North Korea’s Nuclear Guessing Game Continues
(Article No. 5 – The Vincent Times)
February 10, 2013
Isolationist and militarist North Korea has been continuously hugging the headlines and drawing the attention around the world due to its persistence in pursuing its nuclear weapons development program. And in the past days it has successfully kept the world guessing as well about whether or not it will stage another nuclear test, its third attempt. There were also previous nuclear and missile tests in 2006 and 2009.
In press releases, the United States claimed that North Korea is ready to conduct a nuclear test anytime.
In December last year, there were reports that the North Korean military succeeded in launching a long-range rocket. This caused worries among countries, especially the United States, because that accomplishment means that the North Korean military can now mount a nuclear warhead in a long-range rocket that could reach potential targets in any part of the world.
North Korea downplayed criticisms hurled against their rocket laugh maintaining that it was a scientific mission whose purpose is to put a satellite into an orbit.
The nuclear capability of North Korea may be in its infant stage, but as it is, according to Russian officials, their most successful testing have produced a nuclear blasts equivalent to 20 kilotons. That is approximately equivalent to the American bombs that completely destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Movements and activities Punggye-ri test site are closely monitored since the National Defense Commission, the country top military organization, announced on January 24 that a “high-level nuclear test” and further rocket launches will soon be carried out.
Surprisingly, a North Korean state media outlet has accused the United State of wrongly concluding that Pyongyang will be staging a nuclear test. This apparently is a move to further confuse everyone about their real intentions.
Speculations abound as to when such nuclear tests would take place. Two dates came namely Feb 16, the birthday of the deceased ruler Kim Jong II and February 25, during the installation into office of the newly-elected president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye.
What seems to be confirming that such nuclear test will take place are the heightened activities and movements of both military personnel and vehicles inside the test site. In addition, North Korea covered the entrance to a tunnel in order to avoid satellite detection.
Some experts are saying that while the United States of America and its allies are wary of the intentions of North Korea to conduct its third nuclear test, they may also want it to happen in order to enable them to gauge how far has North Korea gone in the development of nuclear weapons.
Intending to prevent North Korea from developing further their nuclear program, the United Nations approved military and economic sanctions against North Korea after their first nuclear test in 2006.
North Korea, as impoverished as it is already, succumbed to the pressure. It joined talks and in Febraury, 2007 and eventually agreed to shut down it main reactor at Yongbyon in exchange of aid and diplomatic concessions. However, because North Korea felt that the negotiating partners – the US, Souuth Korea, China and Russia – did not comply with the agreement it withdrew from the talks. It also walked out in several talks about their nuclear weapons program. Since then, North Korea continued developing their nuclear capability, notwithstanding the UN sanctions. It 2009 it succeed in exploding a more powerful nuclear device.
North Korea, as earlier mentioned is an impoverished country. Experts are one in saying that if only the North Korean government would use the resources in providing basic necessities of their citizens instead of developing weapons of mass destruction.
The “Nuclear Club”
Countries with nuclear capability are referred to as the “Nuclear Club.”
The United States of America and Russia lead the list of the few countries who succeeded in developing nuclear weapons. The US holds the distinction of being the first country to manufacture a nuclear weapon but Russia, as officially listed, has the most number of active nuclear warheads.
The three other countries in the list of the first five countries are United Kingdom, France and China. Curiously, the five countries aforementioned are the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Their nuclear weaponry was established from the 1945 to 1970.
India and Pakistan were also able to develop nuclear weapons during the 1970’s
The latest to become member of the “Nuclear Club” was North Korea. It is widely believed that Israel and South Africa have also developed nuclear weapons.