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North Korean leader vows 'high profile' retaliation

By Hyung-Jin Kim

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:22 a.m. HST, Jan 27, 2013

SEOUL » North Korean leader Kim Jong Un convened top security and foreign affairs officials and ordered them to take "substantial and high-profile important state measures," state media said today, fueling speculation that he plans to push forward with a threat to explode a nuclear device in defiance of the United Nations.

The meeting of top officials led by Kim underscores Pyongyang's defiant stance in protest of U.N. Security Council punishment for a December rocket launch. The dispatch in the official Korean Central News Agency did not say when the meeting took place.

Last week, the Security Council condemned North Korea's Dec. 12 launch of a long-range rocket as a violation of a ban against nuclear and missile activity. The council, including North Korea ally China, punished Pyongyang with more sanctions and ordered the regime to refrain from a nuclear test — or face "significant action."

North Korea responded by rejecting the resolution and maintaining its right to launch a satellite into orbit as part of a peaceful civilian space program.

It warned that it would keep developing rockets and testing nuclear devices to counter what it sees as U.S. hostility. A rare statement was issued Thursday by the powerful National Defense Commission, the top governing body led by Kim.

Kim's order for firm action and the recent series of strong statements indicate he intends to conduct a nuclear test in the near future to show "he is a young yet powerful leader both domestically and internationally," said Chin Hee-gwan, a North Korea expert at South Korea's Inje University.

North Korea cites a U.S. military threat in the region as a key reason behind its drive to build nuclear weapons. The countries fought on opposite sides of the Korean War, which ended after three years in 1953 with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The U.S.-led U.N. Command mans the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas, and Washington stations more than 28,000 troops in South Korea to protect its ally.

North Korea is estimated to have enough weaponized plutonium for four to eight bombs, according to American nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker, who visited the country's nuclear complex northwest of Pyongyang in November 2010.

However, it is not known whether North Korean scientists have found a way to build nuclear warheads small enough to mount on a long-range missile.

Experts say regular tests are needed to perfect the technique, and another atomic test could take the country closer to its goal of building a warhead that can be mounted on a missile designed to strike the United States. North Korea has carried out two nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009.

South Korean defense officials say North Korea is technically ready to conduct a nuclear test in a matter of days.

Satellite photos taken Wednesday show that over the past month, roads have been kept clear of snow and that North Koreans may have been sealing the tunnel into a mountainside where a nuclear device would be detonated.

Analysis of the images of the Punggye-ri site was provided Friday to The Associated Press by 38 North, the website of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Kim could order a nuclear test ahead of the Feb. 16th birthday of his late father and former leader Kim Jong Il to "create a festive mood," Chin predicted. Kim Jong Il died at age 69 in December 2011.

The U.S., South Korea and other countries have warned North Korea not to go ahead with a nuclear test, saying that would only deepen the country's international isolation.

After meeting with Chinese officials Friday, U.S. envoy for North Korea Glyn Davies said a nuclear test would set back efforts to restart regional talks on the North's nuclear disarmament.

North Korea has accused the U.S. and South Korea of leading the push for the U.N. Security Council resolution.

Today's KCNA dispatch said the U.N. punishment indicates U.S. hostility toward North Korea has reached its highest point. North Korea warned South Korea on Friday of "strong physical countermeasures" if Seoul takes part in the U.N. sanctions.

Japan today launched two intelligence satellites into orbit amid concerns about North Korea's threats to conduct more rocket launches and a nuclear test.

The launch was in the planning stages long before the ongoing tensions with North Korea, but underscores Japan's longstanding wariness of its neighbor's abilities and intentions. Japan began its intelligence satellite program after North Korea fired a long-range missile over Japan's main island in 1998.

Associated Press writer Eric Talmadge contributed to this report from Tokyo.

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hikine wrote:
North Korea always threatens to do things to irritate the US and the US is falling for this game. Let them do what they want to do then we have a reason to invade them, at least we know they have WMD unlike what we did in IRAQ!
on January 27,2013 | 03:33AM
thebostitch wrote:
No one will invade N. Korea, at least not us and not now with the wimp president that we have. All Obama will ever do is send words to N.Korea, at least till if N.Korea will actually attack us, hopefully that will never happen, but if God forbid that N.Korea will ever send a bomb to US, it will be most likely to Hawaii since it is the closest US territory. Of course that will be the stupidest thing N.Korea could ever do, and I don't think even they are that stupid, they are just Communists that hate Democracy and Liberty for the People, they hate the Free World so all they could and do is to try to irritate us and the World. To make thinks worse Kim Jong Un is like a little kid that gets bored and needs attention.
on January 27,2013 | 04:40AM
paintslinger wrote:
We are not the final word on N.Korea. When a country has a government such as N.Korea, truculent, oppressive and backward, to say nothing of flat out dangerous, then that government should be taken out, eliminated for the good of all nations. This requires a global or world government response. This obsession with national sovereignty that we have is simply allowing the likes of N.Korea and to some extent Iran, to become the bane of the earth. Unity of nations and a global police force or army is needed...than jerkweeds like N.Korea's leadership would be removed in five minutes.
on January 27,2013 | 05:25AM
geralddeheer wrote:
Ask Bin Laden if Obama is a 'wimp' president. Now, who is the bigger wimp; the President of the United States or a forum participant who hides behind a pen name?
on January 27,2013 | 06:43AM
thebostitch wrote:
Bush did set up everything that lead to the capture of Bi laden, Obama just took the credit, and Obama could not make a decision for a very long time when it came to it. All Obama knows and could do well is read a TelePrompter!
on January 27,2013 | 08:57AM
copperwire9 wrote:
That's beyond 'thin' as far as logic goes. But perhaps you also believe Bush set up the economic collapse that Obama's been coping with for four years too? Hmmmm? No? Well.
on January 27,2013 | 09:26AM
thebostitch wrote:
The Economic collapse was started and is caused 100% by the Democrats. People like Chuck Schumer are responsible for the start of entire financial fiasco. And I remember in 2008 before the elections, on the days that Obama was predicted to win the stuck market was dropping drastically, and on the days he was predicted to lose the stock market recovered. So what about the first 2 years of Obama presidency when he had a majority in the house and senate, why then the biggest collapse of our economy happen? Then Obama could do what ever he wanted. After that the only thing the Republicans did were trying to reduce the damage Obama's policies were doing already, and that is still happening. So, after 4 more years from now when the economy will be in even worse shape than now, who will Obama blame then? still Bush?
on January 27,2013 | 11:19AM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
It'll still be Bush's fault four years from now.
on January 27,2013 | 04:45PM
allie wrote:
daffy comment
on January 27,2013 | 07:38AM
venacular50 wrote:
In the past, his father benefitted from this type of talk. Russia and China were poor big brothers in waiting, to help their cause. Now, Russia is fractured into smaller countries, China has become more wealthy like the US (loving money) and no one really cares about North Korea. China is becoming increasingly annoyed with North Korea and it may be the Chinese that will stamp out the current dynasty. In an all out attack, the Chinese or US can remove North Korea from the world map. The new leader is getting bad advice or just as warped as his father, either way he'll not enjoy the power his father had. He is becoming his own worse enemy and will be taught, no one messes with the Chinese money for long.
on January 27,2013 | 04:37AM
islandsun wrote:
South Koreans are blessed with a good economy and education. But what are they doing for themselves as far as their security? Not Much!
on January 27,2013 | 06:12AM
koolau wrote:
I don't know where you got your information on the South Koreans, but ask anyone in the know about their military in the Vietnam crises. They were the most feared by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. As mentioned above, the South Koreans have much more to lose than that of North Korea and would be even nastier than they were in Vietnam, defending their home turf. If North Korea went head to head with the South Koreans, I'd lay money on the latter.
on January 27,2013 | 06:50AM
bobbob wrote:
really??? You do remember what happened during the korean war right? you do realize how close seoul is to the dmz right? You know how big NK's army is right? You do understand how large NK's conventional artillery capability is right, and that it can basically flatten seoul in a first strike?
on January 27,2013 | 07:07AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Koolau is correct. They were fearless. That I remeber well. They had a 3 initial name, I forgot what it was.
on January 27,2013 | 08:57AM
Bdpapa wrote:
ROK was what they were called.
on January 27,2013 | 09:05AM
IAmSane wrote:
What happened during the Korean War? That was then, and now is now. Yes, NK has a large military, but SK also has one of the largest in the world. SK weapons and technologies are modern; NK still use weapons from the 70s & 80s. SK could take NK single-handedly. Now, if China ever got involved and backed the NK, that's a different story...
on January 27,2013 | 04:02PM
allie wrote:
SK should reimburse America for the use of our troops. Same with the rich germans
on January 27,2013 | 07:39AM
turbolink wrote:
You should learn why we are forward based before you make uninformed remarks.
on January 27,2013 | 12:10PM
808warriorfan wrote:
on January 27,2013 | 07:56AM
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