Possible for North Korea to Conduct Second Nuclear Test

The Minister of National Defense Lee Sang Hee said on the 7th regarding North Korea’s long-range rocket launch, “When looking back over the past, it is possible that North Korea will export the missile technology which it has recently developed. This seems to be one of several intentions behind the launch.”

Minister Lee was attending a meeting related to diplomacy, security, and unification issues at the National Assembly. He made the comment in agreement with Grand National Party (GNP) member Yoo Ki June’s assertion, “I suspect that the North’s long-range rocket launch is a sort of commercial advertisement to promote the sale of its weapons to the world.”

Yu Myung Hwan, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, stated regarding North Korea’s intent, “Its aims seem to be to tighten internal solidarity, export missiles, and influence the U.S. and international society’s public opinion in order to get an edge on the U.S. in possible negotiations.”

Minister Lee replied to the question, “Once the North has succeeded in developing small nuclear warheads as well as extending the distance of its long-range rocket, then will it not receive recognition as a country that can contribute to nuclear proliferation around the world?” with, “I do not have intelligence on whether or not North Korea has successfully miniaturized its nuclear weapons, but if it develops these weapons simultaneously with long-range rockets or transportation tools, then the peace and safety on the peninsula as well as in the world will be threatened.”

Regarding the possibility of a second nuclear test by the North, he expressed, “North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006, so there is always the possibility that it will conduct a second round of experiment without additional full preparation.”

Minister Yu also pointed out, “Bearing in mind the fact that North Korean citizens are languishing in hunger, launching a 300 million dollar rocket under the pretext of developing outer space is completely unacceptable. Whether the object of the launch was a rocket or a missile, I cannot help but to think that there was clearly another purpose.”

In particular, he urged, “To the extent that suspicions of North Korea’s weapons sales to Iran, Pakistan, and Syria have been confirmed, sanctions against suspicious North Korean vessels going to foreign countries is absolutely needed. Through this opportunity, we will not only be actively participating in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), but will also wholly review our policy towards North Korea.”

GNP member Kim Dong Sung also maintained, “Examine PSI cases; no inspections have been made in international waters, and under the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea it is impossible to conduct searches of vessels without the agreement of the flag state, so war is not feasible. The Inter-Korean Maritime Agreement prohibits the prevention of weapons exports by North Korea to foreign countries, so this must be prevented by joining the PSI.”

Yu remarked, “The cost for the rocket launch is estimated to be between 300 million and 600 million won, which is over 1/10th of North Korea’s budget (approximately $35.3 billion). Five hundred billion won can buy over two million tons of corn. Such an amount can more than meet their estimated 1.17 million ton food shortage in 2009.”

He added, “This is the same case as a mother going out to buy a fur coat or pearl necklace when her children are starving. However, there is a need to establish a program by which surrounding countries can provide financial support so that North Korea can abandon its nuclear weapons.”