What’s the deal with North Korea (NK)? Why did they announce that they were still working on nuclear weapons in spite of an international agreement? This is sure to destablize the region in turns of arms control. Will Japan decide that they can’t standby and rearm? (and they certainly have the resources to go nuclear in less than three year in a crash program). And what about the PRC? I would think that in the long term, having a little neighbor with nukes is not in there long term economic interest (perhaps as a proxy?). One can argue that they’re trying to force the US to back down the US’s pre-emptive strike policy which NK may feel impeirled by (per president Bush’s “Axis of Evil” assertion.)
But that supposition is negated by the fact that they continued to develop these weapons past the 1994 agreement, when (I’m assuming) tensions were reduced. As a result, if NK decided to agree again not to continue developing these weapons, it’s unclear to me how we “trust” them to fullfil those agreements.
On the other hand, I suppose this diplomatic aspect is much more common in the world of realpolitick then I’m willing to admit.
“Why did they announce that they were still working on nuclear weapons in spite of an international agreement?”
Their claims might have something to do with American weaseling on their end of the agreement.
NK was never forced to turn over its pre-agreement stock of plutonium:
How did we weasel out? Your answer implies that we requested they turn over there stock of Pu, and we didn’t. I wasn’t able to find that information in the links you provided me. Or was it because we didn’t provide the oil as promised?
The U.S. likely didn’t ask for N Korea’s enriched plutonium because there’d be no way to verify that they had got it all. That means that even with the 94 agreement, Korea has what it needs for 2 or 3 nukes.
Here’s some links that clarify what I mean by the US weaseling on the agreement:
Feb 2000: North Korea Threatens to ‘Restart Reactors’
Aug 2002: N. Korea demands U.S. power payments
Feb 2002: Is George W ignoring George Sr’s advice on Korea?
We’ve been cranky about sending them oil, and have not permitted construction of the agreed upon light-water reactors. Beyond that, we’ve stopped speaking to them about the deal, or anything else for that matter.
As far as more recent links go: All things Considered (npr.org) ran a story on the 94 agreement this evening. It should be posted on their website soon.
Galen, etc.: N. Korea’s “leadership” has a long history of unpredictable and bizzare behavior. For instance, there is the Pueblo incident, The EC-121 incident, the Blue House incident, the innumerable commando landings in S. Korea, the kidnapping of Japanese children, the retention of US POWs from the war, etc., etc. etc. (I wish I could find a site that summarizes all of these.)
“To have a weapon, they would first need to test one.” No, not really…
If they wanted to test their bomb, they would not hesitate to do so on Seoul. They might do it in response to some percieved provocation, or they might do it just because they feel it would be advantageous to do so at that particular moment.
(IANA nuclear Scientist, but…) Back in the early days of nuclear weapons development, live testing was more necessary because of the smaller knowledge base. Nowadays, the combination of experience and better mathematical modelling seem to make actual live-fire testing more of a political demonstration. I base this on the existing nuclear powers’ agreement to cease live-fire tests but not weapons development and improvement. (France seems to want to demonstrate thay they are still relevant by occasionally letting off a live shot.) Even Israel, who undoubtely has nuclear weapons, has never demonstratably shot one off.
Sorry manhattan, upon sleeping on it and looking at my original post, I’ve concluded that some “tunneling” into GD occured. I’ll stick with the question rather than the “question( not-so-hidden-editorial-comment)” format.
Squink, thanks for the links.
I’ve got one last question: Why didn’t the US fulfill its side of the agreement? The Clinton administration had the watch for most of this time so I assuming that the seeds for yesterday’s announcement were planted by one or both of the parties back then.