Ankit Panda Profile picture
Author of KIM JONG UN AND THE BOMB (Hurst/Oxford) Editor-at-Large @Diplomat_APAC Past: @FAScientists, @CFR_org, @PrincetonSPIA, @Princeton
Birger Leth Profile picture Aviva Gabriel Profile picture Wingedream Profile picture 3 added to My Authors
4 Aug
I’ve been tough on @US_Stratcom for their ridiculous “Myth Monday” posts, but allow me to say something that comes close to agreeing with one of the points they sought to make this Monday (but not exactly). It concerns this tweet (and others like it from today).
Presumably this person (and others) who saw the footage and were *absolutely convinced* it was a nuclear weapon have received their sense of what a nuke looks like (or should look like) from certain sources.
And there’s a strong human tendency to refer to known examples of things (real and imagined) to explain new, possibly uncertain phenomena (see: availability heuristic).
Read 9 tweets
4 Aug
Jordan Seismological Observatory reports a 4.5M seismic measurement from the Beirut blast. That’s mind-boggling for a conventional, surface-level explosion.
This is so large that it bears waiting for measurements from other seismic monitors.
For instance, @ctbto_alerts’ IMS should be able to contribute to our understanding of this event.
Read 7 tweets
29 Jul
The history of US "negative guidance" (indirect technical assistance) to the French nuclear weapons program is fascinating; see point (d) on Paris' development of a "fusion warhead" trigger.…
AFAIU, "negative guidance" was basically the equivalent of US technical experts telling their French counterparts whether a certain design choice was heading in the right direction or not. (Don't let them copy your homework, but tell them if they're making obvious mistakes.)
An interesting addendum on a September 25, 1973, memorandum on a meeting between Schlesinger and Robert Galley (French defense minister).
Read 5 tweets
8 Jul
Looks like North Korea still has nuclear weapons.
So here’s a great story by @ZcohenCNN, highlighting geospatial work by @ArmsControlWonk, @atomic_pickles, @DavidLaBoon, and @DaveSchmerler.

On ‘Wollo-ri’—a name worth adding to our North Korea nuclear vernacular.…
Read 11 tweets
21 Apr
Yes. I’ve seen the reports. I’m zeroing in on the phrasing here (attributed to one official).

a) monitoring “intelligence” could mean a few things
b) wording does not imply direct US sources/methods have verified this
c) the premise—Kim in trouble after surgery—is plausible
I haven’t commented on Twitter because I found them not credible, but rumors have been circulating for a couple days that Kim is in a coma or brain dead. These are familiar rumors from previous bouts of his absence from public appearances; let’s wait.
The state of Kim Jong Un’s health is closely guarded, in general (to the point that his bodily waste was collected and shipped home after his overseas travel to summits with Trump, etc.).
Read 4 tweets
19 Dec 19
Recent developments in India — a short thread.
Mobile internet shutdowns affecting reporting.
Partial shutdown of the Delhi metro to inhibit civil protest.
Read 8 tweets
9 Dec 19
He’s really spelling things out here: we’re doing this so Trump wakes up and smells the need to do a deal right now. (Really, this has been part of the goal since this year’s missile-testing campaign began back in May.) #NorthKorea
Really underscores what @NarangVipin and I wrote earlier this year about Kim’s “maximum pressure” campaign: 26 missile tests and one static engine test later, the pressure is still insufficient for Trump to be “surprised.”…
@NarangVipin ...and so the pressure is set to rise. Kim Yong Chol still references to the end-of-year deadline, which suggests we should see more testing before the year ends. (Probably before the 5th Plenum of the 7th CC of the WPK convenes.)
Read 5 tweets
3 Dec 19
Seeking warmth from the bitter cold by a fire, tended to by the suryong. Evocative imagery as usual from North Korea.
Follows nicely with the Rodong editorials this year warning that hard times lie ahead and Kim’s leadership and self-reliance are the path ahead.
Read 2 tweets
6 Nov 19
Dang, New Mexico. You pretty.
Hello, ABQ!
And what better way to arrive in New Mexico than to be received by the great @CherylRofer!
Read 3 tweets
5 Nov 19
This is jaw-droppingly false from South Korea’s national security adviser: “Once the Tongchang-ri missile facility is abolished completely, I can say with confidence that the North will not be able to launch an ICBM”…
North Korea has launched three ICBMs to date (2 x Hwasong-14/KN20, 1 x Hwasong-15/KN22); none of these launches have taken place from Tongchang-ri (Sohae).
Hard to view Mr. Chung’s comments as anything other than the politicization of intelligence; NIS & MOD senior staff (also appointed by Pres. Moon Jae-in) offer sharply divergent assessments.
Read 6 tweets
5 Nov 19
America’s necktie diversity is our greatest strength in 21st century great power competition.
(Bolo ties are an emerging technology.)
Read 4 tweets
5 Nov 19
I'm interested in Rouhani's exact phrasing on this decision.
Better detail here. Still a very bad omen for the JCPOA.
Via @Reuters.
Read 3 tweets
1 Nov 19
Note: if North Korea launches another missile this year, it’ll be the busiest missile testing year in its history. (2016 and 2019 are currently tied at 24 launches.) This year’s testing campaign is also compressed, given that it only began in May!
2019 lacks the drama, system diversity, and overall pizzazz of 2016/2017, but in quantitative terms, the Munitions Industry Department/Academy of Defense Science have been busy.
(Also, don’t @ me about MRLs not being “ballistic missiles”—the distinction is semantic.)
Read 3 tweets
1 Nov 19
We have a nice example of follow-up on stated testing & evaluation objectives with this week’s North Korean test of the KN25 short-range ballistic missile/“super-large multiple rocket launcher”. 1/x
After the September test of the KN25 (the second test), Kim said: ”what remains to be done is running fire test which is most vivid character in terms of the power of multiple rocket launcher.” 2/x
The time intervals between the launches of previous KN25 missiles are helpful here.
— Aug 24: 15 minutes
— Sep 10: 19 minutes
— Oct 31: 3 minutes
Read 6 tweets
1 Nov 19
Bruh. “North Korea’s newest missile capabilities do not appear to pose ‘very grave threats’ to the South’s national security, director of the presidential National Security Office (NSO) Chung Eui-yong said Friday”…
No one’s asking for threat inflation, but come on.
At least they’re not “projectiles” anymore.
Read 3 tweets
10 Oct 19
This *cannot* be real. (Appears to be the 10-dash version.)
This also is the *10-dash* version. Where are all these producers getting the less common 10-dash line maps? (That’s not the main problem with this, of course, but a curiosity still.)
Looks like they’re actually doing their due diligence and hewing to the official SinoMaps (2013) version, which did indeed add the 10th dash. Most popular maps that portray the Chinese South China Sea claim still use the 9 dashes.
Read 4 tweets
3 Oct 19
Just in: high resolution images of the October 2, 2019, inaugural test-launch of the Pukguksong-3, the second submarine-launched ballistic missile design seen in #NorthKorea.
Missile detail. Looks like the photographers had a little trouble capturing this moment and this was touched up.
Clearly view of the endcap being ejected.
Read 5 tweets
2 Oct 19
(Rather, probably Pukguksong-3.)
This is the part of the day where I manually DoS KCNA.
Read 33 tweets
1 Oct 19
Moon Jae-in's F-35A check-in yesterday gets a reply. #NorthKorea
Single missile is interesting. They've tended to come in pairs this year.
Also, given the Trump administration's willingness to brush aside the short-range testing this year, no cost in testing for upcoming working-level talks.
Read 37 tweets
30 Sep 19
Approximately 5 hours until the start of #China’s big October 1 military parade. (Will start at 10 p.m. ET for fellow East Coasters.)
There’s a lot here.
Read 70 tweets
10 Sep 19
Jaw drop: “The informant, according to people familiar with the matter, was outside of Mr. Putin’s inner circle, but saw him regularly and had access to high-level Kremlin decision-making — easily making the source one of the agency’s most valuable assets”…
The claims that are reported here are huge: “The Moscow informant was instrumental to the C.I.A.’s most explosive conclusion about Russia’s interference campaign: that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered and orchestrated it himself”
This would seem to be the biggest overseas CIA asset loss story since the 2017 story on China’s counterintel campaign:…
Read 3 tweets