NK nuclear test shows progress in increasing weapons yield: 38 North

Security Council Threats Fail to Halt Continued North Korea Missile Tests     
    	International

The EU expanded its North Korea sanctions list today, as the worldwide community builds pressure on Pyongyang over its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programmes.

The North Korean gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 was $28.50 billion, according to the Bank of Korea in Seoul.

The same year, North Korea conducted its first nuclear test. It also bans imports of textiles from North Korea, stripping the country of another key source of hard currency. That led to Resolution 1718, establishing a United Nations sanctions regime, aiming to stop all nuclear, ballistic missile, and other weapons of mass destruction programs.

A new report from 38 North, a website run by the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, explains that revised seismic estimates raise the blast's magnitude from 5.8 to 6.1, which in turn raises its estimated yield to one-quarter megaton of energy.

The EU decision relates to sanctions approved by the United Nations Security Council in August, and not the latest measures, which the UN panel approved on Monday.

North Korea also uses trusted agents and third party companies located in other countries to facilitate prohibited trade.

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According to Bruce Klingner, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst who is now senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, North Korea's trading system consists of 5,000 companies that are centralized in China and run by a limited number of trusted individuals.

"Regardless of whether this most recent test was an operational warhead for an ICBM or simply a device, the yield of the test clearly shows North Korean progress in increasing the yields of their nuclear weapons", the analysis said.

He said in an interview on Fox News: "I've worked on an executive order that's ready if the president wants to use it".

Despite the tension, South Korea said it planned to provide US$8 million (S$10.8 million) through the UN World Food Programme and Unicef to help infants and pregnant women in the North. The United States, South Korea and other governments have yet to confirm that the North tested such a weapon, but the September 3 test, the North's sixth, was by far its most powerful to date.

North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations Han Tae Song lashed out at the UN's latest "illegal and unlawful" sanctions against his country, calling it a "grave challenge to worldwide peace and justice". Upset at sanctions against his country, yesterday North Korean leader Kim threatened that the USA will be reduced to "ashes and darkness".

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