Nuclear weapons can create havoc of mass destruction and environmental disaster at the same time it endangers the existence of the universe. ”Such hazardous consequences have accelerated governments to negotiate arms control agreements such as the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty of 1963 and the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1968” (excerpted from Britannica).
Five states are primarily recognized as nuclear state – United States of America (USA), Russia (former Soviet Union), China, Britain and France. In addition, Indian, Pakistan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) also named as North Korea and purportedly Israel have gained nuclear arsenals. Currently, DPRK’s nuclear missile test on the nose of USA has shaken Pacific Rim as well as world politics. North Korean regime is likely to follow ‘neorealism’ trend which literally based on security maximization and power maximization. This paper investigates causes of North Korea’s nuclear program through levels of analysis, DPRK’s stand towards nuclear proliferation,its impacts and strict solutions to overcome the crises.
Individual Characteristics of
Kim Jong Un
Ideology, perception and conduct of ruling figure are assumed as prerequisites for country’s national and foreign policies. Kim Jong Un is known as an aggressive figure while feeling himself insecure. He has displayed a different method of ruling than his father done. His succession as supreme leader on December 2011, has allowed Western influences, such as clothing styles and Disney characters, to be displayed in the public sphere, and he is informal in his frequent public appearances. In a stark change from his father’s era, Kim Jong Un’s wife was introduced to the North Korean public. Kim executed ”17 high ranking officials in 2012, 10 in 2013, 41 in 2014, and at least 15 in 2015” (Han Bum Cho: KINU 2015). North Korea’s ruling leader has promised to test ICBM that could hit the United States with a nuclear weapon. He intends to use such threats to compel the Trump Administration to accept Pyongyang’s nuclear status, conclude a peace treaty, and achieve North Korea’s goal of ”reunifying the peninsula under the North’s rule”. An investigation of Lorenzo Mariani is that ”North Korean engineers managed to miniaturize the bomb by using ‘hydrogen’ components (probably hydrogen fuel) to boost the explosion. The nuclear test is also believed to have had important implications for the Kim Jong-un regime’s strategy” (Assessing North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile Programmes: Implications for Seoul and Washington, Lorenzo Mariani : 2016).
Domestic Interests of DPRK
North Korean officials had acknowledged that they had a program to enrich nuclear weapons on October 2005. Kang Sok Ju, then Vice Foreign Minister of DPRK, stated that the ”DPRK would resolve this issue if the United States: (a) concluded a nonaggression treaty with the DPRK; (b) lifted the embargo on North Korea and stopped interfering with Japan–DPRK normalization; (c) normalized relations with the DPRK; and (d) compensated North Korea for the delay in the construction of a light-water reactor (LWR).” (Narushige Michishita, page 163)
Pertaining to the set of demands USA remained silent. On July 5, 2006 North Korea fires seven missiles in defiance of warnings, leading UN Security Council to vote against it on July 15. North Korea is supposed to accomplish her strategy through enhancing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in her arsenal, reunification of Korean peninsula, increase her security as well as dominance in East Asia region. The ”Byungjin” policy has been taken by Kim Jong Un based on the coincidental economic reforms and military capabilities and its strategic success to new strategic policy guidelines.
The strategic notion of North Korea is that ”only nuclear weapons can deter the USA”. Since President Obama took office, North Korea has demanded that it be recognized as a nuclear weapons state and that a peace treaty with the United States must be a prerequisite to denuclearization. Pyongyang reminded the new American president that its ”Byungjin” policy of simultaneous nuclear weapons development and economic development would continue, and also reiterated its preparedness to test-launch an ICBM, again justifying its plans as necessary for its self-defense. The new goal, as Pyongyang sees it, is to discuss the terms under which the USA will accept North Korea as a nuclear state and agree to end ”hostility”. Pyongyang’s view, to end “hostility” the United States have to terminate the alliance with South Korea, withdraw its forces from the peninsula, and end its nuclear deterrence commitment to South Korea. North Korea has made her mind clear that only under these stipulations relations between Pyongyang and Washington can be stable. Compelling the USA to do so, North Korea wishes to achieve its ultimate goal “the reunification of the Korean Peninsula on her terms”. After years of observing North Korea’s negotiating behavior, several analysts believe that ”such demands are simply tactical moves by Pyongyang and that North Korea has no intention of giving up its nuclear weapons in exchange for aid and recognition. In a strategic environment such as Northeast Asia’s, in which the United States’ nuclear umbrella covers Tokyo and Seoul, North Korea lives with a very high security dilemma while survival is her very first priority” (Van Jackson : 2016).
Present Stand of North Korea towards Nuclear Arsenal
After calculating North Korea’s nuclear test Amanda Macious has stated, “North Korea’s advancement is jeopardizing the security of Asia-Pacific region. A total of 21 missiles were launched on 14 different occasions in 2016″ (Amanda Macious : 2016) According to research of Evans J.R Revere, ”Bilateral, trilateral, quadrilateral and six-party dialogues have all come to naught. UN Security Council resolutions, incremental up-ticks in economic and diplomatic sanctions, and even redlines have not worked. Neither has the provision of economic, agricultural, and energy assistance including supplying the North with light-water nuclear reactors. Cultural exchanges and assurances of a better life for the North Korean people have left Pyongyang unimpressed. Pyongyang has slammed the door on denuclearization and made the pursuit of nuclear weapons a formal part both of its constitution and its national development plan”
(Evans J.R Revere: 2017). Park, ruling leader of South Korea, tried several times to resolve the tension between South Korea and DPRK. On the contrary DPRK’s position is like an immovable object. Above mentioned researches indicate that there are no chances to ameliorate present stand of DPRK pertaining to nuclear weapon issue.
Impacts of Nuclear Missile Test
Vehement attitude of North Korea concerning the nuclear program left diverse affects on her territory, in Pacific Rim and global affairs as well. Depict of immigrants who manage to flee from North Korea portrayed the miseries of citizens. Human rights are being violated in North Korean territory from years. Because of preponderant military and nuclear weapons test budget, government takes less care on public sectors where the principal source of national income is agriculture. Lifestyle of rural is miserable than Pyongyang – people enduring starvation, impure water, malnutrition, poverty and so on. Social and political rights are highly abusive. People can not choose their own styled government while mass gathering and stand against government push them into dark prison bar and brutal torture cell. Media is totally restricted to access counting a few state controlled media. Two aspects of human security ‘freedom from want’ and ‘freedom from fear’ is invisible in North Korea. Due to irrational steps by North Korean regime United Nations Security Council has invoked sanctions on North Korea. For that reason, public of North Korea are being suffered. Nuclear program of North Korea has already destabilized the Pacific Rim. Recent test on late August 2017, over Japan territory has made the situation more matronal. Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe said, “North Korea’s reckless action of launching a missile that passed over Japan is an unprecedented, serious and grave threat” (New York Times). The test that has been taken place in breach of UN sanctions and further increased tensions in Pacific Rim propelling USA, Japan & South Korea joint military drill.
Threat to International Peace and International security
Ongoing nuclear weapons test of DPRK has threatened the peace and security conditions of international community. Basically Pacific Rim is being tensed. Owing to sanctions upon North Korea liberal economic order is going to be hampered. These sanctions on North Korea has made her extreme nationalist, self reliance, security and power maximizer as well as furious in foreign policy. North Korea’s intimidation to heat Guam, notable American military base in Pacific region has stimulated the situation eventually. Tracing the incidents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it can be assumed that if a nuclear weapon heat any target then it will deteriorate entire system of the targeted territory. Lives, environment, infrastructures, land, water, farms all will be ruined. On account of North Korea’s aggressive policy US allies also may under target of its nuclear realm. Besides, if the nuclear tension causes to begin a conventional warfare, its consequences will further destructive for international peace and security left a number of people killed, scarcity to essentials of life, economic deterioration and fall of social and political structure.
Pessimistic View to Stop DPRK’s nuclearization
As it is mentioned previously that North Korea’s stand towards nuclear missile test is very strict. At any point of view, North Korea is unlikely to give up nuclear missile test. Only immediate and overwhelming measures to cut off the regime’s economic lifeblood, starve it of foreign exchange, prosecute its human rights abuses, threaten it militarily, isolate it diplomatically, and sow dissent internally can force Pyongyang to choose between nuclear weapons and survival (Evans J.R Revere: 2017).
Although former US President Obama called for a nuclear free world approaching ‘global zero’ movement, there is no visibility to get the movement succeed. Because no state wishes to take the risk of relinquishment unless others do. And recent attitude of North Korea has made the situation more provocative. Before denuclearization of international community ought to think up a nuclear free world.
The author is an undergraduate student of International Relations at the University of Rajshahi.