The death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il in December of 2011 has only increased the uncertainty over who controls the nuclear weapons in North Korea.
For years China has shared advanced missile and space technology with North Korea. North Korea now has a ballistic missile capable of reaching the US West Coast, Alaska, and Hawaii, using the same missile guidance technology that President Clinton apparently assisted the Chinese in procuring from our national defense. (See Nuclear Weapons in China)
The North Koreans also have at least two plutonium-based nuclear weapons and probably more.
It is hard to know their precise capabilities because they are extremely secretive and uncooperative with other countries, especially the United Nations.
The UN Security Council has debated sanctions against North Korea for this clear breach of international agreements, but North Korea has said this would amount to a declaration of war. In its usual invertebrate fashion, the UN has opted to do nothing.
North Korea is a major supplier of drugs and counterfeit US currency in today’s black market, and the money from these nefarious projects helps finance North Korea’s fledgling nuclear weapons program.
In fact, more than 50 North Koreans, including diplomats, have been arrested in more than 20 countries on drug-related charges.
According to Raphael Perl of the Congressional Research Service, “the North Korean state is a continuing criminal enterprise.”
Mr. Perl also said that North Korea’s drug business finances the costs of its nuclear program, and that the drug-smuggling methods are the same methods that will be employed to smuggle nuclear materials.
Now that they are well-practiced and adept at the smuggling routine, they will be very efficient at smuggling nuclear arms.
According to Matthew Bunn, Managing the Atom Project, Harvard University, “North Korea is a country that has a history of selling any weapon it had to anyone that would buy.”
They’ve sold missiles to Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and smaller arms to a whole host of other countries.
Jimmy Carter: The gift that keeps on giving
While its people are dying by the hundreds of thousands from starvation and lack of heat in their homes, the North Korean government is pouring money into the development of nuclear weapons.
In 1994, former President Jimmy Carter and the Clinton administration reached an agreement with North Korea to stop all nuclear weapons development. In return, the US would give the starving North Korean people over one billion dollars in food and oil, and would construct two billion-dollar nuclear power plants to provide electricity.
The North Korean government promptly diverted the US donated food to the military and starved two million of their citizens to death.
In direct violation of their agreement, the North Koreans never stopped the development of nuclear weapons. In fact, thanks to Jimmy Carter and the Clinton administration, North Korea now has nuclear reactors with which they can easily manufacture plutonium. Because of this, North Korea is a much bigger threat today than they were before 1994.
In 1995, famine brought North Korea to its knees. The government of the secretive and enigmatic North Korea had to ask for international help as the famine continued to take its toll, eventually killing over three million of its people.
Once again, the United States and its allies gave billions of dollars in humanitarian aid to North Korea. The situation today is still desperate with poverty and famine, and the US still gives them humanitarian aid to ease the suffering of the people.
While we feed them, the North Korean people are told by their government that their plight is the fault of the United States, inciting their hatred and ill-will toward us.
True to form, North Korea never keeps its promises. In March 2012, North Korea once again agreed to “suspend nuclear activities” in exchange for 240,000 metric tons of food, compliments of the United States of America.
In 1985, North Korea signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. At the same time, it was developing long-range missile technology and building another reactor to enrich plutonium.
In 1992 North and South Korea agreed to the Joint Declaration for a Non-Nuclear Korean Peninsula. Even as they signed the document, the North Koreans were simultaneously working to develop plutonium nuclear reactors. They eventually achieved this with the help of Mr. Carter and Mr. Clinton.
North Korea is reported to have a uranium enrichment program in Pyongyang for making weapons grade nuclear material. Because of this, the United States finally stopped the free fuel oil shipments to North Korea in November of 2002.
In December of 2002, UN nuclear inspectors were expelled from North Korea, and the monitoring equipment at the Pyongyang nuclear reactor was deactivated.
In January 2003 the nuclear reactor was up and running, apparently for processing weapons grade nuclear materials. Days later, North Korea warned that it reserved the right to unleash a rain of fire on US forces in the region.
In April 2003, North Korea proudly proclaimed its reprocessing of thousands of nuclear fuel rods, converting them into weapons grade plutonium. It is suspected that using this technology, they have added an additional six nuclear weapons to the two already in their arsenal. US satellites are monitoring underground nuclear test sites in the mountains of North Korea.
In 2006 and 2009 they claim to have tested nuclear weapons. Some experts believe that the North Koreans experimented with nuclear fusion devices in 2010, which could provide a much higher yield.
US experts believe that the nuclear devices detonated with a low yield because they did not function properly. Fortunately, it is extremely difficult to build a plutonium-based bomb that is viable.
North Korea has formally withdrawn from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, they will permit no inspections, and they refuse to engage in any negotiations. Despite the 1994 agreement and all our continuing assistance to them, North Korea now boasts of having nuclear weapons that will reach the west coast of the United States. They are using this nuclear program to incite fear and gain concessions from America.
The plan is working. It has already gained them two billion dollars in food and oil and two nuclear reactors worth a billion dollars each, all compliments of the United States tax payer.
Unifying the entire Korean peninsula under the communist whip is the goal of North Korea, and they will stop at nothing to achieve it.
As a nation they traditionally sponsor and use terrorism as part of the regular course of business.
Kim Jong II sent two North Korean terrorists to place a bomb on Korean Airlines Flight 858 in South Korea in 1987. All 115 people aboard were killed.
North Korea is now on the US State Department’s List of Terrorist States. The North Korean regime has made repeated threats, confrontations, and outright attacks, including incredibly bloody assassination attempts on South Korean government officials. In spite of this, South Korea continues to help North Korea. In 2004 alone, South Korea donated $256 million in humanitarian aid to North Korea.
DMZ Most volatile place on earth
The demilitarized zone, or DMZ, between North Korea and South Korea is the most heavily fortified border in the world, and has been called the most volatile place on earth. It is 151 miles of razor wire, landmines, tank-traps, and gun emplacements. In the neutral areas between North Korea and South Korea, it has become commonplace for North Korean soldiers to spit upon and viciously attack United States soldiers stationed there, trying to provoke a response which will lead to an all-out war.
And that is precisely what North Korea wants.
On April 7, 2004, the 33-page “Detailed Wartime Guidelines” was issued by the North Korean government.
The pamphlet contains anti-America propaganda and preaches about how the United States is strangling and destroying North Korea, and gives details on how to survive a war with the US. This mostly consists of evacuating to underground bunkers with weapons and food. It appears that they have forgotten the billions of dollars that the American taxpayer has given them over the years.
Countless North Korean incursions into the demilitarized zone between the two countries over the years have cost the lives of hundreds of United States and South Korean soldiers. In its usual spineless fashion the United Nations does nothing in response, and the brutal killing goes on.
The animosity and antagonistic attitude of North Korea toward America and its allies may prove to be our biggest international problem in the future. Not if, but when the North Korean Army crosses the DMZ in force again, the United States will automatically be drawn into the conflict.
We have 37,000 American troops stationed in South Korea, and we are committed to defend that country under the 1954 treaty. The Korean peninsula is likely to be the flashpoint from which World War III will erupt.