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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Monday, September 25, 2017

North Korea said on Tuesday it had addressed a recent “gift package” to the United States and that more would follow, according to a Reuters report.

Han Tae Song, the ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the U.N. in Geneva, was addressing the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament two days after his country detonated its sixth and largest nuclear test.

“The recent self-defense measures by my country, DPRK, are a gift package addressed to none other than the U.S.,” Han told the Geneva forum.

“The U.S. will receive more gift packages from my country as long as it relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK,” he said.

Prior to the veiled threat of nuclear annihilation, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Monday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is “begging for war,” and warned that the United States does not have unlimited patience.

“His abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threats show that he is begging for war,” Haley said. “War is never something the United States wants; we don’t want it now, but our country’s patience is not unlimited; we will defend our allies and our territory.”

Haley spoke at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council called after North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test on Sunday. Pyongyang claimed it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that can fit onto an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). International experts have not confirmed that, but say it was larger than any previous North Korean nuclear test.

For the first time, North Korea also specifically mentioned the possibility of a electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, attack. Such a strike would involve detonating a bomb in the atmosphere, instead of firing a long-range missile at a major U.S. city.

"The EMP burst’s objective is to saturate the US power grid underneath it with energy flowing into the wiring. The goal is to burn out a portion of the three hundred or so high voltage transformers that link the US together as an industrial age economy. By burn out, that means causing the melting of the transformer cores rendering them useless, " wrote Huffington Post contributing writer Dennis Santiago on Monday.

An EMP can be described as a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles. In an attack of this kind, these particles interact and send electrical systems into chaos in three ways:

First, the electromagnetic shock disrupts electronics, such as sensors, communications systems, protective systems, computers, and other similar devices.

The second component has a slightly smaller range and is similar in effect to lightning. Although protective measures have long been established for lightning strikes, the potential for damage to critical infrastructure from this component exists because it rapidly follows and compounds the first component.

The final component is slower than the previous two, but has a longer duration. It is a pulse that flows through electricity transmission lines-damaging distribution centers and fusing power lines. The combination of the three components can easily cause irreversible damage to many electronic systems.

All of North Korea's six nuclear tests including the one on Sunday have taken place at its underground testing site in Punggye-ri, deep in mountainous terrain, and it is hard to independently verify the claims.

But experts who studied the impact of the earthquake caused by the explosion — measured by the U.S. Geological Survey at magnitude 6.3 — said there was enough strong evidence to suggest the reclusive state has either developed a hydrogen bomb or was getting very close.

The detonation produced 10 times more power than the fifth nuclear test a year ago, South Korean and Japanese officials said. NORSAR, a Norwegian earthquake monitoring agency, estimated the yield at 120 kilotons, significantly above the 15 kiloton "Little Boy" bomb dropped on Hiroshima and the 20 kiloton "Fat Man" dropped on Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Institute said Sunday's test verified the functioning of a hydrogen bomb, including the "fission to fusion power rate and all other physical specifications reflecting the qualitative level of a two-stage thermo-nuclear weapon," according to the official KCNA news agency.

"That scale is to the level where anyone can say it is a hydrogen bomb test," said Kune Y. Suh, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University. "North Korea has effectively established itself as a nuclear state. This is not just a game changer, it's a game over," Suh said.

In an article entitled "Nuclear Iran: he Sanctions Delusion written by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry in 2014, the author indicated that on August 31, 1998, "North Korea tested its first intercontinental missile, foreshadowing a dangerous new future when such rogue regimes could threaten nuclear missile strikes against the United States. That future arrived in December 2012 when North Korea successfully orbited a satellite over the South Pole, apparently practicing a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that would strike the U.S. from its blindside in the south, where there are no ballistic missile early warning radars or missile interceptors. Three months later, in March 2013, North Korea threatened nuclear missile strikes against the U.S. and its allies.

Iran has orbited several satellites on similar south polar trajectories, helped by their ally North Korea. If Iran does not yet have nuclear weapons, they will be the first nation that went through the vast trouble and expense of developing long-range missiles without first having nuclear warheads to make them militarily useful."

North Korea claims its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) tested twice in July can reach large parts of the mainland United States. But experts say it likely achieved that potential range only by topping the test missile with a payload lighter than any nuclear warhead it is currently able to produce.

Pyongyang is also yet to prove that any warhead it places on a long range-missile can survive re-entry into the earth's atmosphere after an intercontinental flight. Developing a hydrogen bomb would be key to have a lighter warhead, because that would offer much greater explosive yield relative to size and weight.

"The time has come to exhaust all diplomatic means to end this crisis; that means quickly enacting the strongest possible measures here in the Security Council," Haley said.

Haley said the United States would be circulating a new draft sanctions resolution for the council to negotiate this week and that she hopes to put it to a vote next Monday.

One week would be a very quick turnaround for such a resolution; previous ones have taken between one and three months of negotiations primarily between the United States and China to agree to new sanctions.

Both the South Korean and Japanese envoys, as well as several council members, echoed the U.S. call for strong, robust international sanctions.

Haley also dismissed a Chinese initiative calling on North Korea to freeze its nuclear activity in exchange for the United States and South Korea freezing their annual joint military exercises in the region. The ‘freeze for freeze’ as it is known, would be implemented to establish an environment conducive to talks to resolve the nuclear issue.

“The idea that some have suggested a so-called freeze for freeze is insulting,” Haley said. “When a rogue regime has a nuclear weapon and an ICBM pointed at you, you do not take steps to lower your guard. No one would do that; we certainly won’t.”

China is North Korea’s neighbor and closest ally. Chinese U.N. envoy Liu Jieyi condemned North Korea’s actions and called for them to stop, but he also reiterated the Chinese position that there is no military solution to the crisis.

“China will never allow chaos and war on the peninsula,” he said.

“There is no doubt that presently we are experiencing one of the gravest and most dramatic stages of developments on the Korean Peninsula,” said Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzi. “It is no exaggeration to state that peace in the region is in serious jeopardy and the threat of this conflict morphing into a hot stage looms larger than ever before,” he added.

He urged parties “to maintain a cool head” and refrain from any action that could further escalate tensions.

Earlier Monday, South Korea's Defense Ministry said it had detected signs North Korea was preparing to test another ballistic missile or possibly an ICBM. The ministry also announced plans to temporarily deploy four more launchers for the THAAD missile defense system.

Monday’s meeting was the second time in less than a week the Security Council convened to discuss North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile activity.

Pyongyang launched a missile that flew over Japan early last week, prompting strong censure from the 15-nation council. On August 5, the council unanimously adopted the strongest package of sanctions so far against North Korea, including bans on its coal, lead, iron and seafood exports.

Diplomats are running out of sectors to target for sanctions. Oil is the country’s most important sector, while textile manufacturing is also an important revenue generator. The council could also look at designating new individuals and entities for asset freezes and travel bans.

By: Fern Sidman