Pyongyang’s Neighbors Worry Over Nuclear Arms via The Wall Street Journal Asia


WASHINGTON—For years, the biggest questions surrounding North Korea have involved the isolated country’s nuclear devices and its missiles, some of which could reach Alaska.

How the country’s leadership succession will unfold in the aftermath of dictator Kim Jong Il’s death—and what that means for North Korea’s huge military and its nuclear arsenal—has now emerged in sharp relief.

On paper, the National Defense Commission has control of nuclear devices and missiles. The NDC is headed by Kim Jong Il’s brother-in-law, Jang Song Taek. Mr. Jang is widely expected to act as an adviser to Kim Jong Eun, the youngest son of the deceased leader widely considered to be in line for the country’s top post.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday that the U.S. doesn’t have “any additional concerns beyond the ones that we have long had with North Korea’s approach to nuclear issues.”

However, North Korea experts note that the country doesn’t have many of the safeguards routinely used by nuclear states to prevent unauthorized or accidental deployment of the weapons.

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