September 17, 2019 14:12
An expert predicts that North Korea will have 30 to 40 nuclear warheads next year, up about a dozen from last year.
Dan Smith of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute made the prediction in a meeting with reporters at the residence of the Swedish ambassador to South Korea in Seoul on Monday.
In a report in June last year SIPRI speculated that the North had 20 to 30 nuclear warheads. This suggests that the North has not stopped developing nuclear weapons while engaging in denuclearization negotiations with the U.S. over the past year.
Smith said Washington and Pyongyang first of all need to agree how to define the terms. "The definition of denuclearization is a big thing to be worked out" as it is not only a "technical" matter but also a highly "political" issue, he added.
The definition could make all the difference to how North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will respond.
As for the South Korean government's ambition to act as a mediator, Smith said, "The definitive key to unlock the problems does not lie in South Korea's hands. It lies much more in American hands" and South Korea must stand in line with U.S.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com