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一张照片揭开朝鲜核项目的最高机密

更新时间:2017-2-28 19:02:46 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

What One Photo Tells Us About North Korea’s Nuclear Program
一张照片揭开朝鲜核项目的最高机密

Experts who want to pierce North Korea’s extreme secrecy have to be creative. One surprisingly rich resource: the country’s own propaganda, like the photo below.

想要刺探朝鲜最高机密的专家们必须具有创造性。有一个信息十分丰富的来源:该国自己的宣传材料,比如下面这张照片。

Images like this one might look silly, but they are rich with insights into the country’s military and politics. By using high-tech forensics and traditional detective work, analysts and intelligence agencies can use photos to track North Korea’s internal politics and expanding weapons programs with stunning granularity.

这种照片可能看起来很蠢,但它们能提供对该国军事和政治情况的丰富洞察。通过使用高科技取证和传统侦查手段,分析师和情报机构可以通过这些照片追踪朝鲜国内的政治情况和不断扩张的武器项目,细节之丰富十分惊人。

Several experts walked us through this photo of Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, unveiling what he claimed was a new nuclear device. But the image, from March 2016, may show more than Mr. Kim intended: the possible range of the missile behind him, his relationship with the military, even his precise location.

几位专家带我们研究了朝鲜领导人金正恩(Kim Jong-un)的这张照片,揭秘他所说的新核武器。不过,这张拍摄于2016年3月的照片所展示的内容可能多于金正恩的期望:他身后导弹的可能射程,他与军方的关系,甚至包括他的准确位置。

The Bomb

核弹

North Korea calls this its first miniaturized nuclear warhead, small enough to fit on a missile. Analysts call it the disco ball.

朝鲜声称这是该国的第一枚小型核弹头,可以安装在导弹上。分析师称它为迪斯科闪光球。

Jeffrey Lewis, an analyst at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, used the photo to estimate the device’s size, from which he deduced its weight — a few hundred kilograms — and its destructive yield, about 20 kilotons, roughly equivalent to the atomic bombs that the United States dropped on Japan.

明德大学蒙特雷国际研究学院(Middlebury Institute of International Studies)防扩散研究中心(Center for Nonproliferation Studies)的分析师杰弗里·刘易斯(Jeffrey Lewis)用这张照片估算出该武器的大小,从而推算出它的重量——几百公斤——以及它的破坏当量,约为20千吨,大致相当于美国在日本投掷的两颗原子弹的威力。

But more important than yield was its small size – about 60 centimeters in diameter – which appears to match North Korea’s claim that it can fit on their long-range missiles, a major leap forward for the country’s nuclear prowess.

但比当量更重要的是它的体积——直径约为60厘米——这似乎与朝鲜称它能安装在远程导弹上的说法相吻合。对该国的核实力来说,这是重要进步。

Analysts are unsure about the metal plug. It could be a routine component to trigger detonation or it could be used to inject gas, making the device more efficient. This would allow North Korea to build more warheads out of limited plutonium supplies, multiplying the size of its arsenal.

分析师们不太确定它的金属火花塞。它可能是引爆的常规部件,也可能用来注入气体,让该装置更具效能。这将允许朝鲜用有限的钚原料制造出更多弹头,扩大其核武库的规模。

There’s also disagreement over the nozzle. Some suspect it’s a safety feature used to enter the nuclear “pit” just before detonation; others say it could be used to arm the warhead. Analysts hope new images will emerge that will help them solve these riddles.

对管嘴也有不同意见。有些人猜测,它是一个用来在引爆前进入核“道”的安全装置,也有人说,它可以被用来安装弹头。分析师们希望出现新照片,帮助他们弄清这些谜团。

The Outfit

服装

Scholars of North Korean state media recognize Mr. Kim’s jacket from official portrayals of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, the nation’s founding leader. The elder Kim is heavily celebrated in state media and closely associated with the Korean War. Mr. Kim, by borrowing his coat, is sending a message that North Korea is again on a war footing.

研究朝鲜官方媒体的学者们从金正恩祖父、该国国父金日成(Kim Il-sung)的官方肖像中认出了金正恩的外衣。金日成一直得到朝鲜官方媒体的热情颂扬,与朝鲜战争关系密切。金正恩对祖父外衣的借用释放了一个信号:朝鲜再次处于战时状态。

Such details help scholars to understand how Mr. Kim is constructing his legitimacy. By mimicking his grandfather, he is implicitly breaking with his father, Kim Jong-il, who tended to rule through institutions like the military and the Communist Party. Instead, Mr. Kim is asserting himself as the center of all authority, as his grandfather did. This pose can help experts better understand the government’s internal dynamics and how it might behave.

这些细节帮助学者们理解金正恩正在如何构建自己的合法地位。通过模仿自己的祖父,他正在悄悄地与父亲金正日决裂,后者倾向于通过军队和共产党等机构进行统治。而金正恩在像自己的祖父那样确立自己作为所有权力中心的地位。这种姿态可以帮助专家们更好地理解该国政府的内部形势,以及它可能会如何行动。

The Entourage

随从

Notice what’s absent: military uniforms at an event to unveil a new military weapon. In a country where propaganda sets reality, and the political hierarchy can be life or death, such choices matter.

注意那些缺失的东西:在一个新武器揭幕仪式上没有出现军装。在这个国家,宣传照片界定着事实,政治级别可能意味着生死,此类选择很重要。

That’s why Michael Madden, an analyst, tracks appearances by North Korean officials. Here, he spotted civilian officials and two key military leaders: the head of the nuclear program and the head of missile forces, both in civilian clothing.

这正是分析师迈克尔·马登(Michael Madden)一直观察朝鲜官员们亮相情况的原因。在这张照片中,他认出了一些文官和两名重要军事首领:该核项目的负责人和导弹部队的负责人,两人都没有穿军装。

That sends a clear message: Mr. Kim is asserting that he runs the nuclear weapons program personally, cutting out the usual chain of command. “This is not rule by the military anymore. This is rule by one man,” said Joshua Pollack, who edits the Nonproliferation Review.

那释放了一个明确的信号:金正恩在确保自己亲自掌管该核武器项目,切断了通常的指挥链条。“这不再是通过军队统治,而是个人统治,”《防扩散评论》(Nonproliferation Review)的主编乔舒亚·波拉克(Joshua Pollack)说。

The body language is also significant: Mr. Kim is giving guidance as even top military officials dutifully take notes, a show of submission to his personal authority over this specific warhead.

身体语言也具有重要意义:金正恩下达指示时,甚至连高级军官也在认真记笔记,表明在这枚核弹头的问题上,他们服从金的个人权威。

The Missile

导弹

Even a glimpse of the intercontinental missile in the background reveals important information. David Schmerler, also with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, noticed the white lettering, which is Korean for “support.” Missile airframes are fragile and so have to be rested where the frame is strongest — between the internal tanks.

甚至看一眼照片背景中的这枚洲际导弹,也能发现重要信息。防扩散研究中心的大卫·舒默勒(David Schmerler)注意到了那些白字,它们在朝鲜语中的意思是“支撑”。导弹弹体很脆弱,所以支点必须是机身最坚固的部位,也就是内箱之间。

By measuring the number and size of those tanks, Mr. Schmerler was able to effectively X-ray the missile’s interior and deduce information like the type of fuel used. Altogether, this reveals that the missile is designed for a range of thousands of miles — enough to reach Washington, D.C., if the technology is perfected.

通过测量这些箱体的数量和大小,舒默勒能够有效地探测出导弹的内部格局,推测燃料的类型等信息。总的来说,它透露出,这枚导弹的设计射程为几千英里——如果技术完善的话,足以到达华盛顿特区。

Melissa Hanham, also of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, is pairing these findings with a series of photos North Korea has released of rocket engine tests, some for the KN-08. Analysis of the flame from the engine, particularly its color, confirm it’s designed to be able to reach the East Coast of the United States one day.

防扩散研究中心的梅莉莎·哈纳姆(Melissa Hanham)正在把这些发现与朝鲜发布的一系列火箭发动机试验的照片——有些是KN-08导弹的试验——进行对比。对发动机火焰,尤其是其颜色的分析证明,它是为有朝一日能到达美国东海岸而设计的。

The Facility

设施

North Korea did not name the location, but analysts figured it out by sorting through thousands of propaganda photos to identify clues.

朝鲜没有说明这张照片的拍摄地点,但分析师们通过整理数千张宣传照片,寻找线索,确定了地点。

They narrowed their search, in part, by examining photos where Mr. Kim wore the same outfit, reasoning that his proclivity for wearing the same clothing over a stretch of time would help them spot patterns. (Mr. Pollack also said they could roughly date an undated photo by Mr. Kim’s weight, which tends to fluctuate.)

他们部分通过研究金正恩穿同一件外衣的照片缩小了搜索范围,他们认为,金在一段时间内穿同一件衣服的嗜好能帮他们找到规律(波拉克也表示,他们能通过金正恩的体重——他的体重经常波动——大致推算出一张未注明日期的照片的日期)。

That led them to an earlier photo of the missile facility, whose tiny architectural details and a banner matched those in the “disco ball” photo. Propaganda officials had not bothered to hide its location: the Chamjin missile factory just outside Pyongyang.

这引导他们找到了该导弹设施早期的一张照片,其细微建筑细节和一条横幅与这张“迪斯科闪光球”照片相符。宣传官员没有隐藏它的位置:平壤郊区箴进的导弹工厂。

Mr. Lewis has been monitoring the facility ever since. He watches how and when it is used, looking for bursts in traffic or new construction. By tracking which facilities are expanded and which are neglected, he can infer the same of whichever program a facility houses.

从那时起,刘易斯一直在监视该工厂,观察它如何以及何时被使用,寻找交通或新建设活动的骤涨点。通过追踪哪些设施被扩展、哪些被忽略,他能推断出一个设施里的项目。

Satellite photos show this facility getting a recent upgrade — which Mr. Lewis was able to see up close by finding a matching propaganda photo. Such glimpses give him a feel for key weapons centers. He thinks he may even have spotted Mr. Kim’s car.

卫星照片显示该设施最近进行了一次升级——刘易斯找到了一张与之匹配的宣传照片,得以近距离观察。这样的观察让他对一些关键武器中心有了一些感觉。他认为自己甚至可能发现了金正恩的轿车。

These small observations add up, demonstrating that, as Mr. Pollack put it of North Korea’s nuclear development, “this is a deadly serious program.”

这些细小的观察累积在一起,证明了波拉克对朝鲜核发展的观点——“这是一个非常严肃的项目。”

Ms. Hanham believes some details may have been deliberately revealed to demonstrate the country’s growing capabilities. Whereas most such images are doctored, if only to improve Mr. Kim’s appearance, she noticed that this was conspicuously unretouched — perhaps a message to the foreign intelligence agencies who conduct such analyses.

哈纳姆认为,有些细节可能是故意透露的,以彰显该国日益增长的能力。虽然大多数此类照片都经过修改——如果只是为了提升金正恩的形象的话——她指出,这张显然没有经过修饰,它可能是发给进行此类分析的外国情报机构的消息。

“This is being offered as evidence. This is supposed to be proof,” she said. Whereas analysts had long doubted the country’s grandiose claims, she added, “2016 was about showing us all the capabilities that we had mocked.”

“这是为了提供证据,应该是作为一种证明,”她说。虽然分析人士长期以来一直对该国的浮夸声明表示怀疑,但她补充说,“2016年,朝鲜向我们展示了我们曾经嘲笑它所不具备的所有能力。”

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