North Korea's nukes

Over the weekend, the North Korean military stirred the geo-political pot by announcing that they were taking an "all-out confrontational posture" toward South Korea. At the same time - more or less - North Korean officials also said that they had "weaponized" roughly 31 kilograms of plutonium. (The general consensus is that that amount translates into four to six bombs; the actual amount used depends on the specific design.)

Those developments are in sharp contrast to the government's recent overtures to the Obama administration, including a request (denied, as far as I know) to attend the inauguration.

More of the same from North Korea, which has always believed in the carrot and stick approach when negotiating? Or is there a power struggle going on for control after (or maybe even before) Kim Jong il, now in bad health, dies or steps down?

The latter seems most likely. The statements by the military seem designed to show that it controls the country's might - and that Kim's successor must come to terms with it if he wants to rule.

Will North Korea's army give up the nuclear weapons if they see that as their most important "chip" in internal politics?


On the other hand, if you were playing poker, would you discard three aces and try to win with only a pair of deuces?

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