Pentagon spies say Kim Jong Un is still on the hunt for nukes

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This image from the Official Journal Rodong Sinmun shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, attending a military parade in Pyongyang early Thursday, September 9, 2021. (Rodong Sinmun)

WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) – The United States continues to observe activity at North Korean nuclear sites that is “incompatible with complete denuclearization,” the Defense Intelligence Agency said in a report released Friday.

The conclusion, based on observations at the Yongbyon nuclear site and elsewhere, echoes assessments provided to former President Donald Trump by US intelligence agencies, despite Trump’s efforts to engage in direct diplomacy at the top. with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Although North Korea has not carried out nuclear tests since 2017, it has “reversibly” dismantled parts of its weapons of mass destruction infrastructure, the Pentagon’s intelligence arm has found.

In recent years, “Kim has prioritized the development and demonstration of weapons that provide North Korea with the means to strike distant adversaries – including the United States – with nuclear weapons,” according to DIA . He said these goals reflect a strategy focused on “deterrence and coercion” that will see North Korea develop and enhance capabilities ranging from land and submarine ballistic missiles to nuclear weapons, unmanned aerial vehicles and capabilities. of cyberspace.

The report notes that the closed nature of the North Korean regime makes data collection difficult. He assessed that North Korea’s economy likely contracted in 2020 due to trade disruptions linked to COVID-19.

About 20 to 30 percent of North Korea’s economy is allocated to the military, the report said, adding that Kim has prioritized modernizing nuclear and conventional forces. North Korea now has electronic warfare and counter-space capabilities such as GPS and satellite jammers. In addition, its ballistic missiles could theoretically disrupt orbiting satellites, according to the report.

These high-tech capabilities are juxtaposed with long-standing weaknesses, particularly in terms of the logistics required for “sustained combat operations”. Although underground roads and military installations would help the regime survive in conflict, North Korea may have enough supplies for just two to three months of “defensive combat operations,” the defense agency said. .

The report described Kim as the “backbone” of the North Korean military, adding that his public statements suggest he has “the sole power of liberation” for the country’s nuclear weapons.

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