May 25, 2009
Defiant North Korea conducts second nuclear test

The nuclear standoff between North Korea and the rest of the world rose to a frightening new level on Monday. North Korea claims it set off a massive underground nuclear test. The blast was confirmed by seismic monitors in the U.S.

From Tokyo to Moscow to Washington, world leaders instantly condemned Pyongyang’s latest nuclear provocation. The United Nations called an emergency meeting of the Security Council and at the White House, President Barack Obama called the North Korean nuclear blast — and the launch of short range missiles a few hours later — a “blatant violation of international law.”

Charles Armstrong, the director of the Center for Korean Research at Columbia University, joins Martin Savidge to discuss the military and political significance of the nuclear test as well as the timing of the test, just days after the former president of South Korea committed suicide.

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5 comments

#5

i agree with the writings up there, we should stop North Korea to do the wrong thing by do something .

#4

[...] Savidge to discuss the week’s top stories: The tense situation with North Korea after their missile and underground nuclear testing and President Obama’s meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud [...]

#3

[...] Savidge to discuss the week’s top stories: The tense situation with North Korea after their missile and underground nuclear testing and President Obama’s meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud [...]

#2

I respectfully disagree with mr. Armstrong. I don’t think North Korea is trying to improve their position on the negotiation table, because of the following reasons:

1: North Korean relations with China have improved a lot lately and mutual trade has expanded a great deal. Economically, North Korea is already doing a lot better lately than it has in the past.
2: I am convinced that they realize that a war against USA is certainly not going to happen with a pacifist president Obama in power.

I also disagree with Armstrong’s claim that Kim Jong-il is trying to show his muscle to any possible competitors. There simply is no need for that. Kim Jong-il has recently been ill for quite a long time. Yet there were not even hints of a coup d’état. That alone says enough about the solid leadership position of Kim Jong-il. Kim Jong-il has carefully selected his seconds-in-command over the last few decades and he has already shown to be merciless in removing competitors out of power.

The REAL motivation for North Korea’s recent moves is I think to keep their own people under control. I believe Kim Jong-il is quite scared of losing control of his people because:

1: telecommunications are less under control (illegal mobile phones, etc.). The North Korean citizens are getting an increasing amount of information from outside.
2: North Korea is moving toward an open economy (e.g. more trade with China and the Kaesong economic zone) which increases international contact.

What I think Kim Jong-il is trying to do is to convince his people that North Korea is still at war. Do not forget that in times of war, the common people will always go in line and follow their leader. Compare it with the increase of public support for Bush when the US invaded Iraq.

#1

[...] worldwide condemnation of its underground explosion of a nuclear bomb, on Tuesday North Korea pushed itself even further toward confrontation with major world [...]

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