N. Korea to use U.S. focus on Iran to speed up nuclear weapons development: Source
Updated: 2020-01-07 07:28:29 KST
A South Korean military source said on Monday that the incidents following the U.S killing of Iran's top security and intelligence commander General Qassem Soleimani could push the North Korean denuclearization issue further down U.S. President Donald Trump's list of priorities amid the stalled denuclearization talks between Pyeongyang and Washington.
The North Korean regime, which has warned of major provocations if it doesn't get concessions from the U.S., could use the change of focus by Washington to speed up the development of its nuclear weapons program and nuclear delivery systems to use them as a bargaining chip in denuclearization talks.
A local expert says the fact that Iran has broken off from commitments in the 2015 nuclear deal to observe limitations on its capacity for level of enrichment may prompt the North to also roll back from its own moratorium on nuclear weapons development.
"Iran and North Korea share the same definition on denuclearization in that their version entails not developing additional nuclear weapons rather than dismantling what they've already developed."
Local media outlets in South Korea say the targeted killing of Soleimani sends an implicit warning to North Korea that the utilization of drones could be more rampant in military operations by the U.S.
The U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone used to target Soleimani became operational in 2007 and is a remotely piloted aircraft designed primarily for precision strikes capable of annihilating targets with missiles or other munitions of up to one.seven tons.
The U.S. Forces Korea is known to operate the MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone, which can carry Hellfire missiles and other miniature precision guided munitions.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.