North Korea tried to sell nuclear weapons material online

A United Nations report released this month concludes that a North Korean front company, Green Pine Association Corp., has been trying to sell lithium-6 online. From the Wall Street Journal:

Lithium-6 can be used to produce tritium, which is used to flood neutrons into a nuclear device and magnify the explosive power of nuclear detonations, allowing countries to build bombs with smaller amounts of plutonium or uranium, nuclear experts said.

These smaller devices can be affixed to intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“Lithium-6 is ideal, not only for making tritium for boosting fission devices, but also for directly fueling advanced weapons—including thermonuclear bombs,” said Henry Sokolski, a former Pentagon official who heads the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, a Washington think tank.

The country North Korea was trying to sell the lithium-6 to has not been identified. UPI adds that, according to the UN report, Green Pine Association Corp. produces, “missile systems, submarines and maritime military equipment.”

The United States is already concerned about North Korea’s frequent missile tests. As Ed reported Monday, North Korea fired four missiles into the sea last weekend. The next day, North Korea’s state-run media announced the missile test had been practice runs for attacks on U.S. military bases in Japan. That announcement included a threat that North Korea would use a “nuclear tipped missile” against the source of any attack on North Korea.

North Korea has been making outlandish, even cartoonish, threats against the U.S. for years. A high-ranking defector told CNN in January that Kim Jong Un wanted to blackmail the Trump administration by threatening to expand its nuclear arsenal. But the possible sale of nuclear material to other states adds a new wrinkle to those threats.

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