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North Korea: “We Are Making Additional Nuclear Weapons”

North Korea: “We Are Making Additional Nuclear Weapons”

Posted June. 10, 2005 06:44,   


In an interview with ABC on June 8 during its visit to North Korea to gather news materials, DPRK Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Gye Gwan revealed, “North Korea is making additional nuclear weapons.”

He answered in the affirmative to the question, “Is North Korea making additional nuclear weapons?” and added, “North Korea has enough nuclear weapons to protect itself from the U.S.’s attack, but we cannot disclose the specific quantity of our nuclear weapon reserves.”

Asked whether “it is possible for the North to have long-range missiles loaded with nuclear warheads,” he replied, “The North’s scientists possess a top-class level of technology.” However, when asked if “the North holds missiles capable of attacking the U.S. mainland,” he pronounced with certainty, “The North has no intention of attacking the U.S.”

Vice Minister Kim has served as the North’s chief negotiator in the six-party talks.

Why Does the North Reveal This Information at This Juncture?-

Vice Minister Kim’s remark can be interpreted as a strategic position meant to imply that, regarding the North’s nuclear program issue, Pyongyang intends to prevent the result of the U.S.-South Korea summit meeting on June 11 from being against it.

In other words, it can be regarded as a warning message that military pressures against the North might be significant burden to the U.S. as well given the North’s possession of a nuclear arsenal.

In addition, some say that, by stressing that time is not on the side of either the U.S. or the South, North Korea is aiming to cause a rift between the two allied nations.

Kim Seong-han, professor at the Institute of Foreign Affairs & National Security, said,

“Vice Minister Kim’s remark can be interpreted as a message to the U.S. that as diplomatic resolution over the North’s nuclear program issue is prolonged, resulting in a continuous increase of the amount of North’s nuclear weapons, the U.S. should take responsibility for all possible outcomes.”

This analysis is corroborated by the fact that the North purposely invited ABC in order to convey its firm position to the U.S.

What Is the North’s Goal?-

North Korea seems to have set the basic goal of being recognized as a nuclear nation by the U.S. without conducting nuclear tests. After the announcing on February 10 that it possesses nuclear weapons, the North has consistently insisted that it has tried to increase the amount of nuclear weapons in order to face the pressure from the U.S.

The North claimed on March 31 that the six-party talks should change to a disarmament talk between the U.S. and the North.

The fact that the North emphasizes its possession of nuclear weapons seems to be aimed at diverting the remaining five participants of the six-party talks from focusing on the dismantlement of the North’s nuclear program.

Analysis also indicates that the North seeks to associate the nuclear weapons dismantlement issue with the discontinuation of the U.S.’s nuclear umbrella for South Korea and the withdrawal of the USFK by eliciting bilateral talks with the U.S., which would put the North on an equal footing with the superpower at the negotiation table.

Kim Tae-hyo, professor of the politics and diplomacy department at Sungkyunkwan University, noted, “In my own judgment, the North’s ultimate goal is to be recognized internationally as a nuclear nation.”

Soon-TaekKwon taewon_ha@donga.com maypole@donga.com