Analysis

North Korea: Nuclear Test Shows Limits of Chinese Influence
This January 23, 2013 satellite image shows what are now known were preparations for today’s underground nuclear test at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test facility. North Korea also conducted nuclear tests at this facility in 2006 and 2009. (AP Photo/GeoEye Satellite Image)
February 12, 2013
| Security
| Asia and the Pacific
Summary
North Korea, which recently posted a YouTube video on a government web site showing an American city in flames following a missile attack, followed through on its threat to conduct a third nuclear test early today despite pressure from China to not do so. North Korean officials claim they tested a miniaturized nuclear device, a development that could allow Pyongyang to construct a warhead for a ballistic missile. LIGNET is skeptical of this claim, as explained below.
North Korea has been warning for weeks that it planned to a conduct a third nuclear test, though it had not specified an exact date. The test today appears to have been timed to coincide with President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address this evening. It also took place just days before the February 16 birthday of Kim Jong Il, the deceased father of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
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