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The North Korean Hydrogen Bomb

The North Korean Hydrogen Bomb

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) announces it has tested a "miniaturised" hydrogen bomb which has been a "perfect success" and elevates the country's "nuclear might to the next level".

This once again sets off a depressingly predictable cycle of events. All to no avail. In fact the situation just gets worse with each turn of the cycle.

Washington condemns. Seoul condemns. The United Nations condemns. Wellington condemns. The whole world condemns.

There is immediate talk of increased sanctions. Great idea! Only problem is that sanctions against North Korea have been ramping up for 66 years now with no discernible effect. In the words of a 2007 House of Lords Select Committee report “Reliance on sanctions as the main means of resolving the current disputes with North Korea appears to be a recipe for failure.”

A US envoy will urgently visit Seoul, China and Japan for talks. The envoy will not make the one visit that should be made – to Pyongyang. That might look like giving North Korea what it is asking for, namely, talks to end the Korean War.

The NE Asian arms race will accelerate. South Korea, already the world’s largest importer of arms, will order more high tech armaments. Japan remilitarisation will accelerate The US will sharpen its pivot to Asia. In response China will increase its military budget.

The US military industrial complex will laugh all the way to the bank.

North Korea will work towards raising its nuclear weapons capability to the next level. It carries out another test.

And the whole cycle starts off again. Washington condemns. Seoul condemns, The United Nations condemns. Wellington condemns, etc. etc. All the way through to the bit where the military industrial complex laughs all the way to the bank - again.

All of this is mind-numbingly stupid when all that is required is genuine discussion and agreement to formally end the Korean War.

“There can neither be suspended nuclear development nor nuclear dismantlement on the part of the North unless the U.S. has rolled back its vicious hostile policy toward the former,” North Korea said in a brief announcement on Wednesday, according to the New York Times.

In other words the North Koreans are asking for talks. They want to talk about:

• A cessation of hostilities.
• Replacement of the Korean War Armistice Agreement with a Peace Treaty.
• Guarantee of Sovereignty.
• Lifting of all sanctions.
• Removal of all foreign troops from the Korean Peninsula.
• Declaration of the Korean Peninsula as a Nuclear Free Zone

But will this happen?


Instead, Pyongyang will test fire a submarine launched missile or explode another hydrogen bomb. Washington will condemn, Seoul will condemn............

When will we ever learn?

Peter Wilson
Tim Beal

Peter Wilson is a Kiwi Asian specialist who over a period of 41 years worked in 21 Asian/Pacific countries including conflict and post-conflict situations in North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Kashmir, Bougainville and Timor Leste.

Tim Beal is a retired academic who has written widely on Asian affairs, including two books on the geopolitics of the Korean peninsula. He is an occasional columnist for the Washington based website NK News

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