Slivko S.V. – Hard reply Kim Jong-un: Why North Korea have nuclear weapons.

Slivko

In December 2011, the political and military leaderships in the DPRK are changed. In connection with the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (17 December), his successor Kim Jong-Un took the post of Supreme Commander in Chief of the Korean Army on December 24, and in December 26 he was elected First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party. Kim Jong-Un, who became the youngest head of state in the world, caused the attention of the world community. The North Korean leader became a man of the year 2012 according to the readers of the newspaper “Time”, and Russian world leading publications put forward various versions of the further development of the social and political system of the DPRK until the organization of radical reforms and elimination of socialism like in USSR[23]. One of the main thing that Kim Jong Un took from his father was the missile and nuclear program, which played   one of the key roles in the relationship with the world community, which served as an excuse for imposing sanctions against the DPRK. Two nuclear tests and launches of space satellites meant clear successes of the DPRK in this sphere, but the final fate of these developments should be decided by the new leadership, depending on the model of development of the country to be elected.

Soon, Kim Jong Un noted the most important priorities for the development of the DPRK, including the continuation of course of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il for the complete independence of the DPRK, which is ensured, in particular, by the availability of modern strategic weapons. In the interview with senior officials of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party (April 6, 2012), it was said: «Our task is to defend and to protect (Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il) immortal contribution in the creation of military industrial complexes and pay attention to the development of the defense industry of the military power of the country, as required by the economic construction line in Songun era. It is necessary to reinforce the independence of the defense industry and place it on the solid foundation of cutting-edge science and technology <…> for a significant level of innovation in the Army» [5; p. 23-34].

In his first presentation as head of the country and the armed forces at a military parade in Pyongyang (15 April 2012), Kim Jong Un noted that possession of nuclear weapons lead to the development of the DPRK army “the Great Kim Ir Sen revealed the absolute truth that weapons are a vital factor in the existence of the nation and a guarantee of the success of the revolution. During the whole long period of his existence the army has increased into the most powerful army with all kinds of offensive and defensive weapons. Military-technical supremacy ceased to be a monopoly in imperialists hands and disappeared the time when we was a victim of blackmail or nuclear bomb” [6; p.47-48].

At the V session of the Supreme people’s Assembly of the DPRK of the twelfth convocation on April 13, 2012 changes were made to the Constitution of the DPRK, which perpetuated the memory of Kim Jong Il and declared that DPRK is a nuclear empire: “Despite the collapse of the world socialism and the dirty attacks of imperialism leading to break up in our Republic, in policy Songun Kim Jong-Il defended the invaluable legacy of Kim Il Sung i.e. the conquest of socialism, and turned our native land into an invincible political and ideological power, that is the country which manufacturing of nuclear weapons” [26; p.2].

While the official position of the DPRK did not deny the necessity of denuclearization, but without taking consideration of this process on the Korean Peninsula from around the world: “Before the denuclearization of the whole world, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula couldn’t be” [13; p.27]. In an interview in October 2013 in London the ambassador of the DPRK declared “We need a power against nuclear weapon.” The DPRK policy still have the aim to denuclearize   Korean Peninsula. Every time our policy tries to protect our country from a threat of nuclear war. To achieve this goal, we had no choice but to develop its own nuclear power.” As the main threat factor, the U.S. was still labeled: “The US policy is neither to deny nor to confirm whether they have nuclear weapons in South Korea. To achieve this purpose, we had no choice but to develop its own nuclear power” [22]. The main threat was US. The policy of US is don’t deny and don’t confirm have they nuclear weapons in South Korea or not. But they can move the weapons and strike at any moment, so the question about placing these weapons is not so relevant now.”

The DPRK started to develop nuclear weapons and a missile program that showed the tests which was done. On April 13 in 2012 the Unha-3 (milky way — 3) rocket launching with the Kwangmyon-3 satellite was failed. On December 12, 2012, the DPRK put into orbit the artificial Earth satellite Kwanmyonson-3 (2), becoming the eleventh space empire. In response, the UN Security Council accepted the resolution 2087 (January 22, 2013), which contained the requirements ” the DPRK never made any new launching using ballistic missile technology and keep the resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009) by suspending the manufacture ballistic missile program and took previous obligations concerning moratorium on missile launch[18]. In the   resolution was indicated sanctions against 6 Korean institutions and companies and 4 senior officials as well, whose international Bank accounts were frozen. This resolution for DPRK considered to be a violation of national sovereignty and a provocation by the United States. It was noted that “parties interested in resolution made an efforts to find a fair decision and to prevent aggravation of events, but it is clear, that DPRK sovereignty must be protected only on their own” [13; с.27].

On February12, 2013, the DPRK has announced about successfully testing of underground nuclear bomb of great destructive power: “Nuclear tests were done as a part of protecting measures our national security and sovereignty against the hostility of the United States, which limited our privilege for a satellite launch,” — said the Central Telegraph Agency of Korea. The official representative of the South Korean government has confirmed that, the day before, North Korea has informed US and China about the third nuclear test. According to experts, the power of a nuclear explosion in the DPRK could be in amount 6-7 kilotons[12].

The reaction of countries on nuclear testing was different: neutral, negative and judging. The president of France Francois Hollande, foreign Minister of Germany Guido Westerwelle, and president of USA Barack Obama declared that nuclear actions are provocative and undermines the world. Presidents also mentioned that United Nations Organization should apply response actions and accept a new package of sanctions. The Ministry of foreign Affairs of India asked the DPRK to “refrain from such actions that could affect negative on the world and stability in the region.” The Minister of foreign Affairs of Great Britain William Hague said: “I denounce these tests, it is contradicted of UN security Council resolutions 1718, 1874 and 2087.” The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed disagreement, but asked for a calm and discussion of the event and resume negotiations about nuclear program: – “Such behavior is incompatible with the generally accepted criteria of the world community and deserves condemnation and adequate response from the international community. We expect that Pyongyang will stop increasing military activity around the Korean peninsula” [16].

On December 2015, the news Agency “Yonhap” published a statement of Kim Jong-Un, who declared that the DPRK is able to use the nuclear bomb and hydrogen for protection their sovereignty[11]. The new nuclear tests in the DPRK were made on January 6, 2016, while in the official statement was said about the first in the history of North Korea’s test of a hydrogen bomb. “ The nuclear power will be increase until antagonistic policy of US will be stoped. The quality and quantity should be rise for the future of the revolutionary Juche course” – Korean Central News Agency sad [1]. All world countries accused North Korea in the new test. After the nuclear test, some military experts expressed doubts immediately, that North Korea has tested the hydrogen bomb. According to South Korean intelligence, the power of the explosion amounted to about 6 kilotons, which is several times less than the force of the explosion of a hydrogen bomb. The expert of the American research center Research and Development (RAND) Bruce Bennett said: “The explosion that occurred in North Korea was ten times weaker than should be” [1].  Also other opinions were expressed. The weak explosion power doesn’t exclude the possibility that the explosion could be without a thermonuclear reaction. “ The matter is may be in technology test and no more. A full-scale bomb, of course no. In any case the technologies will be developed” – said the expert on nuclear energy, the chief editor of “Atominfo” A. Uvarov [27]. After explosion at the United States and Japan request an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was convened, where it was suggested    to add new sanctions against the DPRK.

On February 7, 2016, at 9:00 local time, from the Baikonur Sohee (Cholsan County, province of North Phenyan) was launched the rocket with the satellite “kvanmenson-4” which was successfully launched into orbit at 9 h 09 m. 46 sec. According to the Exploration of the Space State Office of the DPRK, “on board there are measuring and communication equipment for Earth observation” [25].  The Western media reported that the satellite does not send radio signals because it is in a faulty condition[24]. However, this information was denied by the head of Missile and Space Defense Center colonel A. Kalyuta: “the Main center has found, that North Korea launched into the orbit the spacecraft. We have seen the launch of two space objects, one of them is the third stage of the launched vehicle and the spacecraft. According to the analysis of given information, the period of circulation, the inclination of the orbit, height, it can be concluded that this spacecraft is a remote sensing of the earth, i.e. it can perform reconnaissance functions[14]. Now all the systems of the satellite “Kwangmyongson-4”  are operating in full, that indicates the sensing of the Earth[2].

Despite the negative reaction of the world consearning the launch and instruction the UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-Moon on the violation of the DPRK UN security Council resolutions, the North Korean leadership has expressed their willingness to new launching. At the official reception on the occasion of the launch of Sputnik Kim Jong-Un sad: “We have to promote the research work to reach higher goals, using today’s great success to win an even greater victory, and increase the launching of working satellites”[8]. After the launch of the US satellite, Japan and the Republic of Korea introduced unidirectional sanctions against the DPRK, and U.S. officials announced the preparation of the resolution of the UNO about new tough sanctions.

On February 25 The USA have prepared and submitted in UN Security Council resolution to apply new international sanctions against the DPRK. As the US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said, the new draft resolution, developed in cooperation with China, provides for “the most stringent set of sanctions” imposed by the Security Council in more than 20 years. The meeting of the UN Security Council was opened in New York, on March 2 at 10:00 local time. The whole voting procedure and scoring of positions of the voting participants took 1 hour and 25 minutes. The resolution, which number was 2270 (2016), voted all permanent and temporary members of the Security Council consisting of 15 countries[17]. The resolution prohibits the import of North Korean natural resources (coal, iron, gold, titanium, rare earth minerals, etc.), exports of aviation and rocket fuel. All of goods from North Korea or in, are subjected to mandatory inspection. The financial resources of the state North Korean institutions in abroad will be frozen. Operating of financial institutions of the DPRK will be blocked in the territory of foreign countries and training the citizens of the DPRK in measure, which can be used to develop nuclear weapons and aerospace technology[19]. However, the paragraphs of the resolution make it impossible for any military-technical cooperation of the DPRK with other countries even on issues of development of conventional weapons.

The resolution makes the contrast measures of the DPRK to develop nuclear weapons and means of delivery in the interests of the Korean people. Similar opinion has representative of UNO S. Power, who stated about the existence of “two completely opposite realities,” one of which the North Korean leadership lives, and another for the population of the DPRK: “Almost all the resources of the Korean people’s Democratic Republic is directed to possession of mass destruction weapon. The North Korean government prefers to build up the program of developing nuclear weapons instead of raising their children. The actions of the DPRK leadership were regarded by the American representative as “manic.” Only one of all members who spoke after voting, brought a question about the reasons that prompted the DPRK to develop nuclear weapon. It was South Korean representative O. Jung, he sad “You say that the United States represents a threat to you. Why should the United States browbeat you? Why should the strongest military country in the world should threat a small country, which is situated on the other side of the Pacific Ocean? The threat doesn’t exist. It’s a figment of your imagination.” Numerous examples of US and NATO military intervention in the internal Affairs of sovereign States in different regions of the world, makes us doubt that the statement of South Korean representative is truth.

However, the statements of the representatives of the representatives of the UN security Council can be divided into 2 groups. The first group includes statements, which give a negative assessment of the socio-political system of the DPRK, where rise some facts about damage of mass destruction weapon to Korean people (statements of representatives of the United States, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, etc.). The second group consists of a judging statements concerning developing and testing nuclear weapons, and launching ballistic missiles as well. The main purpose of this statements is retry six-party talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the participation of the DPRK in the NPT, find a solution any international disputes by negotiations (the statements of the representatives of Russia, China, Venezuela, Uruguay, etc.). At the same time, the representative of China protested to U.S. missile defense system in South Korea, because it as a threat to the strategic interests of the PRC. The Russian representative was regret about the unilateral sanctions against the DPRK from the US, Japan, and the ROK before the meeting of the UN security Council.

The main purpose of US and its allies, like Japan and South Korea is removing socio-political mode of the DPRK in every possible ways. If North Korea reinforce nuclear manufacturing, China will lose an influence on it. The director of the Institute of International Relations of Jilin University Ba Dianjun       noted that China has to accept the sanctions against North Korea because Pyongyang’s actions can damage the interests of China. The analyst expressed deep doubts about the effectiveness of the sanctions, pointing to their confrontation: “These sanctions will not force Pyongyang to think about its actions, but, it will lead to subsequent tests or new developments in the field of miniaturization of nuclear devices.” In that time, China refused to support North Korea and a resistance of the United States can cause the growth of a military threat: “If these sanctions will lead to a weakness of defense of the DPRK and China stop its traditional relations in policy on the Korean Peninsula, than neutral position of the PRC will push the US to a military solution to the Korean problem. That’s what China should think about, ” said Ba Dianjun [21].

The Russian leadership is not interested in a new round of confrontation with the United States on the Korean issue, having “pain points” in Ukraine and Syria. At the same time, Russia does not intend to lose its mediating role in the negotiations between the DPRK and the United States.Both China and Russia are inclined to consider the emergence of a new nuclear power in the region as an encroachment on their spheres of influence. However, they can not guarantee the security of a nuclear-free North Korea, if they refuse to develop nuclear weapons, these countries can not.

Despite the fact that almost 50% of the total export of the DPRK now falls under the embargo, it will hardly force the North Korean leadership to abandon nuclear and missile programs. The fact that the four packages of UN sanctions, that introduced before, did not reach its goal, the US side also stated, justifying the unprecedentedness of new sanctions measures. The DPRK government condemned the UN Security Council resolution, calling it “an international crime aimed at isolating and strangling an independent and just sovereign state under an improper pretext” in its statement to the press[20]. The statement notes the leading role of the United States and its allies in the UN, as an alternative, the North Korean side proposes to build a different world order in which there is no dictatorship of world powers.

A few days after the meeting of the UN Security Council, on March 7, the largest ever US-South Korean cooperation, the one-and-a-half staff exercises Key Resolve and field training exercises Foal Eagle began on March 7. More than 300 thousand South Korean and 15 thousand American servicemen, units of the US Navy and the Republic of Korea take part in the maneuvers. Planned participation in the maneuvers of the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier «John C. Stennis» and the US nuclear submarine «North Carolina» [9]. For the first time, the organizers of the exercises openly admitted the time for joint exercises to prepare for a preemptive strike against the DPRK, the elimination of the DPRK leadership as a result of targeted strikes and special operations, the neutralization of nuclear weapons and other strategically important facilities. Before the exercise, the Statement of the Supreme High Command of the Korean People’s Army was made, which characterized their provocation against the DPRK, an attempt to violate sovereignty and “senseless military outrage”[4]. The North Korean side announced its intention to strike a preemptive blow to the Republic of Korea and the United States in the event of border violations and provocations during the exercises, not excluding the use of nuclear weapons. Given the consistently stiff position of the DPRK on the annual exercises of the United States and the ROK, as well as the goals of the organizers of the exercises hostile to the DPRK, their actions should be regarded as a provocation that aggravates the situation in the region.

The response to joint exercises can be considered the launch of two short-range missiles in the direction of the Sea of Japan, produced by the DPRK on March 10. Two rockets were fired from the northern part of Hwanghae Province and flew about 500 kilometers before falling into the waters north-east of Wonsan port. The leader of the DPRK, Kim Jong Un, outlined the plan for the development of nuclear weapons during the ballistic missile tests: “The DPRK must be ready to attack the enemy with nuclear weapons on land, in the air at sea and under water by diversifying the means of delivery of nuclear warheads” [7]. In addition, it was announced that Korean scientists and engineers were able to reduce the size of nuclear warheads that will be installed on ballistic missiles[10]. The miniaturization of nuclear warheads means that the DPRK has received not only strategic nuclear deterrence forces, but also tactical nuclear weapons.

An adequate assessment of the reaction of the world community to North Korean nuclear tests and satellite launches is possible only in comparison with similar practices in relation to other countries. Israel, which has not become a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, has its own nuclear arsenal with all possible delivery systems (ground, air and sea-based components). It has a full-fledged space program that allows to put into orbit Earth artificial satellites based on the Shavit rocket, which can be used as a launch vehicle for a nuclear warhead[28]. The systematic launches of Ofeq and AMOS do not cause any protests from the UN or world powers, despite the fact that the Middle East is one of the most “explosive” regions of the planet.

India and Pakistan, also refraining from signing the NPT, synchronously performed underground nuclear tests in 1998, and India had a hydrogen bomb with a capacity of 32 kilotons among the blown up charges of India. However, no sanctions were taken against the Israel, Pakistan, and India by the UN. The trade and economic sanctions that followed India and Pakistan after the 1998 tests are bilateral and overcome through contradictions in international law. The vigorous development of the nuclear industry in these countries causes many states, above all the United States, to strive to expand cooperation in this field. During 2005, France, the United Kingdom and Canada adopted joint declarations with India to lift restrictions on Delhi’s dual-use supplies[29]. Meanwhile, the number of nuclear charges available to these countries is many times higher than the DPRK’s arsenal. According to various expert estimates, Israel’s nuclear potential can range from 100 to 200 warheads, India – 120-160, Pakistan – 60-70 [30].

The pressure on the DPRK by the leading world countries and the United Nations in order to deny the Korea of the development, testing, improvement of nuclear weapons and the missile program is in contradiction with their own practice with respect to other countries. The DPRK withdrew from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons on January 10, 2003 in full compliance with Article X, which reads: “Each Party to this Treaty, in the exercise of state sovereignty, has the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that the exceptional circumstances have jeopardized the supreme interests of his country.” Thus, we are not talking about the rigid application of the abstract principles of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, but about the very concrete use of prohibitive measures based on the interests of countries represented in the UN Security Council.

Nuclear tests are a proven means of assessing progress in the development of manufacturing technologies and the potential of new weapons. The possibility that the DPRK will repeatedly resort to testing nuclear weapons is implicit in its real status as a state that has created and is developing appropriate technologies. “More nuclear tests, in order to assess the destructive power of new nuclear warheads,” – Korea’s military leadership of Korea Kim Jong-un aimed at, as the Central Telegraph Agency of Korea (CACC) reported on March 11, 2016 [7]. In total, in the history of the creation and development of nuclear weapons, the countries possessing it carried out more than 2,000 tests, the largest part is in the USA (1,054 tests, 1,151 devices) and the USSR (715 tests, 969 devices) [31, 32].

The way in which the DPRK is going is a repetition of the path of states that already possess nuclear weapons and do not need tests to improve its qualitative indicators. Meanwhile, the work of the countries of the “nuclear club” over the means of delivery and improvement of missile defense systems is still carried out with great scope. According to Mikhail Ulyanov, Director of the Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the modernization of the US strategic forces has an unprecedented scope: “There is a clear separation between US public declarations of commitment to the speedy construction of a nuclear-free world on the one hand and real politics in this area On the other” [15]. At the same time, no international norms limit the right of nuclear powers to modernize their nuclear arsenals.

The path of sanctions and international pressure on the DPRK to make it abandon the implementation of nuclear and missile programs are doomed to failure, as evidenced by the facts of recent history. Tighter sanctions do not lead to a curtailment of the missile and nuclear program, provoking only a stiff reaction from the DPRK. These actions damage the credibility of the United Nations, which acts in the eyes of the DPRK as a conductor of American policy. This impression is especially strengthened by the fact that the participation of American troops in Korea (1950-1953) was carried out under the flag of the United Nations.

On our opinion, the problem should be discussed in a broad historical context that will save the world community from responsibility of destabilization of the situation in the Asia-Pacific region in the DPRK. The most important practical measures are:

  1. Sign a peace treaty between the DPRK and the United States, the refusal of the US and its allies to consider the DPRK as a rogue country and devise any plans for interference in the internal affairs of North Korea;
  2. Liquidate of the US military presence in South Korea;
  3. Resume the negotiation and cooperation between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea;
  4. Take the DPRK in the “nuclear club”, to start the Non-Proliferation Treaty of Nuclear Weapons (1968);
  5. Cancel of the UN sanctions against the DPRK;
  6. Involve of the DPRK in the process of international space cooperation.

Important role in this process can play Russia and China, which can provide a real alternative in formulation of the question, differs from the United States concept and provide international support for its initiatives.

Source:

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Translated by Denis Grabezhnoi, APIR Center

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