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DPRK Nuclear Test: a New Turning or a Dead End?

15.02.2013

toloraya.jpgMOSCOW, FEBRUARY 15, 2013. PIR PRESS – “North Korea’s actions appear senseless, the country established itself as a nuclear power long ago, and this conduct doesn’t do any good as a signal of the country’s defense capabilities. If North Korea planned this in order to compel the US to engage in dialogue and to “up the ante” in these conversations, as they did in 2009, then they gravely miscalculated.” – Georgy Toloraya, Director of Korean Programs at the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

On February 12, 2013, the DPRK conducted its third nuclear test. From the United States to Iran, The entire world condemned the underground test with unprecedented unanimity. The UN Security Council is currently dicussing whether to further tightening sanctions again Pyongyang. The DPRK’s actions threaten to spark a new arms race in the region and increase the military presence of the US.

The DPRK conducted its first nuclear test on October 9, 2006. In April 2012, the country’s constitution was amended to affirm its nuclear status. The DPRK’s third nuclear test sparked condemnation from the entire international community, though it was not unexpected.

PIR Center experts have been commenting on the latest test. “The DPRK’s nuclear program demonstrates how important it is that all other players have well-defined principles and are prepared to not willing to compromise on them, demanding political coherence and strength from them. As for Russia, the very calm response to North Korea’s nuclear tests from both the government and a majority of the population is astonishing,” writes PIR Center expert Pavel Luzin in a recent blog post (in Russian).

4h_50706810.jpgLifeboat Foundation expert and alumnus of the PIR Center’s Educational Program Vladimir Khrustalev takes a different position. In his blog post (in Russian) on the PIR Center website, Khrustalev writes, “Many Russian experts didn’t used to consider the DPRK a real candidate for membership in the nuclear club. Some said that they were just bluffing, others said that nuclear weapons are too complex and expensive. Reality shattered these illusions… Qaddafi gave up his WMD program – and died a violent death. Saddam Hussein did not possess nuclear weapons and was hanged. Kim Jong-Il escalated the confrontation with the US, tested two nuclear weapons, and died in his own bed, turning the country over to his son.”

Georgy Toloraya, Director of Korean Programs at the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, sums up the discussion by saying, “North Korea’s actions appear senseless, the country established itself as a nuclear power long ago, and this conduct doesn’t do any good as a signal of the country’s defense capabilities. If North Korea planned this in order to compel the US to engage in dialogue and to “up the ante” in these conversations, as they did in 2009, then they gravely miscalculated. North Korea is only provoking its enemy and worsening its already tense relationship with the United States.”

For further information concerning the comments of PIR Center experts for mass media, please contact PIR Center's Internet Project Director Andrey Baklitskiy by phone +7 (495) 987-19-15; fax: +7 (495) 987-19-14 or via e-mail: baklitsky at pircenter.org

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