Carrying out their third nuclear test on February 13, 2013 followed their successful test firing of a long range rocket in December 2012. Development of their nuclear weapon capability by Pyongyang for short and eventually long ranges was to be a deterrant prelude to a preemptive strike against the United States, China, and Russia. Tighter sanctions are the result in an effort to induce North Korea to the six party talks. North Korea wants a strategic nuclear deterrant against present and future adversaries. Integration of a nuclear North Korea into Asia and the world will have to take some getting used to (sanction and roll back policy policymakers want along with the nonproliferation group). Boots on the ground and bombing their country will not serve a political or strategic purpose. I would like to give thanks to Dr. Ernest Z. Bower Chair of the Center For Strategic Studies (Asia), and Dr. Muthiah of CSIS Asia,and The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for supplying the data with which the Law scholars at ALU could do their legal project analysis.
Two decades of pursuing nuclear weapons technology came at a very high cost, not for the prestige, legitimacy, bargaining leverage, or because of irrationality (as presumed by the West). Failing to address concerns (the US and it's allies in Asia, and China) for national security drives the North Korean nuclear weapon program. Nuclear Korea is a reality. Policy must be reexamined for the consequences of a nuclear North Korea for regional security and for the world. Blackmail, diplomatic leverage, etc. are deterrants of a offensive use of nuclear weapons. Employing a preemptive strike against the United States or it's allies would bring retaliation damage.The political reasoning would not be well served. They could do nothing but serve as a deterrant (for aggression and blackmail). Pyongyang will exercise a greater sense of security enhancing stability in Northeast Asia and throughout all of Asia. Because of North Korea's capability, it does not lead to nuclear proliferation in Asia. This would cause Japan and South Korea to follow in their footsteps. The United States extended their nuclear deterrant commitment to Japan and Korea. By them following North Korea's lead, the US will not support the decision. Historically there were extended deterrance commitments in Europe during the Cold War (Japan and South Korea can demand firm and effective commitments). Having a virtual nuclear weapon state, Japan will have to psychologically diffuse the populations anxiety since the Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima effects are still present in their minds. You would have to calculate the consequences and reactions of not only Japan, but China, The United States, and South Korea, for their national security, and international standing that was predicated on a nonnuclear stance (and the cost and and benefits of going nuclear). Covert nuclear weapons programs were started by South Korea and Taiwan in the 1970's with the belief that the US cannot guarantee their safety. Only under pressure from Washington giving them a firm security assurance did the countries stop their nuclear weapons programs. Key stimulators for the nuclear weapon capability for pursuit by Japan and South Korea would be the US extended deterrence commitment and the domestic political calculus.
The NPT regime would be undermined by the acceptance of the DPRK as a nuclear weapon state. Even though the NPT increased the cost and slowed the spread, it did not prevent the sale of nuclear weapons to determined countries. Interest in the demand side of the equation (insecurity) and not just the supply side (present NPT) has to addressed by committees interested in the prevention of the spread of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are symptomatic of insecurity not causing it. Increased security and stability in Asia is contrary to popular belief, but is truth. Dangers and securities should be addressed, instead of hiding behind the NPT regime and continue with a failed approach. Asia has seven of the nine nuclear weapon states (US, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea). Iran is determined to become the eighth nuclear weapon state in Asia and the tenth member of the world nuclear group. Using historical comparisons the Asian nuclear era is different from that of the Cold War. Content and application have become more complex in the realm of deterrance and extended deterrence. Nuclear weapons in Asia needs to be assessed for development concepts and strategies inherent to the regional nuclear situation and nonstate actors. Asian and Western policy scholars should move beyond the deterrence blanket and Cold War scenario and reframe the NPT and DPRK statutes. Accepting North Korea's nuclear power program without the posturing may be good for all parties involved. My PacNet commentary needs to address the capability of a country to formulate a nuclear weapon capability on a nationwide scale and not be detected by the U.N. Security Council.
Project analysis suggestions of the ALU scholars are, 1) DPRK should come back to the table (as a nuclear entity), attend the meeting and make their case known to the other members, 2) modify their nuclear disarmament timetable, 3) NPT respect DPRK right to be a nuclear entity, 4) extended commitment to DPRK, 5) DPRK can officially withdraw and follow protocol as per Article 9 and 10 as per the Nuclear proliferation Treaty, and 6) both sides have a cool down period to reexamine the issues to DPRK's economics, sanctions review (remove some), etc.
Contact Special Representative of the President for Non Proliferation, Ambassador Susan F. Burk. She leads the US efforts in support of the NPT. Questions and media inquiries should be directed to Erin Harbaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org