Jeffrey LewisNorth Korean Nuclear "Demonstration"

Well it took two months—I complained in August—but the New York Times finally released the lat/long for the P’unggye-yok test site.

Google views of the tunneling area, near 41.279 degrees north latitude and 129.087 east longitude, show a set of industrial buildings and what appears to be a mine entrance.

Of course that’s after I’d already found the place, comparing rooftops from their images with Digital Globe shots in GoogleEarth. Now, how about next time y’all just save us all the trouble and put an annotated .kmz file on the website (like I did), huh? Yeah? Can we say “multimedia”?

Anyway, Bill Broad’s story is a curious little grab bag of valuable insights, from the role of commercial satellite imagery to a point that Tom Schelling emphasized during his talks up here at the Belfer Center:

North Korea all but yelled “look at me” in announcing that it plans to conduct its first nuclear test, which experts say might come at any time or perhaps never. “Shouting from the rooftops is new,” said Robert S. Norris, author of Racing for the Bomb (Steerforth Press, 2002). “It’s an unusual way to go about asserting your status as a member of the nuclear club.”

Tom, characteristically, made a pithy version of the argument, suggesting we refer to a possible nuclear explosion as a “demonstration” rather than a “test”—since the former more accurately convey’s North Korea’s rationale for testing.

Housekeeping: Broad refers to a CNN story—the transcript is here. No images, I am afraid—you have to pay for those.


  1. j house (History)

    Now that they have tested, the key questions are-what are the bomb’s dimensions?What is its weight?Was the sub-kiloton yield intentional?How much fissile material was used?Was it a Uranium or Pu core?If it was made from an indigenous uranium enrichment capability, it is a more serious threat than has been reported thus far.