World War III Alert: North Korea could be a step away from developing atomic bomb

Kim Jong Un claims Pyongyang has hydrogen bomb, but experts do not believe
By @vitthernandez on
Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) visits the Phyongchon Revolutionary Site, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang December 10, 2015 Reuters

Is the world moving again towards another global war? This is the question that many nations want a clear answer, but given that the claim North Korea has a hydrogen bomb came from Kim Jong Un further muddles confirmation.

After all, his regime is known for its secrecy as well as nuclear ambitions which he further hinted when he disclosed the ownership of a hydrogen bomb. He was touring on Thursday the Phyongchon Revolutionary Site, the place that marks the contributions of his late father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim Il Sung, reports NBC.

He said the legacy left by his grandfather is turning North Korea into a “powerful nuclear weapons state ready to detonate a self-reliant [atomic] bomb and [hydrogen] bomb to reliably defend its sovereignty and the dignity of the nation,” quotes KCNA.  Pyongyang’s carrying out of tests to set off nuclear devices in 2006, 2009 and 2013 merited sanctions from the UN, banning trade and financing activities that would help its weapons programme.

However, western experts are skeptic of Pyongyang’s capability and capacity to make a hydrogen bomb. “I think that virtually impossible,” says Daniel Pinkston, and expert on North Korea’s nuclear weapons but based in Romania. Pinkston, who speaks fluent Korean, points out that the statement came from Kim and not from the Politburo or the National Defense Commission to extol the virtues of his father and grandfather and cement their legacy and his legitimate hold on power.

He clarifies that what Kim said was North Korea has become a nuclear estate with capability to create the boom of a hydrogen bomb or atomic bomb. Pinkston stressed that Kim only spoke of capability, but it does not mean the communist state had developed a bomb. “I’m super skeptical that they’ve been to make this scientific advancement,” Pinkston adds.

Despite the distinction of an atomic bomb using fission to break up the atomic nucleus and release energy, and a hydrogen or thermonuclear bomb using fusion to add to the nucleus, both bombs would still lead to an uncontrolled, self-sustaining chain reactions and cause a lot of damage.

Hydrogen Bomb 1952 FILE PHOTO - The mushroom cloud of the first test of a hydrogen bomb, "Ivy Mike", as photographed on Enewetak, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean, in 1952, by a member of the United States Air Force's Lookout Mountain 1352d Photographic Squadron. The top secret film studio, then located in Hollywood, California, produced thousands of classified films for the Department of Defence and the Atomic Energy Commission beginning in 1947. A 50th anniversary tribute to these "Atomic Cinematographers" and their work is planned for October 22 in Hollywood.  Reuters

The skepticism was shared by intelligence experts at South Korean who say that Kim’s words were only rhetoric and The Washington Post as well which notes that in the past few months, Pyongyang boasted of launching a submarine ballistic missile, manufacturing nuclear war heads that could fit on a missile and it has opened again its key nuclear facility at Yongbyon, but all proved to be a dud similar to its earlier claim of a missile launch that did not happen.

The same doubt was shared by Zhang Liangui, a Nokor expert based at the Central Party School in China and once studied at the Kim Il Sung University. He cites the absence of a single test to prove their claim is true and shares his belief that Kim’s purpose was to gain recognition from the international community as a nuclear state.

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