Kim Jong-il featured as a card in Greenpeace's "Most Wanted" nuclear solitaire deck, distributed at the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.
The history of North Korea's pursuit of the bomb is a cautionary
tale about the dual use of nuclear power. The country was given
reactor technology and expertise by several countries, had made the
mandatory promises to use that power for energy, not weapons, and
until a few years ago allowed inspectors to verify it was so.
Breaking news: North Korean detonates nuclear
weapon: By going nuclear, North Korea has highlighted the
weakness of the non-proliferation treaty. Pyongyang has underscored
the dangerous connection between nuclear research, nuclear power
and nuclear weapons.
The next time someone tells you that nuclear power is "clean and
safe"ask them how North Korea was able to convert their reactors
From Atoms for Peace to atomic weapons
North Korea was suspected of pursuing an active weapons program
up to 1994, when it signed an agreement with the US to freeze all
Then in December 2002 it restarted its nuclear reactor at
Yongbyon. Monitors from the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) were expelled, and in January 2003, North Korea declared its
withdrawal from the international Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In mid-2003 Pyongyang announced it had completed the
reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel rods to extract weapons-grade
plutonium and was developing a "nuclear deterrent."
By early 2005 North Korea announced it had produced nuclear
weapons, but it has not, to date, conducted a test detonation.
Seven nations have demonstrated their nuclear capabilities: The
US, The Russian Federation, the UK, France, China, India, and
Pakistan. Israel is known to have nuclear weapons but has never
admitted as much, and never claimed responsibility for an explosive
A new Asian arms race?
If North Korea does test a nuclear weapon, it threatens to
destabilize the entire region. Tensions on the Korean Peninsular
will rise, and a new nuclear arms race could start in South East
South Korea has expressed an interest in obtaining stockpiles of
plutonium similar to those in Japan, where one of the world's
largest repositories of nuclear weapons material sits side-by-side
with some of the world's most advanced missile technology.
The nuclear club ought to be getting smaller, and it would be if
thenuclear weapons states were to live up to their commitments to
rid theworld of nuclear weapons. That was the deal of the
"Ratherthan testing a nuclear weapon, Kim Jong-il should
celebrate theoccasion by taking a step towards a nuclear free
world," says SteveShallhorn, Executive Director of Greenpeace
Australia Pacific. "As longas some countries have nuclear weapons
other countries will inevitablyseek to achieve them. Not only
should North Korea refrain from thistest and renounce its nuclear
weapons programme, so should each andevery one of the other nuclear
As Kim Jong-il celebrates, we're urging him to forego the