Kim Jong-il featured as a card in Greenpeace's "Most Wanted" nuclear solitaire deck, distributed at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in the year 2000.
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
We're calling for a restrained reaction from other countries,
such as South Korea, Japan and the United States, and a
re-convening of the six-party talks.
Nobody wants yet another country to have a nuclear arsenal, but
with over 5,000 nuclear weapons in the arsenal of the United States
of America, the relative balance of power has to be kept in mind.
It's bad enough that North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon, but
it will be worse if other countries don't talk to them.
How to become a nuclear weapons state: step one, get nuclear power
The history of North Korea's pursuit of the bomb is a cautionary
tale about the dual use of nuclear power and the failures of the
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.
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 other 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 nuclear test. And due tothe
widespread use of nuclear energy about 40 other countries
haveaccess to nuclear weapons material and therefore possess the
abilityto develop nuclear weapons.
One arms control expert, Dr. Jeffery Lewis published
details online in August ofthis year of the test site near
Kilju/Kilchu. His analysis of
Google Earth Satellite imagery of the site is available here
(you'll need to have Google Earth installed for that link to
A new Asian arms race?
North Korea's new nuclear capability threatens to destabilize
the entire region.
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
Non-Proliferation Treaty, but while the US and other nuclear
powers are quick to demand full compliance by the non-nuclear
weapons states, they've done little to fulfil their part of the
bargain: a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and concrete
steps toward nuclear disarmament.
A test ban treaty has been negotiated but remains unratified by
the US, China and Israel, among others. The number of nuclear
weapons in the world today remains on par with the number of
weapons which existed when the Non-Proliferation Treaty was
negotiated in the 1960s.
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