[HOT] – A Potent Fuel Flows to North Korea. It May Be Too Late to Halt It.
When North Korea launched long-range missiles this summer, and again Friday, demonstrating its ability to hit Guam, being the continent of the United States, he fueled the weapons with a rare and powerful rocket fuel that US intelligence agencies initially believe came from China and Russia.
The US government is trying to determine whether these two countries still provide the ingredients for highly volatile fuel and, if so, whether Korea North can be interrupted either by sanctions or by sabotage. Among those studying the problem, it is increasingly convinced that the US should focus on fuel, either to stop it, if possible, or to take advantage of its volatile properties to slow down the program in the North .
But it may be that it is too late. Intelligence officials believe that the Northern Program has advanced to the point where it no longer depends on outside providers, and that it may itself be the deadly fuel, known as UDMH. Despite a long record of intelligence warnings that the North was acquiring both powerful missile engines and fuel to fuel them, there is no evidence that Washington has ever taken any action. Emergency to cut off access from Pyongyang to the rare propeller.
Memorials filed by governments George W. Bush and Obama were defined, with what proved to be a valuable clarity, how the pursuit by the North of the very powerful fuel would enable it to develop missiles that could touch almost everywhere in the continental United States.
In response to requests from the New York Times, Timothy Barrett, a spokesman for the director of national intelligence services, said that "based on North Korea's proven science and technological capabilities, coupled with priority Pyongyang sites on missile programs – North Korea is probably capable of producing UDMH nationwide. "The UDMH is short for asymmetric dimethylhydrazine.
So I, the experts are skeptical that the North has succeeded in domestic production, given the great difficulty of making and using the highly toxic fuel, which in much more technically advanced countries has led to giant explosions of missiles and factories.
In public, at least, Trump administration has been much more which focuses on ordinary fuels – oil and gas used to heat homes and electric vehicles. The United States pushed to cut supplies in the north, but settled last week for modest
Nevertheless, on Sunday, the president argued that these sanctions had an effect. He wrote on Twitter that he had spoken with the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, and launched a new nickname for Northern leader, Kim Jong-un.
"asked him how Rocket Man does" President Trump wrote.
But inside the intelligence agencies and among a few on Capitol Hill who studied the issue, the UDMH is a source of fascination and perceived as a natural target for the American effort to stop the missile of Mr. Kim
"If North Korea does not have UDMH, it can not threaten the United States, it is as simple as that, "said Senator Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "These are the problems that the US intelligence community must address: from which countries they receive fuel – it is probably China – and if North Korea has a stock and its size."
Today, the chemical is made mainly by China, a few European nations and Russia, which calls it the venom of the devil. Russia recently resumed production of fuel after Western supplies were cut off during its annexation of the Crimea.
But the Russians are wary of the propeller: it triggered the worst space disaster in 1960, when dozens of Soviet workers and spectators died in one the trial of one of the first intercontinental ballistic missiles in Moscow.
The United States no longer produces fuel – NASA has warned of its toxic and explosive dangers since 1966, producing a Video that opens with a spectacular explosion. A long time ago, the US nuclear fleet turned to more stable solid fuels, a movement that North Koreans are now trying to duplicate. But it can be a decade, experts say, before the North controls this technology to power intercontinental missiles.
The White House and the US intelligence services refused to answer questions about what they were doing to interrupt North Korea supplies, citing the highly classified nature of their efforts to disrupt the North Korean missile program. These efforts included cyberattacks authorized by President Barack Obama in 2014.
But in interviews with four senior US officials who served as North advanced his program, none could recall a specific discussion on how to disrupt North Korea's access to the only fuel that now manages its long-range missiles. All four said that, although there had been many discussions about how to penalize the North, they did not remember those who specifically focused on the propeller.
Twice in 2012 and 2014 – fuel was included in the United Nations Security Council lists of prohibited export items. Experts say that little attention paid to this fine print.
"All kinds of things forbidden for export to North Korea find their way," said Vann H. Van Diepen, a former State Department official who was at the center many US efforts to control the spread of weapons of mass destruction
But the public and the involuntary public record of US efforts to track North Korea's progress show growing concern that a decade North got Russians-designed engines to power its missiles, and fuel to pour into them. A "secret" memo signed in October 2008 by State Secretary Condoleezza Rice warned the allies that the North had obtained a UDMH propelled engine that "represents a significant advance in liquid propulsion North Korea, "adding that" Allow North Korea to build larger-range missiles ".
The brief, which was included in documents later published by WikiLeaks, proved the first efforts to get the countries that had signed the missile technology control regime to keep these technologies out of North Korea, Iran and other nations.
When Hillary Clinton succeeded Ms. Rice in 2009, she issued a similar warning. "The next goal of North Korea could be to develop a mobile ICBM that would be capable of threatening targets in the world," she wrote to the member states of the missile control group.
The launch of the missile took place on Friday, in which the projectile was transported to northern Japan, came from one of these mobile launchers, powered by the UDMH, spy satellites showed.
The growing dependence of the North on fuel was reinforced after a military parade at the end of 2010, when Pyongyang unveiled an intermediate-range missile known as Musudan. Most of his flight tests failed, some in huge balls of fire.
Federal officials, congressional aides and rocket scientists say emerging clues suggest that over the years Pyongyang has obtained fuel, its precursors, its secret formula and its manufacture from China, the North's largest trading partner. Beijing still uses the UDMH to occupy satellites and warheads and has long exported the toxic substance around the world.
China has always refused to help the North Korea missile program and fuel is included in a 15-year missile-related materials that Beijing has put on a checklist of exports. But a 2008 secret report that was included in the descriptions of WikiLeaks revealed an "uneven history in the application of its export controls related to missiles".
A senior official of the administration acknowledged that, in terms of policy, a specific fuel ban should not be difficult. While reducing access to oil would raise fears of a humanitarian catastrophe as 25 million North Koreans freeze during the winter, missile fuel is not a petroleum product, rather than being manufactured from a family of chemicals used in explosives.
The question now is whether the North Koreans have developed their own capabilities to produce fuel. Given the country 's determination – and success – to prove that it could launch a nuclear attack in the US, experts believe this is just another hurdle to overcome.
Eckhart W. Schmidt, who wrote a two volume manual on fuels like UDMH and fuel plants worldwide, said his own judgment was that North Korea could learn to achieve industrial production "if the supply of China or Russia was cut"
. Van Diepen, the former head of the State Department, said that over the course of the quarter-century, North Koreans were working on more and more sophisticated missiles, they have undergone many steps foreign aid to get fuel, precursors, formula and manufacturing machinery. He said that the North would probably have managed to generate volatile fuel – even if this has resulted in occasional tragedies.
"My supposition," said Mr. Van Diepen, "is the North Korean tolerance for losses are probably quite high. Block ads! (Why?)
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