US Outrage Over Nuke Testing Hypocritical
Auckland, Tuesday 10 October 2006 - Greenpeace says outrage by the United States over North Korea's underground testing of a nuclear weapon is hypocritical given that country's nuclear arsenal.
"Nobody wants yet another country to have nuclear weapons, but with over 5,000 nuclear weapons in the arsenal of the United States of America, the relative balance of power has to be kept in mind," says Cindy Baxter, Greenpeace Campaign manager.
The United States maintains nuclear missile carrying submarines in the Pacific at all times, in addition to maintaining nuclear-armed bombers at bases around the world, including the Pacific island of Guam, and intercontinental missiles in silos in the United States. All are capable of reaching North Korea.
North Korea apparently does not have a reliable delivery system for nuclear weapons. The most recent test (July 2006) of a longer range missile was a failure, with the missile breaking apart early in its flight. During a previous test over the Pacific, the missile also broke up in flight.
"It would have been appropriate for the US and Chinese governments to announce that they would ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) that has been around since September 1996," says Ms Baxter.
Annex 2 to the Treaty contains the list of signatories that need to ratify for it to enter into force. Most of them have now ratified, with the exception of China, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, and the USA.
Greenpeace condemned the test, saying that Pyongyang has underscored the dangerous connection between nuclear research, nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
"By testing a nuclear weapon, North Korea has also highlighted the weakness of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has become the ninth country to have a nuclear arsenal," says Cindy Baxter.