Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Tsutomu Nishioka

【#180(Special)】Don’t Allow N. Korea to Be Nuclear-Armed

Tsutomu Nishioka / 2013.02.15 (Fri)

February 13, 2013

     On February 12, North Korea forced a nuclear explosion test. The action clearly violates United Nations Security Council resolutions and represents an intolerable provocation against the international community.
     North Korea had acceded to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and received nuclear technology from nuclear countries. Later, however, it unilaterally broke away from the NPT and has been going nuclear. This is not the case with India and Pakistan that have developed nuclear weapons without joining the NPT. North Korea is the only country that has developed nuclear weapons with technology obtained through the NPT. If such approach is allowed, the NPT regime will collapse.
     From 1994 to 2002, North Korea received 500,000 tons of heavy oil free of charge from the United States in exchange for its supposed freeze on nuclear weapon development, while an international consortium including Japan and South Korea was building in North Korea light-water nuclear reactors that would be difficult to be used for producing nuclear weapons. Intolerably again, North Korea continued nuclear weapon development while deceiving Japan, the United States and South Korea.

A uranium bomb test would be more serious
     "The test was conducted in a safe and perfect way on a high level with the use of a smaller and light A-bomb unlike the previous ones, yet with great explosive power," the official Korean Central News Agency announced. The South Korean Defense Ministry estimated the nuclear test blast as equivalent to 6 to 7 kilotons of TNT, greater than its estimates of 1 kiloton for the first North Korean nuclear test in 2006 and 2 to 6 kilotons for the second in 2009.
     North Korea could have used an enriched uranium bomb for the latest test, against plutonium bombs for the first and second tests. In several days, details of the test may become available through an analysis of materials released into air through the explosion test.
     Plutonium is made through reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from reactors. Plutonium in North Korea's possession is estimated at less than 100 kilograms. As North Korea has suspended plutonium production since 2008, its plutonium holdings may decline through plutonium bomb blast tests.
     If North Korea is identified as having used an enriched uranium bomb for the latest test, its threat may be graver. In the early 1990s, North Korea concluded a secret agreement with Pakistan to introduce uranium enrichment technology. Enriched uranium can be produced massively with electricity in an underground facility, without any nuclear reactor. Intelligence I recently got from inside North Korea indicates that North Korea has produced enriched uranium in a full-blown manner since 2006. If enriched uranium bombs are produced, North Korea may sell them to terrorist countries like Iran and Syria and to al Quaeda and other terrorist groups.

Stop dollar and oil flow
     North Korea, one of the poorest countries, cannot sustain both nuclear missile development and the dictatorship unless foreign currencies and oil flow into that country from the outside. Unless North Koreans become afraid of losing the dictatorship, Pyongyang may have no effective negotiations with foreign governments. This may be the case with the problem of North Korea's past abduction of Japanese citizen as well as any other problem.
     This is the reason the then U.S. Bush administration's past financial sanctions on North Korea were successful. China now provides North Korea with 500,000 tons in crude oil annually, while South Korea sends dollars through the Kaesong Industrial Region. Such oil and money flow into North Korea should be suspended. Japan, the United States and South Korea should be determined to prevent North Korea from being armed with nuclear weapons and should build a framework for exerting pressures on China.

Tsutomu Nishioka is Planning Committee Member, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, and Professor at Tokyo Christian University.