Experts consider range of possible motives behind nuclear test

first_imgAnalysis & Opinion Analysis & Opinion Tracking the “unidentified yellow substance” being dried out near the Yongbyon Nuclear Center Facebook Twitter Yesterday Kim Jong Un conducted NorthKorea’s 4th nuclear test despite anticipated increased sanctions from bothChina and the international community. Observers say that this test shows thatpossession of strong nuclear weapons is a means to fortify the continued existenceof the regime. As Kim Jong Un lacks any worthwhile achievements either at homeor abroad, some analysts also say that this test was part of an effort to boostthe appearance of his success ahead of the 7th annual Party Congress. In order to achieve the preeminent goalemphasized in the 2016 New Year’s address– improving the economy– it seemsthat the regime judged it to be more urgent to complete the nuclear strategyespoused by Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and have its status as a nuclear staterecognized rather than induce the support of the international communitythrough conciliatory gestures. Analysts also say that the losses incurredthrough the test of a purported hydrogen bomb by showing the limits of Kim JongUn’s international leadership outweigh the economic benefits. It is a misstepby the regime to continue its dependence on military power and shout itsexistence to the world by conducting this nuclear test. This type of ‘threat’approach only deepens its isolation from the international community, incontrast to a  ‘soft’ approach to improving the lives of the peoplethrough economic stimulation. Moreover, experts assert that the decisiveaction of carrying out a nuclear test just five days after the New Year’saddress, during which mention of nuclear strength was conspicuously absent, isa tactical move on Kim Jong Un’s part: a key component of his “stick andcarrot” approach. This nuclear test is a reaffirmation of the strategy based onthe idea that ‘only the possession of nuclear weapons will ensure the sustainedexistence of our state’. Kim Jin Moo, head of the Korean Institutefor Defense Analyses, explained to Daily NK that “If we look at Kim Jong Un’sdeteriorating relationship with China and the international system, it appearsthat this nuclear test is an acknowledgement of how desperately the regimeneeds nuclear weapons. Whenever these nuclear tests are conducted, they aredone so according to the will of the regime without consideration for thecurrent situation.” Mr. Kim also added that it is difficult toexplain North Korea’s nuclear problem in light of the current internationalpolitical situation. “It could be that Kim Jong Un has looked at cases like Libyaand Iran and concluded that possessing nuclear weapons is the key to staying in absolute power,” he remarked. Song Dae Seong, formerly the head of theSejong Research Center, also commented on the situation. “It seems as thoughKim Jong Un believes that as long as he has nuclear weapons, his regime willnever collapse. Like a gangster obsessed with deadly weapons, regardless of thestate of dialogue, possession of nuclear weapons ensures that he has abargaining chip to use in negotiating with the outside. This latest challengeshows his unwillingness to give up the parallel tracks of nukes and theeconomy,” he explained. Mr. Song also stated that with this suddennuclear test, North Korea’s New Year’s Address was nothing more than coerciverhetoric– political propaganda put forth by the North Korean leader. Others assert that Kim Jong Un’s attempts to strengthen his nuclear weapons arsenal will depend onthe reaction of the international community and whether or not it candemonstrate real intentions and strategy instead of the tired reactions of statements of condemnation followed up with largely ineffectivesanctions. One North Korea watcher who would not benamed stated that the regime sees nuclear testing as an absolutelybeneficial tactic that bolsters the state. “They don’t see sanctions or timingas important. The significance of procuring a substantially greater amount ofnuclear weapons itself is not the issue. Whether or not Kim Jong Un conductsanother nuclear test or missile launch will depend on the reaction of theinternational community to testing of the alleged hydrogen bomb,” she asserted. Is Nuclear Peace with North Korea Possible? SHARE Analysis & Opinion center_img Analysis & Opinion Experts consider range of possible motives behind nuclear test By Daily NK – 2016.01.07 11:05am RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] Pence Cartoon: “KOR-US Karaoke”last_img

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