NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR TEST RAISES STAKES IN REGION
Washington DC – February 11, 2013– News Release – The nuclear test conducted by North Korea further destabilizes the geopolitical situation in Asia and threatens the global nonproliferation regime, said analysts at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. The administration needs to develop and pursue a proactive agenda that reduces the proliferation threat posed by North Korea and ultimately achieves the nuclear disarmament of North Korea.
“The presence of nuclear weapons in North Korea is a destabilizing force,” said Lt. General (ret. USA) Robert G. Gard, PhD, Chairman of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. “Further nuclear testing by North Korea continues to be an unwarranted provocation that threatens international peace and security.”
An artificial magnitude 5.1 earthquake was detected that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) said displayed “clear explosion-like characteristics.” It will take time to ascertain important elements of the test including the yield (or size) of the explosion and the nuclear material with which it was constructed.
“It is important to understand if the device was made of uranium or plutonium – a uranium test would be the ultimate game changer, said Duyeon Kim, senior non-proliferation and East Asia fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. “A highly enriched uranium program is much harder to detect and verify and the manufacturing of a uranium bomb is easier.”
Kim further commented, “another concern is what a successful test would mean for North Korea’s efforts to miniaturize either uranium or plutonium nuclear warhead, and to mount it on a missile that could eventually target the U.S..”
The North Korean propaganda machine previously stated the test was conducted in retaliation for new sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council following December’s missile test. However, Kim added, “one of Pyongyang’s objectives may be trying to force Washington into talks for a peace mechanism by escalating tension and raising the stakes.”
The Center is calling on the administration to develop a more focused and implementable policy that improves U.S. and allies’ security and works toward abolishing nuclear weapons in North Korea.
“The Administration needs to devise a proactive strategy for addressing the North Korean nuclear problem rather than reacting to each crisis or provocation by Pyongyang,” said Kim.
The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington-based non-profit think tank working to reduce the number of nuclear weapons stockpiled across the globe, increase international nonproliferation programs targeted at preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism, redirect U.S. military spending to address 21st century security threats and halt the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. www.armscontrolcenter.org