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We Strongly Condemn the Kim Jong Un Regime’s Ambition to Develop Nuclear Weapons

February 13, 2013

Read in Korean

Yesterday afternoon NKnet released the following statement after North Korea conducted its third nuclear test.

-Fundamental change in the North Korean system is the answer to the nuclear issue
-The Park Geun Hye administration’s nuclear deterrence policy must aim to weaken the Kim Jong Un regime

After months of speculation, North Korea publicly announced yesterday that it had successfully conducted a third nuclear weapons test. The North Korean government stated that the test used a “miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously.” Coming after repeated warnings and expressions of concern from China and the international community, North Korea’s leaders have clearly shown their unwillingness to halt their development of nuclear weapons. This recent test is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1718, 1874 and 2087, and a grave provocation against the international community at large.

It is now imperative for the South Korean government and the international community to implement swift and strong measures against North Korea. The more nuclear tests North Korea conducts the less ability the international community has to rein in the country’s nuclear weapons capabilities. There needs to be a fundamental re-examination of the nuclear deterrence strategy used towards North Korea. Strong penalties that punish the regime for its actions are needed, not empty sanctions. Both the South Korean government and the international community will need to convince China to support implementing measures that can place real pressure on the regime’s behavior.
Both the South Korean government and the international community will also need to reflect on whether their focus on dialogue with North Korea over the years has not provided the country with the time to develop weapons of mass destruction. For the past 40 years, North Korean leaders have steadily worked to develop a nuclear arsenal because such weapons are the only way they can maintain regime security. From this light, there is a connection between the development of nuclear weapons and the country’s hereditary dictatorship. The resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue calls for fundamental change to take place in the North Korean system. A plan for deterring the country away from nuclear weapons will need to be implemented under the broader strategy of promoting reform and opening, which will, consequently, lead to the fall of the Kim Jong Un regime.

The incoming Park Geun Hye administration will need to adopt a new direction in its North Korea policy as a result of the third nuclear test. The new government must recognize that North Korea’s nuclear ambitions – a direct threat to Korean Peninsular and East Asian peace and stability – are irrevocably linked with the leadership of the country. The incoming government must avoid getting caught up in futile negotiations and must instead implement policies aimed at grassroots reform and opening in North Korea. Reform and opening must occur in order for the hereditary dictatorship to crumble and for real peace to reign on the Korean Peninsula.
In the face of a regime that oppresses the freedom of its people and uses all its money to develop nuclear weapons, we must find the courage to bring human rights and democracy to North Korea. We demand strong sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear test from the South Korean government and international community, and believe there is a need to stay vigilant against further provocations by the regime.
December 12, 2013
Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights

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