North Korea’s Bomb Made in Pakistan

North Korea’s Bomb Made in Pakistan

By MADHAV NALAPAT | LONDON | 25 September, 2016
Pak army has taken the field testing route for its nuclear weapons programme, with North Korea conducting the tests and making results available readily.

Both the nuclear explosions that took place in North Korea this year are “made in Pakistan”, according to those silently, and in total secrecy, tracking the nuclear trajectory of the East Asian country. “Silently” because most governments are chary of publicly naming and presumably shaming the military establishment in Pakistan for its drive to weaponise the country’s nuclear deterrent. Cooperation in the development of nuclear weapons between Pakistan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been ongoing since the 1970s, but accelerated some years after the 1998 Chagai tests by Pakistan. “By end-2005, it was clear that testing of nuclear devices through computer modelling was not yielding operationally significant results”, a key analyst based mainly in Hong Kong claimed, adding that from then onwards, a hyper secretive programme of cooperation between the DPRK military and the Pakistan army was begun. In both countries, the men in uniform control the development and production of nuclear devices. The October 2006 and May 2009 North Korean tests took place with regular participation of scientists from a secret nuclear weapons development facility near Hyderabad (Sindh) in Pakistan, the sources asserted. They said that “the Pakistan army has so far done brilliantly what they are expert at, which is bluff”, in that they hyped the degree to which Pakistan had proceeded on the road towards a weaponised nuclear deterrent and attack system. “When A.Q. Khan gave his 1987 interview to Kuldip Nayar about Pakistan having the bomb, they had nothing to show for their pains except a few lumps of radioactive material.” However, “subsequently they received assistance from a member of the United Nations P-5 to launch them on the path towards developing nuclear weapons. However, such assistance was almost totally cut off after the 1998 tests,” thereby forcing Pakistan to conduct further tests in the laboratory rather than underground. After six years, the results of such tests were meagre, although externally, the spin given was that the military establishment in Pakistan had perfected a nuclear weapon and indeed had more such items in stock than India.

The non-proliferation ayatollahs in the US have, from the 1974 Pokhran tests, concentrated on rolling back the Indian nuclear programme, and “although the primitive nature of the Pakistan programme was known to the intelligence services, with which non-proliferation websites and groups in the US closely (albeit covertly) worked, it suited this lobby to broadcast that Pakistan had a robust programme”. The aim was to persuade India that there was an equivalence of nuclear terror between Delhi and Islamabad, thereby (it was calculated) making it more likely that India would undertake reciprocal actions in downsizing its nuclear weapons programme. According to a source based in a European capital, “The A.B. Vajpayee government, through National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, gave specific promises to its US counterparts that key elements of the Indian programme would be slowed down in the field”, the fig leaf being that laboratory testing would intensify. A source claimed that “thus far, the results of such cold tests have been insufficient to generate designs for a tactical nuclear weapon or weapons that could reliably be loaded onto missile systems already available in the armoury of India”. He added that “unless India conducts at least a half-dozen more tests, it will be extremely difficult to perfect the trigger mechanism for separate devices or to ensure devices that could be safely married on to delivery platforms”.

However, this has been contested by scientists in India, who claim that laboratory testing in the country is sophisticated enough to generate data that would be of use in battlefield situations.

The Pakistan army has, on the contrary, opted to take the field testing route for its nuclear weapons programme, except that “such tests are being conducted by North Korea, with the results being made available to the Pakistan side almost instantaneously”. A source in Hong Kong said that “the results of the February 2013 test by North Korea were the most valuable, and enabled a refinement of the device that became apparent in the two tests conducted this year” by the Kim Jong Un regime in Pyongyang. The sources said that “designs are ferried through North Korean diplomats as well as by individuals acting under commercial cover, and while direct air and sea flights and sailings have taken place, much of the to and fro of date and materiel takes place via China”, which according to these sources “has looked the other way for more than two decades at nuclear cooperation between North Korea and Pakistan”, as, in effect, has the United States. These sources claim that key scientific and technical staff from Pakistan visit the DPRK on a regular basis since 2005 “under assumed identities”.

The sources warn that the covert collaboration between North Korea and Pakistan is geared on the Pakistan side towards developing a tactical nuclear weapon, and on the North Korean side towards producing a nuclear device that could be married to a North Korean missile capable of entering the airspace of the continental United States. They claim that “the Pakistan military has made available extensive information to Pyongyang about how accuracy and reliability can be improved on their missile systems”. Because of external assistance as well as domestic expertise, the missile programme in Pakistan, which is centred in a secret facility near Bahawalpur, has developed a level of sophistication that has yet to be matched by the nuclear weapons programme. These sources expect that North Korea will conduct “at least a half dozen more tests” as “the calculation by both sides is that these will be required to ensure a reliable nuclear weapons system that could, with small modifications, be entered into the armoury of both states. 

“The Pakistan army sees the development and deployment of tactical nuclear weapons as being sufficient to permanently deter India from launching a conventional war on its territory”, a source based in a European capital revealed, adding that “at present Pakistan is years away from actually inducting such weapons, which is why they are going the North Korea route towards developing them”. Another source added that “there is no substitute for field data, and unless India manages to persuade the US to share some of its field data on nuclear tests, the (Indian) deterrent will continue to be less than fully reliable in battlefield conditions”. These sources claimed that although India is significantly more advanced than Pakistan in the nuclear weapons trajectory, “as yet tactical nuclear devices have not been perfected” by this country, a lack the cause for which they assign to the unpublicised limitations placed on the nuclear weapons programme by the Vajpayee government—“constraints that were added on to by Manmohan Singh, especially after his 2005 agreement with George W. Bush on nuclear matters”. It would appear that it was the Bush-Singh understanding which helped to motivate the Pakistan army to launch a programme of conducting nuclear tests through North Korea.

A high-placed source warned that by 2023 at the latest and 2021 more likely, the DPRK and Pakistan would each have a “fully functional nuclear weapons stockpile together with reliable means of delivery”. They were pessimistic about the international community having the will to ensure that effective steps be taken (such as through blockade and inspection of both countries including overland routes through China) to freeze and afterwards roll back the joint programme of the North Korean and Pakistan militaries to develop and deploy nuclear weapons that would include battlefield variants.

There are 20 Comments

China has guaranteed to protect Pakistan in the event of a war with India. If true that Pakistan is supplying North Korea with Nuclear material it is because China is allowing it to happen. China is covering its bottom in the event something goes wrong they are not going to be blamed for an attack against South Korea, Japan or the US. Basically China is using intermediaries to start a war with the US and should North Korea launch an attack against US troops in South Korea or the US Mainland I believe the US has no choice but to retaliate again China, The West needs to bring the Chinese government down by supporting dissent in China at any financial costs. If China is allowed to continue its aggressive policies they will bring all nations to war. This is World War I all over again except this time instead of chemical weapons we have nuclear. One final note, if North Korea is getting nukes how far a reach is it that Iran is getting them as well? Which begs the next question can the world afford a nuclear war in the middle-East as well?

China is loosing to India in terms of Economic development so indirectlty they are fighting via Pakistan

India should try to buy the Pakistani nuke designs test result from North Korea. North Korea is strapped for cash. & can use a few million dollars. India will gain some good insight in to what Pakistan has.

"nuclear explosions that took place in North Korea this year are “made in Pakistan”, according to those silently, and in total secrecy, tracking the nuclear trajectory of the East Asian country." This is just another of the fantasies invented by South Korean propaganda houses and promulgated by papers with low journalistic standards. Dozens of such stories are released every year, most with anonymous sources, and most either wrong or ludicrously wrong.

The Indian author has failed to provide any evidence for this ridiculous claim that NK's bomb is "made in Pakistan", so this article should be discarded like the trash it is. On the contrary, Al Jazeera has reported that it is India, not Pakistan, that has been assisting NK. And guess what? They have actual evidence for their claim.

Hey,Davis,is London the capital of South Korea? And why would they seek to establish a Pak connection to the North's blasts? You seem another of those tiresome fellows who regard anything originating in a non-western country as "low journalistic standard". Why didnt you make a similar comment the same when Prof Nalapat forecast in 2003 that Iraq would melt down because of US post-Saddam policies or in 2011 that Cameron's thrust into Libya would lead to refugees and Al Qaeda sprouting in that country. Dont believe everything your Pakistani friends tell you just because Churchill via Jinnahbhoy was the creator of that state

Hey,Davis,is London the capital of South Korea? And why would they seek to establish a Pak connection to the North's blasts? You seem another of those tiresome fellows who regard anything originating in a non-western country as "low journalistic standard". Why didnt you make a similar comment the same when Prof Nalapat forecast in 2003 that Iraq would melt down because of US post-Saddam policies or in 2011 that Cameron's thrust into Libya would lead to refugees and Al Qaeda sprouting in that country. Dont believe everything your Pakistani friends tell you just because Churchill via Jinnahbhoy was the creator of that state

Pakistan never a trusted alliance for USA ..even at the time of Afghanistan war against Taliban secretly support Taliban through ISI ..all ISI general always blackmail USA get special packages, weapons against their fake support to USA and used that funds to finance terrorist organizations.. All Muslim terrorist organizations in the world have common link Pakistan.. Time to declared Pakistan as a terrorist sponsored country and stop all aids given to Pakistan...

US does not trust Pakistan, and so does Pakistan.

Shame on Guardian for Publishing Indian misinormation and providing an outlet to a holucinating Indian. The auther is an with Indian "facts" and Indian " sources". Next Guardian may ask a KKK bigot to write about African American rights.

Really?? You misinformed poor child.

I ve read the entire column. This is totally superstitious and baseless. It is is totally imaginary which have to far concern with reality

Quite possible. When names from Congress party appears then it should be assumed that what is being sais/written is true.

Shame on Guardian for Publishing Indian misinformation and providing an outlet to a hallucinating Indian. The author is an with Indian "facts" and Indian " sources". Next Guardian may ask a KKK bigot to write about African American rights. reply

Pakistan never a trusted alliance for USA ..even at the time of Afghanistan war against Taliban secretly support Taliban through ISI ..all ISI general always blackmail USA get special packages, weapons against their fake support to USA and used that funds to finance terrorist organizations.. All Muslim terrorist organizations in the world have common link Pakistan.. Time to declared Pakistan as a terrorist sponsored country and stop all aids given to Pakistan... No sovereign country in the world can trust USA. It will be foolishness if Indians trust USA and wooing them to turn against Pakistan. China and USA understands the trick of India to malign Pakistan in for harboring terrorism in the world. But its USA, Israel, Saudi Arabia, India and Qatar are raising ISIS, FSA, and Al Nusra terrorists from 80 countries in the world by providing financial support and weapons. India is dreaming about getting super power in Asia, and Indians are in a state of hallucination in the presence of Pakistan. Thinking about China to compete with it, they are falling in trap of USA who thinks that India is a dependable alley in case of war with China. Indian must understand China is in their next door neighbor and USA situates in far flung area which cannot reach out to help India when required.

oh good :X

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