Nuclear tests only further isolate Pyongyang

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-4-3 23:38:04

The North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement on March 30 that the country "will not exclude the possibility of a new nuclear test," which has caused concern and speculation from the outside world. Some South Korean media have predicted Pyongyang will conduct a fourth nuclear test within a month. International strategists worry that this test will happen sooner or later.

The North's warning of a new nuclear test is thought to be aimed at capturing the attention of the US and South Korea. This is Pyongyang's response to the joint military exercises between the two. Nuclear tests and missile launches have become Pyongyang's only diplomatic cards, which is unfortunate for Pyongyang and the entire Northeast Asia.

The outside world knows little about the development of North Korea's nuclear technology progress. It is believed its nuclear capability is not as mature as Pyongyang has claimed, and is not enough to truly deter Washington.

Unlike some countries which have been alleged to be developing nuclear weapons but strenuously denied such accusations, North Korea has taken a high-profile approach over its nuclear programs. The reason is that Pyongyang's deterrence is so weak that it has no other "leverage" than nuclear weapons.

The purpose of Pyongyang's nuclear interest is to ensure its strategic security. It has been successful in its initial steps, despite huge economic and political costs.

There has been no precedent for small countries like North Korea to make nuclear breakthroughs under the pressure of the international community. The North has underestimated the difficulty.

China will not treat North Korea the way the US, South Korea and Japan do, but China has been clear in opposing the North's nuclear program. The North's nuclear issue has caused some divergence between China and the US, If Pyongyang thinks this provides an opportunity for it to further develop its nuclear capabilities, it should give up such fantasies.

Some other kinds of power that North Korea acquires cannot help sustain its nuclear deterrence, which in turn cannot ensure its national security and other strategic interests. The country should rethink how to maximize its national interests.

If Pyongyang continues to follow this path, it will suffer long-term isolation by the international community and the country's poverty will never be eliminated. The risks these factors pose to the Pyongyang regime can hardly be offset even if North Korea truly becomes a nuclear state.

The security, stability and prosperity of North Korea suit China's long-term interests. Many Chinese people would like to see the country endowed with strategic opportunities from the development of East Asia. North Korea has been in confrontation with the international community for 20 years, and it should seek a new path.

Posted in: Observer

blog comments powered by Disqus