Go to contents

[Editorial] Is N. Korea Determined to Live With Nukes?

Posted May. 26, 2009 05:24,   


North Korea conducted its second nuclear test yesterday, a provocation which violates an inter-Korean agreement on denuclearization, a six-party deal, and U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718. After the test, Pyongyang said, “This will contribute to guaranteeing peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and its neighboring region.” It is loathsome to hear the North’s argument after doing such risky stuff. In addition to the nuclear test, it also launched missiles.

The latest nuclear test displayed Pyongyang’s clear intention of becoming a major military power by 2012 on the basis of its “military-first” policy. Yesterday’s test came after the North’s launch of its Taepodong-2 missile last month. The North’s next step is clear: reducing the size of a nuclear weapon to load onto a missile.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the North’s nuclear explosion had a force of 20 kilotons, 40 times that of Pyongyang’s test three years ago. Admittedly, the North has become a bigger threat but it is hugely mistaken if it believes it can wield power over the international community. The world cannot tolerate Pyongyang’s nuclear development indefinitely. U.S. President Barack Obama said, ”North Korea is directly and recklessly challenging the international community. North Korea will not find international acceptance unless it abandons the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.” The South Korean government issued a statement through the National Security Council calling the test an “unacceptable provocation.”

South Korea must learn from what happened between the North’s first nuclear test in 2006 and this one. The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution on imposing sanctions on the North, but failed to prevent another test. The six-party talks have been useless. The United States and the international community must recognize that they cannot prevent the North’s nuclear armament through talks. Seoul, Washington and other six-party participants must cooperate closely and set a specific action plan. China and Russia must regret failing to block the nuclear test because they lowered their responses to presidential statements in the wake of North Korea’s rocket provocations, and must do their best as permanent members of the U.S. Security Council for global peace.

Pyongyang seems to believe that it can maintain its authoritarian system with nuclear weapons. But North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and his ruling elite must realize that pouring money into nuclear weapons and missile development without caring for their hungry people will lead to their country’s implosion.

In South Korea, the country needs more than bipartisan efforts at a time when national security is threatened. But the main opposition Democratic Party has regrettably issued a statement blaming the latest nuclear test on the Lee Myung-bak administration’s Cold War-like policy toward North Korea.