The Rise Of Nuclear North Korea

Over the past decades, North Korea has become politically and economically isolated from the rest of the world. So, how did North Korea become a nuclear power threat?

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U.S. and Seoul Disagree on North Korean Nuclear Threat

Last week, Adm. William Gortney, head of the U.S. Northern Command, said North Korea is capable of mounting a nuclear warhead onto a long-range ballistic missile-one that could strike U.S. soil. At a Pentagon press briefing, Adm. Gortney said, "Our assessment is that they have the ability to put a nuclear weapon on a KN-08 and shoot it at the homeland."

His opinions appear to clash with that of South Korea. The country's vice defense minister spoke at a press conference on Monday and said while North Korea has made progress is developing a smaller nuclear weapon, whatever they have is not small enough to mount on a viable long-range missile. Baek Seung-joo said the U.S. has not made a thorough assessment of North Korea's nuclear program.

Such a high level disagreement could impact the possible construction of an advanced U.S. missile-defense system known as Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery (Thaad) in South Korea. According to the Wall Street Journal, South Korea would prefer to construct its own missile-defense system, partly to appease China, which fears U.S.' Thaad could threaten Beijing.

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Agreed Framework Between The United States of America And The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (Arms Control Association)
"Delegations of the governments of the United States of America (U.S.) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) held talks in Geneva from September 23 to October 21, 1994, to negotiate an overall resolution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula."

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) (U.S. State Department)
"The NPT aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to foster the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of disarmament. The Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the responsibility of the IAEA, which also plays a central role under the Treaty in areas of technology transfer for peaceful purposes."

North Korea And Weapons Of Mass Destruction (World Heritage Encyclopedia)
"The nuclear program can be traced back to about 1962, when North Korea committed itself to what it called "all-fortressization," which was the beginning of the hyper militarized North Korea of today."