Go to contents

THE DONG-A ILBO Logo

Pyongyang’s sixth nuke test means end to denuclearization of Korean Peninsula

Pyongyang’s sixth nuke test means end to denuclearization of Korean Peninsula

Posted September. 04, 2017 08:33,   

Updated September. 04, 2017 09:06

한국어

North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test on Sunday noon. The artificial earthquake that occurred in the village of Pyungyeo-ri, Kilju County in North Hamkyong Province measured 5.7 in magnitude, six times the magnitude of its fifth nuclear test (magnitude of 5.0) conducted in September last year. After the latest nuclear test, the North claimed that a test of hydrogen bomb that can be mounted on an ICBM was a complete success, saying that it was a very meaningful step in attaining the final phase of the goal to complete national nuclear armament. Earlier, Kim Jong Un visited the nuclear weapons institute, where he inspected a hydrogen bomb for mounting on an ICBM, and said, “We have now secured the capability to produce powerful nuclear weapons seamlessly as much as we want.”

The North’s sixth nuclear test showed a significant difference in explosive yield when compared with its previous nuclear tests. The test generated an explosive yield at least three times more than the nuclear bomb dropped in Nagasaki, Japan in 1945. Bragging about the power of its hydrogen bomb, Pyongyang said, “We can even explode the bomb high up in the sky to impose an ultra-powerful electromagnetic pulseattack in an extensive area according to our strategic goal.” If an EMP bomb explodes in the skies over Seoul, it can damage the command and control system and air defense networks and computer equipment, while disabling national infrastructure. It is an immensely disastrous situation beyond imagination.

Now, the only remaining task for the North is to mass produce nuclear missiles loaded with nuclear warheads and put to combat mission. The North already test fired diverse types of missiles, and is posing threat even to the U.S. mainland. With the latest nuclear test on Sunday, Pyongyang has demonstrated that its threats were not bluffing but a reality. The message Pyongyang is sending to the international community has become loud and clear. The North seeks to reaffirm that it will never promise to give up its nuclear weapons even as a joke under any circumstance, and if it comes to the negotiating table by any chance, it will intend to discuss arms reduction in its capacity as a nuclear power.

The North will most likely observe the day of North Korea’s founding on September 9, and the day of the Workers’ Party’s founding on October 10 by holding large-scale events for celebrations of its great victory. However, Kim Jong Un himself fails to recognize that he is accelerating his own collapse and destruction through such reckless provocations. The international community will never leave the North’s dangerous brinkmanship tactic unchecked. The North will inevitably face comprehensive economic and military sanctions. Even China, Pyongyang’s lone ally, is moving to cut the lifelines of the North such as crude oil supply.

“Find the most powerful retaliatory measure in collaboration with the international community,” President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday. He also instructed his administration to find all different diplomatic measures to ensure complete isolation of the North. The South Korean government should no longer seek meaningless dialogue aimed at denuclearization of North Korea as well as setting a new North Korea strategy to deal with Pyongyang starting from scratch. The South Korean government should completely change its strategy for military deterrence as well. With nuclear weapons being produced right across its border with the North, the South can no longer afford to blindly count on the U.S.’ nuclear umbrella across the Pacific and extended deterrence.

 

The South Korean government has been maintaining the stance that it respects global nuclear non-proliferation regime. However, the joint statement of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which the two Koreas adopted in 1991, became a meaningless scrap of paper long ago. Amid a situation wherein South Korea can only counter the North’s nuclear weapons with nuclear weapons, the South has no reason to constantly stick with this declaration. To independently arm itself with nuclear weapons. Seoul should not hesitate to seek measures to deter nuclear weapons including redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons, introduction of nuclear submarines, and acquisition of the potential.