Reliable Security Information


Seth Rogen's digital Pearl Harbor

What happens when hackers from North Korea, according to the US government, threaten the American arm of an entertainment giant, Sony, over a mediocre-to-crappy movie, Seth Rogen's The Interview, set to open Xmas Day? Americans fold. Despite the lack of any actual credible threat of...

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North Korean defense chief's retirement has hallmarks of purge

The removal of North Korean Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho supposedly for illness prompts more questions than answers. Most senior North Koreans retain their positions despite illness, at least until a political change is needed. So what really led to his retirement -- a policy...

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Wanted: Missile Defense Program to Meet Threats the U.S. Faces

Several weeks ago, North Korea launched a missile that, if successful, would have been capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to the continental U.S. In spite of such dangers and despite promises to maintain a vigorous missile defense program, when one looks at budget proposals...

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New Analysis of North Korean Missile

Who needs satellite images when you have ground truth? A close-up view of the North Korean long-range rocket and its new missile launch facility. Figure 1. The Unha-3 space vehicle on the launch pad as of April 8, 2012 Globalsecurity.org Photo credit: David Guttenfelder,...

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New Imagery shows North Korean Launch Site Ready

New satellite imagery shows the recently finished launch site where North Korea plans to place a satellite into orbit. The upcoming satellite launch is to mark the 100th anniversary of founder Kim Il Sung's birth, in defiance of a newly signed deal to suspend nuclear...

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Keeping America in Asia

Few strategic issues engender more debate than the future of the US presence in the Far East. Topping the list is what to do about the American bases on Okinawa. The US and Japan had ironed out an agreement on how to realign the bases...

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Cult of EMP Crazy in the Koreas plus a few notes on weapons and China

The western press always inflates stories of electromagnetic pulse rays and bombs. They are the fabulous weapons that are always coming -- almost twenty years now -- but never quite arriving. This is in accordance with the rule of law....

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What's Next? Monitoring the Korean Peninsula

The artillery barrage against Yeonpyeong island, the first North Korean attack since the end of the Korean War than a half century ago to kill South Korean civilians, calls into question many of the assumptions that have guided security planning in northeast Asia, most notably,...

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NPT Review: Less Than Meets the Eye

I thought April Fools' Day was two months ago. Today we read that the 189-nation NPT review conference, after three weeks of meetings, produced a new agreement. Hurray. What does it cover? North Korea's growing number of nukes and threats? Pakistan's expanding nuclear program--in response...

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Obama's Nobel Speech and North Korea

At the same time that Ambassador Bosworth was in Pyongyang last month for the first direct talks between the United States and North Korea under the Obama administration, President Obama flew to Oslo to deliver his Nobel price acceptance speech....

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Can the North Korean "Peace Offensive" Drive a Wedge in the U.S.-ROK Alliance?

Following Ambassador Stephen Bosworth's December 8-10 visit to Pyongyang, he declared that the two sides had reached a "common understanding with the DPRK on the need to implement the six party joint statement and to resume the six party process." The North Korean foreign ministry...

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Dispatch from Pyongyang: An Offer You Can't Refuse!

PYONGYANG--Every North Korean seems to have been mobilized for an all-out push to mark their country's arrival as a "strong and powerful nation" in 2012, which marks the 100th anniversary of Kim Il Sung's birth, Kim Jong Il's seventieth birthday, and the thirtieth birthday of...

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Obama Message to Asia: America's Back!

"America is back!" This phrase, used by Hillary Clinton when she choose Asia as her first overseas destination after becoming Secretary of State, provides the underlying theme of President Obama's first trip to the region. "One of my important tasks," Obama said in a pre-trip...

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Wen Jiabao Gets the Red Carpet Treatment From Kim Jong Il

Days following the conclusion of the PRC's 60th anniversary celebration of its founding, PRC Premier Wen Jiabao brought a high-powered delegation to Pyongyang to mark the 60th anniversary of Sino-DPRK ties and to facilitate a dialogue on North Korea's nuclear issues with Kim Jong Il....

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The Challenge of Preparing for Instability in North Korea

In North Korea's totalitarian system, political stability depends on the health of the leader more than on any other factor. For this reason, Kim Jong Il's rumored health problems have drawn careful scrutiny since he failed to appear almost exactly one year ago at public...

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Clinton to Pyongyang: After Action Assessment

Bill Clinton's dramatic mission to secure the release of two American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee following North Korea's harsh verdict regarding their unauthorized entry into North Korea has succeeded on multiple fronts, based on criteria for success I offered yesterday: 1) the visit...

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Clinton to Pyongyang: Criteria for Success

A former U.S. president visits Pyongyang to break the stalemate at a time of rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear program. This sounds like déjà vu, but the twist is that the mission is a purely "private" one to secure the release of two American...

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The Pathetic War: South Korean and US websites suffer cyberattack

Imagined sigint from the front lines: North Korea: We'll make a handful of your websites load slow! South Korea: Just wait! Once we get our electromagnetic pulse bomb to work at a range of greater than ten yards ... North Korea: Your EMP-bomb building scientists...

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What if North Korea Says No?: Medium-to-Long Term Strategic Options

The premise underlying the question of what do we do if North Korea says no to renewed diplomacy over North Korea's nuclear program is that we are still waiting for an answer. But the North Koreans have already delivered an answer. Particularly following the UNSC...

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What's Driving Pyongyang?

Given North Korea's history of crisis escalation, it should have been apparent that the "Dear Leader"--Kim Jong Il--would not abide the prospect of being ignored by a new American President who has pursued a strategy of continuity, containment, and incrementalism. In fact, North Korean never...

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New Chapter for U.S.-Korea Alliance

by Jack Pritchard, John Tilelli, and Scott Snyder The recent White House summit between Barack Obama and Lee Myung-bak came at a moment when the U.S.-ROK alliance has emerged as a linchpin in the Obama administration's efforts to successfully manage an overcrowded global agenda and...

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Lee-Obama Summit: Solidifying a Joint Approach toward Pyongyang

The upcoming Washington summit meeting between ROK President Lee Myung-bak and U.S. President Barrack Obama provides a golden opportunity for the two allies to send an important message to North Korea, to their other Six-Party Talks interlocutors, and to domestic constituencies in both countries regarding...

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Euna Lee and Laura Ling: Guilty as Charged!

"Guilty as charged!" So said the highest court in the land in the case of Current TV journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling vs. North Korea. The two journalists, who allegedly (and very foolishly or recklessly) wandered across the China-North Korea border on March 17...

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North Korea's Harsh Verdict

North Korea announced its verdict in the trial of two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, for illegal entry and "hostile acts" on June 8th. The outcome of the trial and the subsequent decisions of the North Korean leadership obviously have weighty implications for...

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North Korea's Test and Six Party Talks

Following its May 25, 2009, nuclear test, has North Korea blown up prospects for diplomacy--especially the six party talks--as a viable diplomatic tool for achieving denuclearization? The Washington Post reports that a tough draft UN Security Council resolution condemning North Korea's nuclear test is being...

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Dealing with North Korea by Ralph A. Cossa

What is North Korea up to? Is it trying to undermine the Six-Party Talks in order to force Washington to deal with Pyongyang directly, as some experts claim? Or, as others maintain with equal certainty, is it sending a signal that it is not interested...

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Reaching Out to Touch North Korea: The Sanctions Debate and China

While the UN Security Council debates the scope and strength of a new resolution condemning North Korea's May 25, 2009 nuclear test, two main questions have come to the fore: what will China do and can sanctions work? The policy debate over the UN Security...

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North Korea' Nuclear Weekend

According to CNN report on May 25, "President Obama castigated the North Korean government Monday for conducting a second nuclear bomb test in defiance of multiple international warnings." Many analysts and experts are not only suprised, they predicted this would be North Korea's next step....

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Second Nuclear Test: North Korea Does What It Says

North Korea did exactly what it said it would do on May 25, 2009, when it conducted a nuclear test as promised in its April 28, 2009, statement in response to UN sanctions imposed on three North Korean firms in accordance with an April 13,...

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North Korean "Never-Never" Land: Prospects for Getting Diplomacy Back on Track

Within hours following a April 13, 2009, UNSC presidential statement condemning North Korea's missile launch, the DPRK foreign ministry responded by stating that "six-party talks have lost the meaning of their existence never to recover" and that the "DPRK will never participate in such six-party...

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Global Nuclear Disarmament: Too Much, Too Soon? by Ralph A. Cossa

There is no country on earth more committed to global nuclear disarmament than Japan. Ever since experiencing first hand the horrors of nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese government and people have been steadfast in calling for the total elimination of nuclear weapons...

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Contradictions in the Obama Administration's Policy-in-Formation Toward North Korea

There are at least four potential contradictions that the Obama administration may face as it attempts to carry out the three themes of reassurance of allies, openness to diplomatic engagement, and the strict punishment of proliferation-related actions that have developed as early characteristics of the...

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North Korea: Is a Containment Policy the Best (Only) Option? by Ralph A. Cossa

Ho-hum! Another United Nations Security Council (UNSC) pronouncement "demanding" that North Korea cease and desist all missile activities and verifiably give up its nuclear weapons program. Another "declaration of war" by the North against anyone who would dare criticize (much less enforce sanctions against) Pyongyang,...

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Defense Budget Bait and Switch

Is the White House planning on spending more or less on defense? Heritage Foundation analyst Mackenzie Eaglen unpacks all the numbers in "The $64,000 Question: Is President Obama Actually Increasing the Defense Budget?" Here is what she concludes, "President Obama has submitted a budget blueprint...

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Obama and North Korea: First 100 Days

The Obama administration was a political target of North Korea's April 5, 2009, North Korean missile test in addition to the targets of internal political consolidation, exploiting China's DPRK dilemma, and the exploitation of possible divisions within the UN Security Council....

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The Hunt for the Unha-2

It's the stuff of Tom Clancy novels, except it is probably really happening. A US submarine is probably searching the Pacific ocean floor for pieces of an ill-fated North Korean missile. The American people will probably never learn about it in our life time. And...

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STRATEGIC NUCLEAR TARGETS

The United States currently has roughly a thousand strategic launchers with several thousand warheads, a number expected to drop to roughly two thousand under the Moscow Treaty. These strategic nuclear warheads have yields ranging from 100 to 500 kilotons and are the core of the...

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UN Security Council Response to North Korea's Missile Test: Washington's Policy Debate

North Korea's efforts to exploit divisions among members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in its response to its April 5, 2009, test of a multi-stage rocket has proven to be a slightly harder political target than some in Pyongyang may have anticipated. The...

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North Korea's Missile Test: Off-target?

North Korea's launch of a multi-stage rocket has been assessed by international experts as a technical failure, but the test has been at least a partial success in hitting four political targets: North Korea's domestic audience, exploitation of international divisions among members of the six...

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