North Korea Threatens Nuclear, Missile Tests
By Kurt Achin
29 April 2009
North Korea is raising the specter of a second nuclear test, if the United Nations does not "apologize" for its recent condemnation of a rocket launch by the North.
North Korea's Foreign Ministry says it will be "forced to take additional defensive measures" unless the U.N. Security Council accommodates Pyongyang's demand for an apology. The North Korean statement warns those measures include tests of nuclear explosives and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Earlier this month the Security Council issued a statement, condemning North Korea's launch of a long-range missile. Most countries view the launch as a test of North Korea's offensive ballistic missile capability. A U.N. committee also targeted three North Korean business entities for sanctions, in an enforcement of a 2006 resolution imposed after Pyongyang tested a nuclear weapon.
North Korea says its rocket launch carried a communications satellite for peaceful space research. Wednesday's North Korean statement describes the U.N. actions as an "illegal provocation."
Kim Taewoo specializes in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in Seoul. He believes the threats set the stage for a second North Korean nuclear test.
He says North Korea probably feels its 2006 nuclear test and its long-range rocket launch, a few weeks ago, did not sufficiently show off its offensive capabilities to the world. He says that fact, combined with a scientific motivation to test North Korean nuclear explosives, mean Pyongyang will probably conduct another nuclear test.
Kim says linking its threats to the demand for action by the U.N. Security Council add an element of inevitability to another North Korean test.
He says the possibility the U.N. council will apologize to North Korea for its statement is practically nil. He says that sets up a justification for North Korea to follow through and conduct a test.
Seoul's Institute for Foreign Affairs and National Security director-general Jun Bong-geun says North Korea is issuing the threats to increase its leverage with Washington.
He says North Korea not only expects one-on-one talks with the United States, but also some form of concessions. He says Pyongyang will expect a response to its threats by someone at the highest level, such as the president or secretary of state.
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