Wednesday, October 04, 2006

North Korean nuclear test?

North Korea announced the intention of a nuclear arms test today. This is serious news since it undermines security in the Asia Pacific region and increases the prospect of a nuclear arms race there.

Let us hope this is sabre-rattling and that they are bluffing. But if a test does occur it will unify a number of countries, such as China, Russia and South Korea in their resolve to halt the expansion of North Korea’s nuclear program. So far these countries have made only limited responses. It also firms up the case by US hawks for an attack on this rogue state. The US could readily launch attacks from Guam and Japan.

The prospect of a North Korean test is a frightening development in the context of the ongoing international war on terrorism. Kim Jong-Il keeps slave labour camps and has a population facing mass starvation as he spends up big on military technology. It will be interesting to see what the United Nations will do - they seem to be essentially powerless.

I am also waiting to how Iran will react to these dangerous developments. Some believe Tehran may buy plutonium directly from North Korea to short-cut the process of gaining access to nuclear weapons. The behaviour of the crazies in Pyongyang draws attention away from the key Iranian crazy although Mahmood is just as dangerous as Kim Jong-Il with these weapons.


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Anonymous said...

On to the subject of your post, I think it's pretty unlikely that there will be any military action no matter what the North Koreans do (short of an actual military attack on somebody).

Even aside from the fact that a nuclear test would demonstrate that they can lob a nuclear missile into central Tokyo any time they choose, North Korea has a huge arsenal of artillery sitting not far from the DMZ, and within range of downtown Seoul.

But if you Google the consensus seems to be that the North Koreans could cause six-figure casualties, including thousands of American soldiers, if it came to full-scale war.

Not a particularly attractive proposition.