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How Seoul will countervail Pyongyang`s nuclear ambition?

How Seoul will countervail Pyongyang`s nuclear ambition?

Posted February. 26, 2015 07:11,   


North Korea may have 100 nuclear bombs at maximum in five years, a U.S. researcher said. Former State Department official Joel Wit estimated the communist regime has a stockpile of some 10 to 16 nuclear weapons currently and made a projection that the isolated country may get 20 to 100 atomic arms by 2020. If the worst scenario of North Korea having "100 nuclear arms" becomes reality, the North would be able to deploy the strategic nuclear arms in any places that are deemed necessary. In the “2015 Index of U.S. Military Strength,” American research think tank Heritage Foundation said that the Kim Jong Un regime is not interested in relinquishing its nuclear ambitions or returning to the six-party talks. The North will continue developing nuclear weapons, the foundation forecasted.

However, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff has overlooked the projection, saying, “It would be hard for North Korea to make such achievement.” Downplaying the North’s nuclear ambition does not resolve all the nuclear threats. In the U.S.-China summit held in November last year, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping shared the view that “North Korea’s nuclear program development is not likely to succeed,” but no solution has been in sight yet. Rather, North Korean nuclear issue seems to be put on the back burner in the priority list of President Obama, who is busy handling other international issues, such as the terrorist attacks by IS or Ukraine crisis.

If the North Korean nuclear issue is left unchecked, the international community will be put under serious threat. South African confidential document revealed that the British Secret Intelligence Service known as MI6 launched a secret operation to win over a North Korean official who knew the top secret information about the nuclear program in North Korea. What would be the reason for secret intelligence agencies of two nations, which are not direct stakeholders of the North’s nuclear program, to be engaged in secret intelligence operation like 007 films? The six party talks have been put to a hold for six years after the chief delegate meeting in December 2008. The South Korean government says it is having discussions with other participants on the so-called "Korean Formula," which contains conditions for resumption of the talks, in an effort to search for a solution different from previous ones. However, as the "Korean Formula" has never been made public, it still remains questionable whether it is a truly new solution.

No matter how hard it is to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, the South Korean government must exert every possible effort including the resumption of the six party talks. South Korea must be on alert not to waste time and end up with a disaster where North Korea builds up its nuclear stockpile. The former U.S. official Wit said, “Why does anyone think that a North Korea with 50 to 100 nuclear weapons is going to be interested in reunification with South Korea on any terms but its own? So we need to purge our policies of fantasies and focus on reality." The South Korean government must ruminate over this view.