Why North Korea feels they must have nuclear weapons

Satellite images of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility have again raised questions about whether the country has restarted its plutonium production reactor — regarded by western experts as a key component in the development of a nuclear weapon.

To try and get inside the heads of  the North Korean leadership, consider this excerpt of an opinion piece by Stephen Gowans as to why North Korea believes that the best chance they have for preserving their sovereignty is to build nuclear weapons to deter a US military conquest.

“One might lament Pyongyang’s nuclear testing for running counter to nuclear non-proliferation, invoking the fear that growth in the number of countries with nuclear weapons increases the risk of war. But this view crumbles under scrutiny.
• The elimination of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq didn’t reduce the chances of US military intervention in that country—it increased them.
• Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s voluntary elimination of his WMD didn’t prevent a NATO assault on Libya—it cleared the way for it.

“Among the questions North Korea may have:
• How credible could any security guarantee be, in light of the reality that since 1945 Washington has invested significant blood and treasure in eliminating all expressions of communism and anti-imperialism on the Korean peninsula.
• Why is it incumbent on North Korea alone to disarm?

“The disarming of countries that deny the US access to markets, natural resources, and investment opportunities, in order to use these for their own development, doesn’t reduce the risk of wars of conquest—it makes them all the more certain.”

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