Search for

No matches. Check your spelling and try again, or try altering your search terms for better results.


Feb 12, 2013 | 17:45 GMT

2 mins read

North Korea's Nuclear Test

Stratfor's graphic of the day features a standout geopolitical map, chart, image or data visualization reflecting global and regional trends and events.
North Korea's Nuclear Test

North Korea claimed to conduct a successful underground nuclear test in the northeastern province of North Hamgyong on Feb. 12. While it is not yet clear what sort of device North Korea tested, initial estimates suggest a 6- to 7-kiloton yield, which is slightly larger than past North Korean tests. Prior to the test, it was suspected that the North would test a uranium device following its two earlier plutonium tests. This would mark another step in North Korea's nuclear program, though North Korea has long been known to be working on a secondary uranium program, and in some ways a nuclear reaction with uranium is technically easier to effectively detonate than a plutonium reaction. It also could be a third plutonium test, as North Korea continues to refine its nuclear program and work toward a viable nuclear weapon, as opposed to just a nuclear device. Although Pyongyang has pursued a strategy of survival based on presenting a fearsome, irrational yet weak image, the North views its nuclear and missile program as more than just a bargaining chip. Pyongyang is pursuing what it considers a viable deterrent: a weaponized nuclear device that can fit on a missile. This deterrent would not be necessary for North Korea's neighbors — they are already within reach of North Korea's conventional weapons — but instead would be directed at Washington, even though a small number of nuclear missiles would not significantly threaten the United States. Pyongyang also sees in the program a way of removing its dependence on China. Pyongyang has sought an independent deterrent in order to feel confident enough to either open direct talks with the United States to bring a final resolution to the armistice in place since 1953 on the Korean Peninsula, or to simply move forward with domestic economic experiments without the fear of U.S. interference.

North Korea's Nuclear Test
2 Geo |  2 Topics |  1 Themes 

Copyright © Stratfor Enterprises, LLC. All rights reserved.

Stratfor Worldview


To empower members to confidently understand and navigate a continuously changing and complex global environment.

Google Play