East Asia on edge: Fifth North Korean test raises specter of nuclear missile terrorism

by WorldTribune Staff, September 9, 2016

North Korea announced its fifth nuclear weapons test only hours after South Korea noted unusual seismic activity near the North’s northeastern nuclear test site.

Four of the five tests have taken place during the Barack Obama administration and the first under the George W. Bush administration.

Soldiers and a civilian in South Korea watch TV news report of the most recent North Korean nuclear weapons test. / Reuters
Soldiers and a civilian in South Korea watch TV news report of the most recent North Korean nuclear weapons test. / Reuters

The U.S. policy toward North Korea has relied on China controlling Pyongyang’s ambitions despite recent reports that China has provided assistance to the rogue regime for its strategic programs.

Pyongyang claimed in its state-run media report that a test had “finally examined and confirmed the structure and specific features of movement of (a) nuclear warhead that has been standardized to be able to be mounted on strategic ballistic rockets.”

“The standardization of the nuclear warhead will enable (North Korea) to produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power,” North Korea said.

In Washington, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said in a statement: “International sanctions and diplomacy have failed in the face of North Korea’s grim resolve to become a nuclear power.”

“A credible U.S. policy toward North Korea must include the designation of Chinese entities responsible for aiding in the DPRK’s proliferation activities,” Cruz said.

South Korean intelligence officials told legislators in a closed briefing after the test that North Korea can not currently develop nuclear weapons that can be mounted on ballistic missiles, but did confirm that the communist regime is advancing more quickly than previously estimates, according to Kim Byung-Kee, of the opposition Minjoo Party.

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye issued a statement that the test showed the “fanatic recklessness of the Kim Jong-Un government as it clings to nuclear development.”

“North Korea should be on notice that the United States will not tolerate their destabilizing aggression — and other rogue regimes pursuing nuclear capability like Iran should be on notice that we will not allow this history to repeat itself,” Cruz said.

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