Created on: February 02, 2013 Last Updated: February 04, 2013
The hard line, slightly paranoid regime in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, are ratcheting up the tension in Northeast Asia again. Japan has gone into a condition of alerts as North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK) prepares to detonate a nuclear bomb—the rogue regime's third since 2009. Intelligence experts assessing North Korea's nuclear stockpile place the number of atomic weapons between a low of five to as many as twelve.
Underscoring the seriousness and the tension developing between China, Japan, and the United States, Kim Jong-un the leader of the DPRK has placed his entire country under martial law, warned the population that war could break out at any moment, and covered the nuclear test area so spy planes and satellites cannot see what's happening on the ground, effectively blocking Japan and the West's ability to anticipate when the nuclear blast may occur.
In December the DPRK launched a missile banned by UN treaty. Late in January 2013, the communist state launched another rocket claiming its range could reach the West Coast of the United States. Experts agreed the rocket could reach San Francisco.
Many analysts say the rocket was not a military missile—it placed a small satellite into orbit. Despite that the UN Security Council nevertheless has imposed additional sanctions on North Korea for violating earlier warnings and for the January launch.
Although ignored within most Western military circles and the media, North Korea tore up the peace Armistice back in 2010 and declared itself again in a full state of war with its two major enemies: South Korea and the United States.
The North Korean paper, Joongang Daily reported on February 2 that leaders of the DPRK had an emergency meeting of the country's highest ranking security and military officials. The meeting was wide ranging and covered plans to improve the nuclear stockpile, defend against America, impose martial law across the country in preparation for war, and solidified plans to detonate another nuclear weapon.
Concerning the nuclear test, the Daily Telegraph reports that "analysts had predicted that the blast would be timed to coincide with the birthday on February 16 of Kim Jong-il, the former leader who died in late 2011, or the inauguration of the new government in South Korea nine days later."
For many years North Korea has worked to develop the ultimate weapon to be used against its greatest foe, the U.S.
The regime has stated its intention time and again to mate nuclear weapons to long range missiles designed to reach America. North Korean military officials have stated in the past their ultimate goal is to develop and deploy weapons technology able to generate devastating electromagnetic pulses that would tear America's electronic infrastructure apart. A successful attack would catapult most, or all of, the U.S. back to 19th Century technology with a matter of minutes or hours.
The current and former Unites States Secretaries of Defense take the threat very seriously. Intelligence analysts and nuclear engineers say the rogue nation could achieve its goals.
To date, no direct action has been taken to thwart the rising threat.
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