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  • CarlG

Is North Korea a Super Power or not?

Ballistic missile launches and war plane sorties. How North Korea is changing the world, one scare at a time.

August 31, 1998: North Korea launches a three-stage Taepo Dong-1 rocket with a range of 1,500-2,000 kilometers that flies over Japan.

Ballistic Missiles

“North Korea is estimated to have about 1,000 ballistic missiles, more than enough for it to continue its pressure campaign through the 2024 U.S. presidential election to try to win sanctions relief and other concessions”

Nuclear War Heads

Experts estimate that North Korea has assembled 40 to 50 nuclear warheads although some think that North Korea could have upwards of 116 nuclear warheads.

Other War Capabilities

It has the world’s fourth-largest military, with more than 1.2 million personnel, and is believed to possess chemical and biological weapons.

North Korea is believed to have an arsenal of chemical weapons, including sulfur mustard, chlorine, phosgene, sarin, and VX nerve agents. The regime reportedly has the “capability to produce nerve, blister, blood, and choking agents” and is estimated to have stockpiled between 2,500 and 5,000 tons of chemical weapons. These toxins can be fired using a variety of conventional shells, rockets, aircraft, and missiles. The army also manufactures its own protective suits and detection systems for chemical warfare.

North Korea is also believed to possess some biological weapons capabilities, although it became party in 1987 to the Biological Weapons Convention, a treaty banning the production, development, stockpiling, and attempts to acquire biological weapons. In 1988, it acceded to the Geneva Protocol, which prohibits the use of asphyxiating, poisonous, and other gases in warfare. North Korea allegedly has the ability to produce pathogens including anthrax, smallpox, and pest (plague), although its ability to weaponize them is unclear.

The North Korean military has approximately 550 combat-capable aircraft, 290 helicopters, 400 combatant vessels, 280 amphibious vessels, 70 submarines, 4,000 tanks, 2,500 armored vehicles, and 5,500 multiple-rocket launchers.

How did North Korea get nuclear?

In 1956 The Soviet Union begins training North Korean scientists and engineers, giving them "basic knowledge" to initiate a nuclear program. In 1958 The U.S. deploys nuclear armed Honest John missiles and 280 mm atomic cannons to South Korea. In 1959 North Korea and the USSR sign a nuclear cooperation agreement.

When we take into account all of North Korea's War Capabilities, everything points to North Korea being a true Super Power.

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