Seismic Activity in North Korea (um, nuke)

It looks like North Korea has blown up a nuke, wild guesses as to the magnitude (as I’m writing this, about 5). Not a surprise, hopefully underground Monday, 10:30 AM Korea time (was underground). This was a SMALL detonation, and could have been lots of TNT, 550 tons equivalent of TNT, though the USGS hasn’t confirmed an event, scratch, confirmed, no proof it was nuclear (OK, it was nuclear).

I’m listening to Rick Francona (LtCol, USAF, Ret) on MSNBC, who rightly brings up the important issue, just because you have a nuke doesn’t mean it is deliverable as a weapon. The only 2 nuclear weapons actually used (1945) had PhD physicists on the planes to make sure they would work. Just because they have a nuke doesn’t mean they can do anything other than blow up their own territory.

The simple fact is that this was under international law, an illegal event. The South African, Israeli, Pakistani, and Indian nuclear test were NOT (blabber to the contrary) because those countries had never signed off on (and confirmed legislatively) the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (the Vienna Convention on Treaties, particularly Article 18 are important here). North Korea years ago agreed (think of it as a contract) to not makes nukes. But now they have.

In addition, NK violated a 1994 agreement with the US & Japan. But NK has massively violated the six-party talks, and the NPT.

On the news, “No military response” WTF? For what?

PS, I’m probably one of the 10,000 Americans that has read the entire NPT Treaty, along with the negotiating record. I know what Article 6 meant when it was negotiated, vice what first year law interns at NGOs think it means. I broke from usual OTB format and only give commentary, no links, too many links.

As for Japan building its own nuclear weapons, that is want only the press will invent.

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Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


  1. Issues that were on the front burner as recently as yesterday will be swept aside for the time being. Today, it’s a whole new ballgame, with talk radio in position to cover every last detail of this major global crisis. Blogs, of course, didn’t waste a moment, filing late reports on Sunday evening. How will the libtalkers deal with it? Will they find a way to blame Bush? From the BBC: North Korea says it has carried out its first test of a nuclear weapon, the state news agency (KCNA) has reported.

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  4. Fel says:

    Richard, not sure what you meant by your last sentence:

    “As for Japan building its own nuclear weapons, that is want only the press will invent.”

  5. Richard Gardner says:

    Japan could have built nuclear weapons 30 years ago, so anything the NORKs do is a joke.

  6. Kirk Larsen says:

    Since the DPRK announced that it had withdrawn from the NPT several years ago, I’m not sure if your “illegal” argument is as strong as you make it to be.

  7. The Lone Elm says:

    Korean Nuclear Test Finally Edges Foley Story Out of the Limelight…

    Unhappily, the North Koreans have proceed with a nuclear bomb test. See AP report at Yahoo and BBC. The good news is that this will finally move the Foley story onto the back burner where it belongs; the bad news…

  8. The Heretik says:


    White House sources who cannot speak on the record, but speak anonymously anyway say George Bush later today will say what goes without saying. “The Koreanal leader must understand the world will never allow a madman to acquire nuclear weapons, …