How The North Korean Economy Works

Based on the experience of other nuclear countries, North Korea appears a long way from developing both a missile and a warhead to launch a nuclear weapon to great distances. Fielding a nuclear weapon on its shorter-range No-Dong missiles would take less time, but it may require another nuclear test. In the early 1990s, the CIA reported that North Korea may have had enough plutonium for one or two bombs. Albright and O’Neill9 reported the uncertainty in that estimate, noting that it varied from 10 kilograms plutonium to perhaps less than 2 kilograms. They also reported that non-nuclear explosive experiments, which are prerequisites for a plutonium bomb, were conducted at Yongbyon in the 1980s, leaving little doubt that Pyongyang was pursuing the bomb. In parallel, North Korea asked the Soviets to build light water reactors to help meet North Korea’s energy demands. North Korea joined the NPT in 1985 because the Soviets made consideration of LWRs contingent upon joining the Treaty.

By this time, the 5 MWe experimental reactor produced electricity and heat for the local town, as well as approximately 6 kilograms (roughly one bomb’s worth) of weapons-grade plutonium per year. The fuel fabrication and reprocessing facilities were operational, and the two bigger gas-graphite reactors were under construction. This brief review of North Korea’s acquisition of nuclear capabilities will only touch on the important political milestones that helped to shape it; a more complete discussion will be presented in the next section. Kim Il-sung, the country’s founding father, laid the foundation for nuclear technology development in the early 1950s.

north korea essay paper

Despite being a state party to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and Geneva Protocol, evidence suggests North Korea may maintain an offensive biological weapons program. North Korea (formally, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or DPRK), has active and increasingly sophisticated nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, and is believed to possess chemical and biological weapons capabilities. After World War II, the Japanese forces in the northern region of Korea surrendered to the Soviet Union, and Soviet troops took control of the northern region of the country. The North Korean leadership continues to rattle its sabers, but now they are nuclear-tipped. The outcome of such a renewed conflict, though, would be less certain than the previous engagement, and it could well be that the North Koreans could succeed at conquering their southern neighbor, at least in the short term. “The Dear Leader” may be ailing, but he still appears to possess the wherewithal to prosecute a fighting war with South Korea and its staunch but overextended ally, the United States. Other hard facts about North Korea, though, are difficult to come by and even more problematic to confirm, but U.S. government analysts have developed some current insights about the country.

North Korean Nuclear Nationalism And The Threat Of Nuclear War In Korea

As a result, it inspires some of the best fiction and nonfiction, so the upside of the risk of nuclear war is an excuse to dip into literature that offers glimpses of this other world — and some insights into how to deal with it. The United States plays an indispensable role in proliferation prevention, but it can’t go it alone.

Figure 2: Major North Korean Import Partners

However, evidence is overwhelming that Pyongyang built a plutonium-producing reactor for Syria that was destroyed by an Israeli air raid in September 2007. It appears quite likely that it exported to Libya uranium hexafluoride, the precursor to HEU.

The Foreign Policy Essay: China’s North Korean Challenge

The Soviet “Atoms for Peace” initiative, modeled after President Eisenhower’s initiative of the same name, enabled several hundred North Korean students and researchers to be educated and trained in Soviet universities and nuclear research centers. The Soviets built a research reactor, the IRT-2000, and associated nuclear facilities at Yongbyon in the 1960s. North Korean specialists trained at these facilities and by the 1970s were prepared to launch a nuclear program without external assistance. We all know of South Korea and North Korea but the latter has always elicited public debate. Well, Korea is one of the countries that once split due to war and ideological differences hence the present day situation of a rather controversial country and a generally calm one. The two countries share a border territory and the relation between them has always remained terse and tense.

The first was only partially successful; its explosion yield was estimated as slightly below 1 kiloton . The second was more successful, with an estimated yield of 2 to 4 kilotons. I believe the test results indicate that North Korea can build a Nagasaki-like simple plutonium bomb with a yield of 20 or so kilotons, and most likely possesses a nuclear arsenal of four to eight such primitive weapons today.

  • Nuclear threat in Korea is superimposed on the division of Korea and the conflict between the DPRK on the one side of the Demilitarized Zone , and the US-ROK combined forces on the other.
  • Korea had endured Japan’s ruthless colonization for 36 years, where men were subject to compulsory military service and women were forced to serve as comfort women to Japanese soldiers.
  • Food had also been scarce, for it was taken away by the Japanese to fill their own food supplies.
  • It is the local conflict that created the risk of nuclear war in Korea historically; and it is the local conflict that generates the risk of nuclear war posed by North Korean nuclear weapons today.
  • Thus, the political and military significance of nuclear weapons in Korea derives from the underlying driving forces that sustain this standoff.

We found that Pyongyang was willing to slow its drive for nuclear weapons only when it believed the fundamental relationship with the United States was improving, but not when the regime was threatened. Pyongyang was willing to tolerate the six-party negotiations, but progress was made only when Washington agreed to bilateral dialogue. Washington holds the key to incentives, but by itself cannot how to cite an essay impose sufficient disincentives to eventually convince North Korea to give up its weapons. It must have support from Beijing and Seoul, both of which have very different strategic objectives. Many believe that the bomb is only a bargaining chip and that North Korea is willing to sell it for the right price. However, for reasons stated above, there is no price high enough for Pyongyang to sell.

How To Write An Essay About North Korea

North Korea International Documentation Project

What is known is that the North Koreans maintain one of the largest military forces in the world, an exceptional allocation of scarce resources for a country its size and in its economic straights. In this regard, U.S. analysts report that North Korea remains one of the world’s most centrally directed and least open economies, and is wracked by chronic economic problems . Beyond these fundamental constraints, there are other indications that the regime is in major trouble, including a discernible decline in industrial and energy production over the past decade . North Korea may be the most secretive and totalitarian country in the world, as well as the wackiest.

These reactors, though, never materialized because of the demise of the Soviet Union. Pyongyang kept inspectors out of its new facilities until 1992, by which time it had all of the pieces in place north korea essay paper for the plutonium fuel cycle. This move coincided with several diplomatic initiatives and President George H.W. Bush’s decision to withdraw all American nuclear weapons from South Korea.

Many observers now look at the last two decades as a dismal diplomatic failure because Pyongyang’s nuclear program was not eliminated. Let’s take a closer look at what Pyongyang actually achieved technically – or, perhaps more importantly, what it did not achieve. Although Pyongyang now has nuclear weapons, its weapons program is much smaller than it would have been if left unchecked. With the capabilities it already had or was soon to complete by the early 1990s, Pyongyang today could have an arsenal of a hundred or north korea essay paper more nuclear weapons. Instead, it has enough plutonium for four to eight weapons and currently is not producing more. It has the capacity to put the 5 MWe reactor back into operation and produce one bomb’s worth of plutonium annually for the foreseeable future, but it has not taken steps to do so, perhaps indicating that it believes its small nuclear arsenal provides a sufficient nuclear deterrent. North Korea also conducted two nuclear tests of plutonium devices, the first in October 2006 and the second in May 2009.

Is North Korea Prepared To End The Korean War?

However, Pyongyang’s export of missiles and nuclear technologies appears not to have been constrained. It has widely exported short-range missiles and manufacturing technologies.

Nuclear Warfare In North Korea

It is also not about to give up its nuclear weapons first as a condition of normalization. Pyongyang may agree to denuclearize in principle, but it will drag out implementation as it did during the six-party process. North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear arsenal anytime soon because it has become crucial to how the regime assures its security. Nuclear weapons also play a supportive role domestically and provide diplomatic leverage. They are deeply rooted in history and, hence, are unlikely to be resolved by alliances with its neighbors, each of which North Korea believes to have ulterior motives. Pyongyang turned to the United States, but it found Washington unreliable and inconsistent.

North Korea is in eastern Asia and occupies the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China to the north, Russia to the far northeast, the Sea of Japan / East Sea to the east, South Korea to the south, and the Korean Bay and Yellow Sea to the west. The country covers an area of 120,549 square kilometers , making it slightly smaller than the state of Mississippi. It has 1,673 kilometers of land borders and 2,495 kilometers of coastline. The capital city, P’yongyang, is situated in the western part of the country, while the other major cities of Hungnam, Ch’ongjin, and Namp’o are in the east, northeast, and west, respectively.

In spite of having received numerous security guarantees that promised to respect its sovereignty along with assurances not to invade the country, Pyongyang still feels threatened today. It will require much more than another security guarantee to make Pyongyang feel secure. Pyongyang may also simply have decided to take advantage of the transition to accomplish two objectives while the Obama administration was still formulating its Northeast Asia security policies and assembling its executive team. North Korea’s long-range missile program needed additional flight tests, and Pyongyang needed to demonstrate to itself and the world that its nuclear weapons could do better than the 2006 test. The missile and nuclear tests must have been on the shelf ready to go for some time, looking for a convenient window. However, international symbolism and prestige derived from nuclear technologies and weapons played an important role.

In retrospect, the cold war between North and South is arguably still in place given the suspicion that has remained between the two countries even to date. The North has in many occasions accused the South of leaking its intelligence to the west and as a result, many experts argue restoring the relationship between the two nations is unthinkable. Well, a student of political science or that that how to start an essay who pursues diplomacy would in this regard find plenty to write about. Suppose you are tasked to do an argumentative paper on Korea, the question is, where do you start from? In this article, we get you started by listing a number of topics for your consideration, so take a look. There is always the risk that one of these countries, or both, could develop its own nuclear weapons capability.

North Korea views itself as a small and weak nation in spite of its domestic propaganda to the contrary. Once Pyongyang acquired and demonstrated the bomb, it used the power and prestige derived from the bomb as a diplomatic lever to strengthen its negotiating position. Its decision to confront the Obama administration with a missile launch and a nuclear test was more likely an attempt to gain diplomatic leverage and possibly to support domestic changes, rather than an effort toward deterring an increased security threat. Security concerns have been the central how long essay driver of the North Korean ruling regime since the birth of the nation after World War II. Much of Pyongyang’s nuclear decision-making can be understood by examining how Pyongyang saw its security environment evolve over the years. The devastating Korean War, resolved only by an armistice, and the U.S. threat to use nuclear weapons likely moved Kim Il-sung to pursue nuclear weapons early on. He likely strengthened his resolve to pursue his own bomb when China, shortly after its own first nuclear test in 1964, turned down his request to share its atomic secrets.

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