North Korea

North Korea Announces Re-opening of Nuclear Reactor, Insists It Won't Sell Nuclear Weapons to Anyone

White House says latest from North Korea part of a pattern


grand closing, grand opening

Kim Jong Un announced North Korea would be re-opening its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, telling the Central Committee the country would keep building a nuclear arsenal "because imperialists keep threatening us with their nuclear forces."

The facility's cooling tower was publicly demolished in 2008 after multilateral talks with the U.S. that also led to the country being taken off the U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism (currently made up of Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria). North Korea has been making threats and conducting missile tests  since Kim Jong Un took over after his father's death in December 2011. The U.S. has largely responded through the United Nations, condemning regrettable provocations and warning of consequences. U.S.-South Korean military exercises have continued in the region.  The White House called North Korea's latest announcement part of a "pattern of violating its international obligations."

A North Korean statement, meanwhile, called the country's nuclear arsenal a "treasure" that could not be sold even for "billions of dollars," while simultaneously insisting the program wasn't going to be a "bargaining chip." (North Korea is starving, so it is)

For his part, Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. Secretary General and career South Korean diplomat, said in a press conference earlier today in Andorra the situation had already "gone too far," that "nuclear threats are not a game" and "things must calm down."

Even if everyone's  talking at each other and not to each other, at least they're not shooting at each other. Nevertheless, North Korea remains a hellhole. Watch an interview by Reason TV with Shin Dong-hyuk, who was born in and escaped a North Korean prison camp:

NEXT: Mortar Fired into Golan Heights

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  1. I’m mildly surprised South Korea hasn’t just blown up a bunch of stuff by now. I imagine their military capabilities are far beyond North Korea’s, and they probably could knock out the threatening artillery and rockets in a preemptive strike. Which wouldn’t be all that preemptive now, anyway.

    All assuming there’s no nuke buried in Seoul somewhere.

    1. I don’t know if SK is stronger than NK. They seem to be more interested in food and Starcraft than weapons. And they have Uncle Sam wrapped around their little finger.

      1. I think they’re probably amazingly more equipped for modern warfare. It’s not like the U.S. has a heavy presence there, and the big threat comes from the initial attack.

        1. The US has an active military base in Seoul. An attack on Seoul is an attack on the US. There’s an entire district in Seoul where getting American goods is easier due to the “black market” trade of goods between local vendors and military personnel, and every street vendor sells do-rags.

          Many of the other large cities have at least one military base within city limits.

          1. Itaewon is the foreign district in Seoul. It’s an absolutely insane place. I go there every month or so to get taco spices, sour cream and other shit I can’t get down in Daejeon (about an hour south by fast train).

            It’s by far the skeeziest place in Korea, at least that I’ve been to. It’s the only place where you might see a fight or some drug dealing might go down. A lot of the bars refuse to accept military personel because of the trouble they cause. I have to show my visa to get into bars to prove that I’m a teacher.

      2. Even ignoring the US presence, the South is in a much better position to win a war than the North is. Better equipped, double the population, far larger economy

    2. North Korea has a fuckton of artillery and shit trained on Seoul. Their whole thing is that they’ve made it so that no matter how fast South Korea takes them out, they will still have enough to rain a significant amount of death and destruction on the city. This is how they’ve held South Korea hostage for years. It’s shitty.

      1. You know, when you read anything about historical warfare, from almost any period, it seems like armies were digging tunnels with their sappers to deal with sieges. Why don’t they do that now? Dig tunnels to the artillery sites and blow their shit up. Or, at least, mine it.

        I imagine the U.S. probably could take out the artillery with a stealth attack.

        I’m not advocating anything here, just thinking about what might happen.

        1. And if the attack fucks up at all, tens of thousands (or more) people in Seoul die.

          You want to take that risk?

          1. I have friends who served on the DMZ and they all said to a man that if anything ever breaks out Seoul would get hit hard and there would be little anyone could do about it initially. Sure, afterwards NK would be a smoking ruin, but it only takes a few big enough rockets to hit a densely populated city like Seoul to cause serious casualties.

          2. Hell, I’ll take that risk.

            I don’t know anyone in Seoul.


        2. The ROKS, USAF and USN don’t have enough ordnance to take out everything… and the minute one thing blew up, the NORKS would just fire all their prepositioned stuff that survived. Bleah.

          I hate to say it, but the best chance these folks have is internal revolt/coup/Romania as the Ceacescus got run down.

          1. The ROKS, USAF and USN don’t have enough ordnance to take out everything…

            Depends if you want to count nukes…

        3. The North has already tried tunneling and was found out. It’s pretty easy to figure out if there’s a tunnel under you.

          And the artillery is all over the place and mobile, there isn’t one giant artillery building with a big X on the roof that we could just bomb. NK rocket wiki

          There’s a reason no one wants to start bombing the shit out of NK. It’s because there would most likely be massive civilian casualties in the South. The leaders in the north aren’t so crazy as to have lost all sense of self-preservation.

          1. Guess I should type faster…

        4. If I were to advocate anything, it would be HALOing in black ops to kidnap Kimmie and a bunch of generals, ala Cortez and Montezuma.

        5. NK is said to have thousands of cannon aimed a Seoul. Unless you can destroy 99% of them in the first minute or two, the remaining ones would kill a lot of people.

          It would probably take years to eliminate all that NK artillery.

    3. In a 1 on 1 fight (no US, no China) it would probably be a pretty even fight because South Korea has been systematically ignoring their military for 40 years relying on the US to protect them from any sudden incursions from the north.

      However if you gave the South 20 years advance notice that they were going to be on their own then a war between NK and SK would look something like your local Pop Warner team playing against the Baltimore Ravens in full pads.

      Even there however there is pretty much no way to stop the Norks from killing a million or so civilians in Seoul

        1. Iron Dome protects against a relatively small number of moderate range rockets, it would do nothing against 10,000 artillery shells and short range rockets incoming within a 4 hour period

          1. This is why we upgrade it to Steel or Titanium Dome.

      1. Baltimore Ravens

        Fuck Art Modell and fuck you.

      2. That’s a very insensitive remark to make with Warty around.

        1. You’re not my real team! *runs upstairs, slams bedroom door*

        2. Hey my wife is a Baltimore Ravens fan so I gotta give them some props.

          That said Warty can come out now because I chose them because (through last year at least) they were a team known for a rough, tough, and somewhat dirty defense, not just because they are the reigning SB champs so in a way I was kinda slamming them.

      3. “In a 1 on 1 fight (no US, no China) it would probably be a pretty even fight”

        Maybe at first, but I think having twice the population and a much larger economy (and all that means when it comes to supplying troops and maintaining a war effort) would allow the South to prevail

        1. In a long fight sure, but being outnumbered 2 or even 3 to 1 and not much territory to trade for time to call up your reserves, even with massive technological superiority you have a problem on your hands.

          Which is not to say I think the Norks could win but it would be a pretty even fight today.

  2. Every time Kim Jong-* opens his mouth all I hear is “I’m so ronery.”

    The proper treatment for this guy is the same as for every other attention whore. Ignore him and he’ll go away.

    1. It worked with his dad, certainly. It sounds like the current South Korean government is less tolerant of that approach, feeling that the north will keep trying to push the envelope a bit more.

    2. No, he won’t go away; he might stop messing with us. But there’s still the moral dilemma of the gulags and starvation which the NORKs have to live with. As pointed out above, if we attack NORK they’ll shell Seoul.

  3. How you rike me NOW, Hans Brix?! Do you know how fucking BUSY I am?!!

  4. Nice Chris Rock reference, Ed.

  5. North Korea remains a hellhole

    How bad could it be? They have LAW AND ORDER.

    1. I ORDER you, that is the law!

      /Party cadre member

    2. and free healthcare.

    3. They’re as libertarian as Tulpa is!

    4. I love watching stuff about NK on youtube and there are a surprising amount of people with serious comments like that.

      Weirdly enough, they’re usually white supremacists. Seriously.

      1. Tulpa is a white supremacist?

  6. Line the border with schools and declare them gun free zones. No more problems.

  7. If any of y’all didn’t see this link I posted the other day:

    America according to North Korea

    I’m just happy that today is bird tuesday, I’m sick of snow…

    1. So long as we’re re-posting stuff about the strangest country on Earth, North Korean meth!

      1. It’s funny, the people I mention above in the comments’ section for the videos I’ve seen always argue that North Korea doesn’t have druggies like us lazy Americans.

        1. Considering the types of idiots you mentioned who’ve been commenting, that’s not too surprising. As others here have mentioned when I’ve previously linked similar articles, if you lived in North Korea, meth would be a Godsend.

  8. I was thinking about the N Koreans and their threats over the weekend.

    I came up with a (hopefully) unlikely scenario.

    Now, we know that the NK’s nuclear weapons are crude, primitive, too heavy for their ballistic missiles to lift to the US. But what if they didn’t go for a nuclear attack per se? What if they decided to carry out the Dr. Strangelove scenario? We know they can’t feed their people, that they have a tiger by the tail. We also know that they have everyone in the nation classified (they hope) as to their loyalty, fervor, Juche-ness, etc. We know they have at least a few extremely deep shelters and possibly large numbers of them. So what if they decided to provoke a war with biological or radiological weapons? They could take their small, dedicated cadre underground while the US nukes the surface, definitely taking care of their surplus and potentially disloyal population. I know we have put effort into developing deep penetrating weapons but the NKs have put a lot of effort into preparing for nuclear war (or appearing to?) with the US.

    1. Thanks for that cheery bit of thought.

      Now we have a mine shaft gap!

    2. I don’t think they have a clue as to what the US is technologically capable of. While they may not be as deluded as their public statements make them sound, living in a bubble can distort your worldview tremendously. At the highest level, there is NO ONE who will offer corrective feedback to their leaders, so their insanity goes unchallenged. While this makes them dangerous, it also means that they are blind at a basic strategic level.

      1. This.

        Don’t forget how fearsome the soviet army looked until the curtain fell. You can’t take their agitprop about what size military they have at face value. I think in the first Gulf war, Iraq was considered to be in the top 5 or 10 military powers on paper. But what happens when you throw oppressed conscripts at a modern army? They frag their officers and surrender.

        On paper, NK might look tough. They may have a bunch of mobile artillery pointed at Seoul. How much of that is actually functional I think is an open question.

  9. You know, the mouth of the Pearl River at Canton during the Opium Wars was supposed to be guarded by several fortresses with enough cannon to take on the British fleet. It turned out that nobody had maintained or fired the cannons with anything but a powder charge in so long that they were rusted solid and couldn’t traverse. What are the odds that the generals in charge of the artillery and rockets have been systematically funneling the maintenance fund to their own lifestyle in NK? I would guess high.

    1. Pretty much my thoughts too, Brett, despite their legendary discipline.

      While parts of Seoul are within the 15 miles or so of the DMZ that’s the range of your basic artillery round, most of it isn’t. Accordingly, the figures I’ve seen of “millions of deaths” from the hypothetical Nork barrage are probably overstated. Still, thousands of dead South Koreans would be a very large tragedy and much more expensive than continuing to give danegeld. Which is why nothing substantive has happened despite the literally 10s of armed provocations and conflicts the North has engaged in over these last 60 years.

      The solution to the NK nuclear threat is to inform their largest patron, China that the US will treat a NK nuclear attack as if if came from China and would act accordingly. We are agreed that China has the power to remove that fat little whitehead from the skin of the Korean Peninsula if necessary, right?

      They don’t want to, because, like the calculus above, it’s more expensive for them to have a fully Westernized Korea on their borders (as well as the interim problem of dealing with several million refugee Norks) than it is to keep paying off the Kims and keeping their little buffer state. Ensuring that China has some liability, if their client goes nuts, changes that cost benefit equation.

    2. The odds probably are high, but you’re gambling with the possibility of tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in just a day or two of artillery bombardments if you’re wrong.

    3. ^^This.

      As to Seoul, that city has lived under the umbrella of NORK artillery for ~60 years. The civil defense infrastructure is is probably some of the most developed in the world.

      The NORK attack would suck and kill lots of people, but still be a lot less effective than many people predict.

      The ROK Army has a significant technological edge and has as many people in it as the US Army.

      Take China out of the equation; there would only be one Korea.

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