safer, cheaper, slower incremental pace.

And word is that the second Taepodong test had components built in Iran - on the front end.

But enough about this rocket and nuke stuff: as Wretchard says, back to Foley. Anyone seen any info on explict Christmas or birthday cards Foley may have penned? I am thinking that is where the real nonradioactive dirt is.

10/09/2006 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

HOW STRONG: North Korea's nuclear test was equivalent to 550 tons of TNT, a state-run South Korean geological institute said. That's relatively small compared to the bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima, which was equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT.

Maybe he doesn't have a bomb, maybe he just detonated....550 tons of TNT. Oh well, he gets all the negative blowback anyway.

10/09/2006 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Ground troops would do absolutely no good to us on the Peninsula in this crisis, so teresita's point is more rather inelegant Bush bashing. "Were overstretched, we're falling apart...." completely ignores the existence of the Air Force, the Navy, and our thermonuclear arsenal

The Air Force and Navy can hit infrastructure, but there isn't a lot to hit (ever see the night photo of NK from space?)...and military stuff is hundreds or thousands of feet underground. Any attack we make will be followed by an invasion of South Korea, which we can't stop because we are tied down in Iraq pretending to be beat cops.

10/09/2006 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Hmmmm. So the "massive" train explosion that took place in April 2004 may have also been a 3.6 on the Richter scale.

Ryongchon Explosion Eight Times as Great as North Claims
TOKYO -- Japan's Kyodo News, citing numerous diplomatic sources in Vienna, reported Saturday that the force of April 22's train explosion at the North's Ryonchon Station was about that of an earthquake measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale, which would have required about 800 tons of TNT -- about eight times that officially announced by North Korea.

Can some smart rocket scientist tell me how *this* 3.6 explosion is different from *that* 3.6 explosion?

10/09/2006 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

rwe said:

Terisita: What the EFF would a bunch of troops be for taking out North Korea's nuclear capabilitues? Talk somebody about waking the hell up!

You need to lift your eyes above the hood ornament of the car and look down the road a ways. Troops are for dealing with the inevitable invastion of SoKo after we send in the Tomahawks against the NoKo aspirin factories. Right now we can't even give Kim a dirty look.

10/09/2006 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

Damn the fatalists!

Pyongyang and Tehran are banking on the fatalism evident in international politics, a resigned acceptance that the bad guys get whatever it is they crave, and that the response should be management of their demands rather than determination to stop them.

Where the fsck are the B2's and the nuclear payload destined for NOKOR and Iran? Why is Bush still in office?!

10/09/2006 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger metaphysician said...

I'd bet on "fizzle," myself. The only way they'd have nukes in the subkiloton range is if someone transferred them advanced designs and equipment, and they'd still probably mess it up trying to do it cold.

Also, note that small yield is not the same as small size.

Thus, most likely explanation is "They built and tested a Fat Man type plutonium bomb, it didn't go off properly."

10/09/2006 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

In an earlier comment it was noted that many would look for ways to blame the US for this situation in North Korea.

Here's a link to an almost unreadable newsweek article

what I find particularly egregious about this article is the smarmy assertion that the Clinton policies enhanced the position of the North Korean "pragmatists". yes, they were being quite pragmatic as the build thier devices in defiance of their agreements.

My goodness but the press can be just sooooo tiresome.

10/09/2006 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

"The US is a checkmated Gulliver. China owns America's ass strategically and economically."

How so? They've dumped our currency in the past, and the only real effect it had on our economy was to open a 2 for 1 sale of goods in America to Europe, which actually helped to maintain the momentum of economic growth here, and created thousands of new jobs.

Strategically? How so? They have little airlift or amphibious capacity for their troops, and an army equipped no better than that of Saddam Hussein's (although admittedly larger). Their navy is incapable of projecting Chinese influence in the face of a small portion of our the US Navy.

Numbers of troops/tanks/planes no longer means what it once did, militarily in specific, or strategically in general. We proved that twice in the last 15 years.

10/09/2006 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Hayek said...

To suggest that our troop deployment in Iraq would pave the way for an invasion of S. Korea is absurd. We have now only a token force there as before,to only serve as a tripwire. They are not coming across unless they are in extremis. Why else commit suicide?

10/09/2006 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

I find the speculation that this event may not be a nuclear test but rather the result of detonating 550 tons of TNT intriguing. And Nahncee's (6:54:30 AM) comment about the "massive" train explosion in April 2004 leads to further speculating along those lines. Could it be that the earlier explosion was an inadvertent detonation of TNT meant to mimic a nuclear test? Or is all this an inscrutable attempt to establish some kind of plausible deniability while at the same time massaging our fears?

10/09/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Oh yes! That's what we need to do! Get involved in massive ground combat in Korea against a foe armed with gazillions of ballistic missiles, some with nuclear warheads, and which is led by someone that makes Kadaffy Duck look like Kofi Anon.

North Korea has joined the nuclear club and now that need to realize that means getting hit with not a nuclear club but a nuclear sledgehammer.

The only ones streaming south will be the refugees.

10/09/2006 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Sirius Sir: About 8 miles from where I am sitting is a building full of people who will be able to tell if it was a fake nuke. It's what they do.

By the way, latest word I have heard is that the explosion was a 4.2

10/09/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

From the Department of wishful thinking.

It seems to me that North Korea might be lieing. It may have set off a huge conventional explosion to give the impression it had a nuke. Now it can use the belief that it has a nuke to extort aid from the UN.

Seems to me that trying to convince ourselves that this is not a nuke test is folly. Besides the Russians have already confirmed that it was indeed a Nuke.

And yes you can tell from the signature what sort of explosion it is.

For a little refresher course in Nukes. Fun pictures of suitcase nukes…you will want one in your backyard!

Btw this is only Bush's fault because he saw the threat and still decided to keep our military spending below that of Clinton's. And Clinton wasn't even in a war....impressive.


10/09/2006 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...


As good friend from college (1st generation Chinese-American who periodically appears on Discovery and History channels commenting on the Chinese coming to America), whenever I bring up Korea, goes into a cross between a rant and a mutter which ends "...they're not human anyway...."

While everybody is busy unknotting their shorts and contemplating surrender to nuclear powers with less than a kiloton, you might remember THIS

10/09/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

"My comment: It is my understanding that small-yield nukes are more difficult to build. "

The hard part is getting the Pu core machined properly and then put together in order to go critical and fission-detonate.

From there it is a scaling issue by adding more Pu or going with U-235 core as well as adding other gizmos to increase yield.

Today's automated milling machines can easily create just about anything and can be programmed by above-average machinists to do most anything. They can be used to do the pits as well as the molds for the explosives.

My local welding repair shop has a plasma table ( water bath ) and a milling machine and I can use either for $40 an hour. The milling machine is so good that with steel blanks I can make a complete car engine. The plasma table has an error rate of +- .01mm on its cuts and it is home-made.

10/09/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger John Lynch said...

The NKs lie all the time. There is no reason at all to take their word about anything. If they said the sun would rise in the East I wouldn't believe it until I saw it myself.
Chester examines the possibility
The higher the Richter measurement, the less likely this becomes.

10/09/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

MAP 4.2 2006/10/09 01:35:28 41.294 129.134 0.0 NORTH KOREA

Sam this is from the earthquake page at the USGS.

10/09/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Mediacode said...

That's scary.
I mean really.

I am just back from an asia-travel and again I couldn't find any reasons why anyone on earth shoult "protect" themselves with atomic weapons (if Korea builds them). Neither I see a reason why any other country should. (nor allow their citizens to carry guns...).

just my 5 cent...

Have a nice day (every day!),

Mediacode Joomla & SEO Solutions

10/09/2006 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

Teresita, I do believe the defense of South Korea is the responsibility of, ummm, the South Koreans! They do have an army you know and it’s pretty sizable: 500,000+ men, 5,000 Tanks & Armored Vehicles, 5,000+ pieces of Artillery. I do believe they will put up one hell of a fight given the reputation of ROK troops and the fact that they will be supported by American firepower. BTW, our Navy isn’t tied down in Iraq and is fully capable of bring North Korean to its knees all by itself. Yes, we will need boots on the ground to take control of NK, but given your hand-wringing about how the US is tied-down in Iraq, blah, blah, how do you think an occupation of NK will be any better. Especially given that two major powers, China and Russia, will be none too pleased if we were to invade Pajama Boy’s country.

10/09/2006 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

China didn't lose an iota of face in the NK test. they gave the "go ahead" if anything.

Why would we want any of our troops in South Korea? Especially now. We don't need our guys glowing in the dark or vaporized. Get them out.

The conventional wisdom is that the entire area, Japan, Taiwan, and anyone who can beg,borrow or steal will get the bomb. Sometimes conventional wisdom is right on the money.

The US proved it was once again unable to control all world events. I don't say this with any distain, we never could but our influence ostensibly is waning.

It's all good. Whether it be nukes,chemical, or biological weapons development will ALWAYS go forward, openly or clandestinely.

Kim Jung just dissed the West. It's all good.
Yo I told you u can't touch this
Why you standing there man u can't touch this
Yo sound the bells school is in sucker u can't touch this

10/09/2006 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger George M Weinert V said...

Yeah, listen to libs and this is what you get!

10/09/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

I believe tarnsman is on the money in his assessment of the conventional military situation in Korea. An evaluation of the comparative qualitative strengths of the two militaries gives the strong indication that in a all-out conventional war with North Korea, South Korea could not only resist, but could probably prevail.

NK's numbers aren't overwhelming, given the massive battlefield technology and training advantage present in SK's military.

The problem is not a conventional conflict. The problem renders conventional conflict far less relevant. Why? Because a conflict with NK could easily render Seoul, and its millions of inhabitants, a wasteland. . .be it through the use of nerve gas or nukes.

"Kim Jung just dissed the West."

That's about as meaningful a way to put it as possible. This move will not buy NK more territory, more genuine international respect, it won't really serve them at all. It's kinda like having a crazy streetwalker with a Saturday Night Special start waving a gun around. He spouts off alot but isn't really pointing at anyone in particular. ..but you still edge warily by and keep your eyes on the muzzle.

Not perfect, but the closest analogy I could think of.

10/09/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

The CongressVarmits are all home or on the road stumping for election goodies. But maybe this will wake up a few of them.

Then the next time that our Military asks for money they won't be so fast to give them less than they say they need but actually give them the amount requested. Also maybe they won't go back on their word and yank the money at a later time.

Both of which account for a lot of our problems in equipment, materials and R&D,(and total number of troops allowed) in the Military now.

For years, Congress has short sheeted the Military, making it difficult and sometimes impossible to even get a project going, let alone completed. They even stopped the Military from getting a replacement for the 5.56mm infantry weapon that our troops are forced to use now. Not to mention an anti-missile missile or or any number of other things.

It's a new world, they had better wake up and start shelling out the greenbacks for our Military and stay out of who (where, their state of course) gets the contracts.

Let the contracts go to whoever is the best qualified and wins an honest bidding process.

A few years back we were supposed to have additonal MRE's for our troops, better, better tasting. That little project is still a few years off from being completed.

Thanks to...guess who?

Papa Ray
West Texas

10/09/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger George M Weinert V said...

Yea and Iran will be next while the liberal Quislings masterubate away!
God Help us all!

10/09/2006 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Are we in need of a new doctrine -- the successor to the Cold War's Containment Doctrine backed by Mutual Assured Destruction?

One approach might be the Only One Free Shot doctrine, backed by the Subsequent Elimination of All Possible Aggressors, Guaranteed doctrine.

Left-wingers don't like pre-emption. The only alternative is to let the Bad Guys have one free shot -- let them nuke Berkeley or Paris or wherever. Millions of US citizens (or allies) must die, to salve the conscience of the Left.

Then there would be the Subsequent Elimination of All Possible Aggressors, Guaranteed. Massive nuclear strikes on North Korea, Iran, Pakistan. No US ground forces involved. No Marshall Plan for the defeated aggressors. And regular follow-up nuclear strikes as required. A country could of course get off that list by verified elimination of its nuclear capabilities.

Hey, it is a doctrine even a Democrat could love.

10/09/2006 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

The Air Force and Navy can hit infrastructure, but there isn't a lot to hit (ever see the night photo of NK from space?)...and military stuff is hundreds or thousands of feet underground. Any attack we make will be followed by an invasion of South Korea, which we can't stop because we are tied down in Iraq pretending to be beat cops.

Teresita: there is a reason we have tactical nuclear weapons. Kim doesn't believe we will use them. Neither does Ahmadh-Nejad. Neither do you. When Bush mentioned the word "deterrent" today, that's what he meant. And he meant it.

Try to understand that we have a huge menu of choices available to use, even before we get to the nuclear weapons menu.

Great pic of Naomi Armitage as your avatar, btw.

10/09/2006 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Kydixie said...

Is there any chance this was conventional rather than nuclear?

Dean Browning

10/09/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Whitehall said...

A small size explosion like 550 tons of TNT (0.55 kT) is pretty hard to detect and quantify seismicly.

A difference in the railway explosion and an underground nuke test is the unground explosion is better coupled to the rock while over half the energy in a surface explosion goes into the air - more sound and less shake.

One can do certain things to muffle an underground explosion such as set it off inside a big cavern but that has never been considered too effective.

If indeed it was a small yield, it would probably be a fizzle as controlling a suboptimal reaction is a sophisticated technique. I'd guess that either the conventional explosives that compress the core were not optimized or else the plutonium was not pure enough Pu-239. Too many spontaneous fissions will result in premature criticality before optimum compression is reached.

So what has changed? The regime has decided to not hide and to declare itself a weapon state. It used to be called "throwing down the gauntlet."

10/09/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Is there any chance this was conventional rather than nuclear?

There's a chance Kim wasn't quite ready for prime time and he had a that the HE trigger went off but the fissile material didn't. Very embarrassing when you announce the test ahead of time, which no other nuclear power ever does. We'll know for sure in a couple more days. You can't fake the seismic nuke signature. It's in America's interest that it was a nuke, that gives us an excuse to walk from the talks and start selling hardware to Japan. It's in the appeaser's interest that it was faked, Kim was just kidding, we have to go back to the talks. Therefore, we'll wait for someone like France to make the case that it was a dud.

10/09/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Mollie said...

As a northern Canadian, I think of Alaska.. As I am sure the NoKos have... US territory, an alternative to Hawaii..

And think! If a lot of 'wildlife' is murdered in the process, along with some nthropologically 'interesting' Yupik folk.. well even the Lefties will get into a genuine foot stamping snit at NoKo.

10/09/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/09/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

cedarford wrote:

"Schwartz's timing on this was - well--perfect! Not for him, but perfect."


Maybe not

10/09/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

...and then there would be THIS.

10/09/2006 07:01:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Powered by Blogger