North Korea and Nuclear Weapons Research Paper

Pages: 6 (1853 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: History - Asian

¶ … 2006, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted a successful underground nuclear test. The successful test occurred within the context of increasing tension between North Korea, its neighbors to the south and the democratic western world. At roughly the same time, North Korea accused South Korea of stockpiling arms along their shared border for the purpose of launching an attack. The DPRK government also accused South Korea of colluding with the U.S. On an attack that would have the mission of overthrowing the government. Three years later, North Korea conducted a second nuclear test. Both of the tests detonated nuclear power comparable to that unleashed by the atomic bombs dropped by the U.S. during World War II. They also announced to the world North Korea's arrival as a nation capable of launching a nuclear attack.

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Reports in 2009 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declared that North Korea had become a full-fledged nuclear power. This followed a series of examinations by the IAEA, beginning in 1992. At this time, the U.S. suspected that North Korea was working to manufacture weapons-grade plutonium from spent fuel. Subsequently, North Korean officials prohibited weapons inspectors from examining two of North Korea's reactors. IAEA officials reported that the failure by North Korea to comply with inspection requirements constituted the likelihood that they had initiated a nuclear program with the intent of developing weapons of mass destruction. In subsequent years, North Korean officials repeatedly failed to disclose the production of plutonium, though U.S. satellites found evidence of reactors manufactured for such a purpose.

TOPIC: Research Paper on North Korea and Nuclear Weapons Assignment

The notion that North Korea was developing a nuclear program had long been well-known in the western world by the turn of the century. North Korean officials initially denied the presence of such a program when told by U.S. authorities that they knew of its existence. However, they later recanted the denial and nullified the Agreed Framework of 1994 in the process. The Framework, to which both the U.S. And North Korea were signatories, established that North Korea would eliminate its pursuit of nuclear power and abide by International Atomic Energy Agency standards. In turn, the U.S. agreed to help replace North Korea's graphite-moderated reactors with light-water power plants. In addition, both sides agreed to work toward the maintenance of normal economic and diplomatic relations.

North Korea's pursuit of nuclear power stems from its division from South Korea and subsequent alliances, which had the effect of alienating it from the majority of the western world. Two countries formally divided in 1949 with the atomic attacks by the U.S. In Japan as an approximate backdrop. North Korea adhered to communist principles following its independence and so aligned itself with the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. On the other hand, South Korea pursued a government founded on democracy and so found an ally in the United States and much of Europe. The resulting tensions form the framework for all political and democratic decisions made by the two countries leading up to the arrival of North Korea as a nuclear powerhouse.

North Korea's production of nuclear power and its presence as a communist country lacking diplomatic ties to many established members of the United Nations delineates it as a potential threat to global peace. In the wake of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. On September 11, 2001, President George Bush named North Korea a member of the so-called "Axis of Evil," though he stopped short of prescribing any direct military action. The United Nations Security Council condemned the two nuclear tests and the pursuit of nuclear power by North Korea. In either case, North Korea's nuclear program has gained worldwide attention and has aided in establishing a basis for formal diplomatic talks.

This represented a form of attention bearing the potential for leading to diplomatic security, which North Korea has lacked since the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. In the wake of the fall of their ally, North Korea has stood alone without substantial allies in a global context. In the past, the North Korean government has worked to establish a diplomatic relationship with the U.S. However, the U.S. has only been willing to be a party to six-party talks that also include China, Russia, Japan and South Korea. American disinterest in direct dialogue derives from charges of prior violations of bilateral accords with North Korea. A standoff resulted when North Korea balked at six-party talks with the U.S.

The case can be made that North Korea's nuclear power is primarily a political resource that has the purpose of setting forth the pretext for re-establishing typical diplomatic relations with South Korea, the U.S. And Japan. Many have argued that, in the wake of economic embargoes by these powers following the nullification of the Framework Agreement, North Korea has recognized the need to re-unify the Korean peninsula. They further may feel that their best opportunity to do so lies in the hands of military and nuclear power. This notion is reinforced by a recent denunciation of the abandonment by Libya of their nuclear program. The message is that Libya would have more global diplomatic clout if their military efforts were backed by nuclear might.

Given these sentiments surrounding their nuclear testing, the most likely short-term scenario for North Korea's nuclear program is the pursuit of diplomatic dialogue with the U.S. with the purpose of procuring foreign and economic aid. This supposed nuclear posturing with the threat atomic energy as the ace card could also be directed toward South Korea, who has yet to acquire nuclear power, and whose military strength is in the form of conventional land and air forces. For their part, South Korean government officials have clearly stated that they would not be amenable to the re-establishment of the Sunshine Policy, which purports to seek peaceful coexistence between the two nations through reconciliation and mutually beneficial economic policies. Though that has been clearly set forth, the perception that South Korea, though massive economically superior, is militarily inferior to their neighbors could apply pressure to lay the groundwork for future collaboration. Therefore, a movement in the next five years toward unifying political and diplomatic goals seems possible, if not growing ever more likely.

On the other hand, the most dangerous threat regarding the future of the North Korean nuclear program is an actual alliance along the lines proposed by President Bush's "Axis of Evil." Such an alliance would unify the diplomatic aims of marginalized countries that have attained or which are currently developing nuclear programs. It would also align countries that have worked together in the past and have a history of seeking outside alliances to formulate power when dealing with the U.S. And other members of the United Nations Security Council.

U.S. intelligence officials have verified past talks between officials from North Korea and Pakistani scientists for the purpose of supplying nuclear secrets. Missile technology was given to the Pakistani government in exchange for essential nuclear secrets that have aided in the development of North Korea's nuclear program. The same scientists in Pakistan have also divulged nuclear secrets to Iranian officials working to develop nuclear power. It is now well-known that Pakistan and Iran both have nuclear weapons of mass destruction. It is also clear that both countries have a history of diplomatic tension when dealing with the U.S. This is especially relevant in the wake of widespread and well-documented counter-terrorism strikes by the U.S. In Pakistan. These attacks have been engaged by the U.S. without authorization from the Pakistani government, questioning the hegemony of Pakistan within its own borders, and the potential that it has harbored international criminals.

Heightened tensions between the U.S. And each of the three countries are nothing new. However, the prospect of a genuine "Axis of Evil" by three emerging countries, each demonstrating nuclear potential would be game-changer for the U.S. And most of the democratic world. It would likely herald an era in which the U.S. must seek diplomatic alliance with other economic powers, and a renewed alliance on the U.N framework. The need for an agreement similar to that established in the Agreed Framework of 1994 would be clear. However, in this case, North Korea might not feel the drive to agree to diplomatic recourse as it did in the past. Certainly, North Korea could not proceed through an economic embargo similar to that it suffered through following its nullification of the Framework, in which oil and other resources vital to the Emperor were blocked and the infrastructure of the country suffered. However, a nuclear alignment would generate massive diplomatic power for an otherwise emerging nation and could place North Korea and the U.S. On uncommonly equal footing.

Clearly, the top priority affecting U.S. national security is the counter-terrorist movement and the threat of their acquisition of weapons of mass destruction. An alignment between marginalized nations bearing nuclear power and counter-terrorist cells would have significant consequences for the U.S. It would singularly draw the entire attention of American military… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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