Since the regime in Pyongyang doesn’t see any reason to rein in its nuclear weapons program or to put the brakes on its ballistic missile technology efforts, North Korea possibly poses “the most pressing national security issue we face,” a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Thursday.
“Tearing up [the Iranian nuclear agreement] sends a signal” to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un that the United States might not live up to its part of any future arrangement with Pyongyang, Sen. Chris Coons, (D-Del.) said while speaking at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.
He said Kim and others in North Korea’s leadership are well aware of “the Libya model,” where Muammar Gaddafi, former leader of the nation, voluntarily ended his nuclear weapons program. A few years later was killed in a coup that toppled his regime and sent his country into years of civil war. “Why would he choose to give up nuclear weapons” and risk his regime’s existence, Coons asked rhetorically.
Ukraine’s post-nuclear experience, Coons said, provides Kim with another example of the dangers he could face if he turned over his nuclear stockpile for disposal. Kyiv turned over nuclear weapons the Soviet Union left behind after its collapse. “Now it is a smaller nation and under assault by Russia,” Coons said.
Apparently, nothing is holding Kim back from resuming nuclear testing now. In the same way, North Korea continued ballistic missile testing following the two summit meetings with the United States, Coons said. Adding to the tension is the most recent test, of a sea-based missile raising the threat of quick, surprise attack to South Korea and Japan to a higher level.
[US Naval Institute News]