The Reality of North Korea as a Nuclear Power
Credit: UN photo
By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 11 2018 (IPS)
With a track record of six underground nuclear tests between 2006 and 2017, North Korea is desperately yearning to be recognized as the world’s ninth nuclear power – trailing behind the US, UK, France, China, Russia, India, Pakistan and Israel.
But that recognition seems elusive– despite the increasing nuclear threats by Pyongyang and the continued war of words between two of the world’s most unpredictable leaders: US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Arguing that North Koreans have little reason to give up their weapons program, the New York Times ran a story last November with a realistically arresting headline which read: “The North is a Nuclear Power Now. Get Used to it”.
But the world’s five major nuclear powers, the UK, US, France, China and Russia, who are also permanent members of the UN Security Council, have refused to bestow the nuclear badge of honour to the North Koreans.
North Korea, meanwhile, has pointed out that the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the ouster of Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi, were perhaps facilitated by one fact: none of these countries had nuclear weapons or had given up developing nuclear weapons.
“And that is why we will never give up ours,” a North Korean diplomat was quoted as saying.
Dr M.V. Ramana, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia, told IPS there is, however, hope in the recent placatory moves by North and South Korea.
“I think that the situation can return to a calmer state, although it is entirely possible that this calmer state would involve North Korea holding on to nuclear weapons. I suspect that for the time being the world will have to live with North Korea’s nuclear …read more