Defector: North Korea has Big Nuclear Plans

Defector: North Korea has Big Nuclear Plans

FILE - South Koreans watch a television broadcasting a satellite image of the nuclear facility in North Korea, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea.


Next year will be the most opportune time for North Korea to bolster its nuclear program because of upcoming leadership changes in the United States and South Korea, according to a senior North Korean official who defected recently to the South.

"With South Korea holding presidential elections and the U.S. undergoing an administration transition, the North sees 2017 as the prime time for nuclear development," said Thae Yong-ho, who was North Korea's second highest ranking diplomat in London.

Thae defected to South Korea in August, becoming the most senior North Korean official to defect in almost 20 years.

At a news conference Tuesday with South Korean reporters, Thae made clear he was not aware of the status of North Korea's nuclear program but expressed confidence that China would not severely discipline North Korea for its nuclear program because the North's disintegration could produce a combined U.S.-friendly Korea.

Thae said North Korean leader Kim Jung Un has no plans to relinquish his country's nuclear weapons even if he is offered large sums of money. The exiled diplomat said Kim is expediting the country's nuclear development program with the intent of possessing nuclear weapons by the end of next year.

North Korea conducted two nuclear tests this year and fired over 20 ballistic missiles. And it publicly promised to develop the ability to strike the United States with a nuclear weapon.

President-elect Donald Trump has said he favors the manufacture of nuclear weapons by Japan and South Korea as a deterrent to North Korea, a position that prompted a sharp response from the administration of President Barack Obama, which has supported a decades-old policy of nonproliferation.

Donald Trump will assume control of the executive branch of the U.S. government on January 20 and South Korea will hold a presidential election next year. Thae predicted North Korea will attempt to open dialog with the two new administrations in an attempt to obtain nuclear power status. In the meantime, Thae said, North Korea will continue to conduct nuclear tests in an effort to discourage South Korea's and Washington's sanctions-oriented policy toward North Korea.

U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper said in October that convincing North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons is futile.

"They are under siege and they are very paranoid. So the notion of giving up their nuclear capability, whatever it is, is a nonstarter with them," Clapper said in a speech before the Council of Foreign Relations.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Zoe Ball pays tribute to late boyfriend Billy Yates with heartwarming photo as he is laid to rest in private ceremony:'Goodbye my beautiful boy'

Zoe Ball pays tribute to late boyfriend Billy Yates with heartwarming photo as he is laid to..

23-May, 12:09

In a statement to MailOnline, a representative for Zoe Ball confirmed...

Mary Hopkin's Beatles poster sells for ?28k at auction

Mary Hopkin's Beatles poster sells for ?28k at auction..

24-May, 05:57

A rare Beatles poster owned by singer Mary Hopkin has been sold at...

Ariana Grande Manchester Terror Attack: Take That cancel concert at Liverpool Echo 'out of respect' for victims of tragic gig suicide bomb attack

Ariana Grande Manchester Terror Attack: Take That cancel concert at Liverpool Echo 'out of..

23-May, 09:24

The suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured at least 59 more after...

Ex-CIA chief Brennan says Trump-Russia inquiry 'well-founded'

Ex-CIA chief Brennan says Trump-Russia inquiry 'well-founded'..

23-May, 12:24

Former CIA Director John Brennan has said an investigation into possible...

Chicago supporters to honor freed Puerto Rico nationalist

Chicago supporters to honor freed Puerto Rico nationalist..

18-May, 02:35

Supporters of a 74-year-old Puerto Rican nationalist freed from house...

Lady Gaga Opens Halftime Show With Tribute to America

Lady Gaga Opens Halftime Show With Tribute to America..

05-Feb, 20:44

Lady Gaga stole the show at Super Bowl LI in Houston, beginning the Pepsi...

A history of chemical weapons in Syria

A history of chemical weapons in Syria..

06-Apr, 14:32

The death toll from Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack on a Syrian town...

You Are the Chef Episode 146

You Are the Chef Episode 146..

28-Feb, 22:52

The following You Are the Chef Episode 146 English Sub has been released....