Will nuclear armament enable North Korea-led reunification?

A celebration for the country’s claimed successful hydrogen bomb test was held at Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square on September 6. Following are some excerpts from North Korean Premier Pak Pong Ju’s speech at the event.
“North Korea now has unlimited sovereign power and potential that no one can ignore. The strategic superiority of the DPRK has become irreversible.”
“The US will have to face the realities of today and change its hostile policies toward North Korea. It would be wise of the US to take its hands off the Korean peninsula.”
In his speech, Prime Minister Park claimed that North Korea’s strategic position has been elevated with the development of nuclear weapons that can strike the continental US, and that the US must acknowledge reality and withdraw from the Korean peninsula. A spokesperson for the National Peace Committee of Korea further elaborated on these comments on September 8.
“North Korea has acquired the absolute power of justice, and now the regional strategic balance in Northeast Asia has completely changed. Today, even the safety of the mainland US, the headquarters of invasion, war, injustice and evil, cannot be guaranteed.”
“The US should acknowledge the current situation and the elevated status of North Korea’s strategic power and make the right choices for its own fate and also of its soldiers stationed in South Korea.”
The spokesperson also stated that the citizens of South Korea will not be able to avoid strict punishment if they persist in keeping the US army on the Korean peninsula, and urged them to take up an anti-American struggle for the withdrawal of the US army.
Objectives of nuclear development go beyond defensive aims
North Korea has long demanded the withdrawal of the US army from South Korea, but these demands now come at a time when the country’s nuclear development has reached dangerous levels. It appears that the North is aiming to use nuclear weapons to precipitate the withdrawal of the US army from the Korean peninsula and pursue a North Korea-led reunification.
Quoting a source in Ryanggang Province, Radio Free Asia reported on September 6 that an online lecture for North Korean senior officials was distributed on September 4, the day after the nuclear test, which claimed that, “nuclear weapons and missiles are the ultimate key to advance reunification,” and “national reunification must be achieved even with the use of violence.” Radio Free Asia also reported on comments made by a North Korean official from the Ministry of State Security, noting that Kim Jong Un said, “Until reunification is complete, there is absolutely no stability in the system.” This comment seems to imply that the ultimate reason for developing nuclear weapons is to pursue a North Korea-led reunification of the Korean peninsula.
Although it seems absurd that the regime would seek a North Korea-led reunification, it suggests that Kim Jong Un has more sinister ambitions with the development of nuclear weapons. Although such ambitions may never be realized, it shows that tensions on the Korean peninsula are unlikely to be resolved as long as the regime remains in power.
*Views expressed in Guest Columns do not necessarily reflect those of Daily NK.
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