Eventually, the thing everybody was worried about actually happened.
The North Korean Foreign Minister stated on May 8 that since the Obama administration’s launch, “It has become clear that there is nothing different in the hostile policy towards North Korea. We will further strengthen our nuclear deterrent.” Therefore, many predicted North Korea would carry out another nuclear test in June or July this year.
In fact, the North Korean authorities conducted their second nuclear test at 9:54 A.M. in Poongkye-ri near Kilju in North Hamkyung Province. The Blue House immediately reported sensing an “artificial earthquake” measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale.
Chosun Central News Agency (KCNA) announced right after South Korea caught the earthquake that, “The Republic (North Korea) successfully conducted a second underground nuclear test on May 25, 2009 as part of measures to strengthen its nuclear power in self-defense.”
This nuclear test was made possible by the fact that the interests of the U.S, Japan, China and Russia are all different, and this has hindered efforts to find appropriate tools and sanctions with which to pressure and punish North Korea.
Many experts interpret the reason for North Korea’s second nuclear test is that North Korea is trying to arrange the circumstances so as to gain more concessions and benefits from the member states of the Six-Party Talks.
Others analyze that North Korea was using the test to force bilateral talks with the U.S. by making Washington impatient.
In any case, from the North Korean authorities’ position, establishing a “strong and prosperous state” is the most important job, and at the core of the establishment of such a state are nuclear weapons and long-range missiles with which to convey them.
North Korea has been pursuing the development of nuclear weapons for the last three decades, since the Kim Il Sung period. Therefore, the nuclear weapon itself is the most valuable thing the North Korean regime possesses.
However, some ask, “What kinds of problems can be solved by the North developing nuclear weapons?” In fact, from Kim Jong Il’s perspective, the most fearful thing is attack by South Korea, the U.S. or China, and he thinks the most powerful way to block that is nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, according to many defectors who used to be high officials in North Korea.
Furthermore, North Korea has been preparing to declare the successful building of the strong and prosperous state in 2012, when it meets the 100th anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birth. Before the event, North Korean wants to upgrade its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
So, while North Korea won’t completely evade unconditional negotiations with other countries, including the U.S., such negotiations are only to run down the clock or to show China, the guardian, that North Korea is doing its best.
North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, no matter what situations it faces. Kim Jong Il believes that there is nothing more valuable to be gained by giving up his nuclear weapons and missiles.
North Korea has had this policy and attitude for a very long time, so we shouldn’t be surprised at the current issues and act hurriedly. We should react to them in a calm manner.
After all, we have seen countless cases like the Mr. Geumgang shooting incident or the latest Mr. Yoo detention issue or the Kaesong Complex closure affair; there is nothing surprising coming from the North Korean authorities. We have already learned that expecting anything of North Korea is very, very stupid.
I think that the correct and right way, even though it is tough, is just to concentrate on North Korean regime change without harboring any useless expectations.