The North Korean Rocket's Red Glare

OpEd from Beyond Nuclear:

Background: On October 6, 2006 North Korea exploded its first nuclear weapon. This past week, it has conducted a flurry of underground nuclear tests and missile launches provoking international indignation. Satellite surveillance also suggests it may have restarted its Yongbyon reactor (and possibly its reprocessing plant) - despite the very public June 27, 2008 destruction of the reactor cooling tower - viewed by many as window dressing. Formerly a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, North Korea exercised its right to the three months' notice of withdrawal allowed under Article X of the Treaty, pulling out in early 2003.


Our View: The international scolding of North Korea for its recent underground nuclear tests and missile firings, while perhaps politically necessary, is hypocritical. We agree with British non-proliferation expert, Dr. David Lowry, who wrote in a letter to The Times: "The world from Pyongyang sees nuclear-armed states in Russia and China to the north and west, and two countries with high-tech nuclear industries and enough plutonium to make hundreds of nuclear bombs, in Japan to the east and South Korea to the south. And the ever present atomic-armed US Pacific fleet offshore". The actions of North Korea demonstrate the weakness of the NPT which affords signatories the "inalienable right" to civilian nuclear technology, and then, like a generous landlord, allows its tenants to depart with notice once nuclear weapons development becomes an overwhelming next step.

What You Can Do: Rather than engaging in further aggression, the U.S. administration should act now on its stated goal to achieve global nuclear disarmament. In the lead up to the 2010 review of the NPT, please urge President Obama to fulfill U.S. NPT obligations to abolish its own nuclear arsenal, in concert with all other nuclear weapons states. You can email the White House via its web form at or leave a comment with a White House receptionist at (202) 456-1111. And you can send a hand-written letter via FAX at (202) 456-2461 or snail mail to: President Barack Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW , Washington , DC 20500 .