Korean crisis: Double standards in nuclear
concern expressed by powerful Western nations about the
nuclear test conducted by enigmatic North Korea last
week could well be described as yet another example of
the double standards of the West, like in human rights,
in international relations.
year there was speculation that the North Korean Leader
Kim Jong II, had suffered a stroke because of his
failure to appear in public for many months and it was
hoped that if this eccentric leader was no more, much of
the problems in North East Asia would cease to be. But
that did not happen and Kim re-appeared in public to
view his military parades although with a slight limp.
then test fired a long range nuclear missile last month
which the West alleged as capable of carrying a nuclear
warhead while North Korea claimed it was carrying a
communication satellite. Last Monday North Korea
conducted a nuclear test, its second, the first being in
2006, which Russia said was comparable to the Hiroshima
and Nagasaki blasts, equivalent to about 10 to 20 kilo
development of nuclear weapons, capable of wiping out
entire cities like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, should be
condemned by all people and all nations. But the West
has developed a nuclear hypocrisy just as it has done
with regard to human rights. There is a special nuclear
non proliferation club sanctified by the Nuclear Non
Proliferation Treaty (NPT) where only five nations are
recognised as nuclear powers — United States, Russia,
Britain, France, and China. This NPT Treaty came into
being after India tested a nuclear weapon in May 1974
and it was feared that nuclear proliferation would
spread throughout the world.
West applied strict sanctions on India’s nuclear
programme as well as on Pakistan which soon followed
India’s foot steps. But with the end of the Cold War,
the emergence of India in South Asia as a nation with
the potential of taking on China militarily and matching
it economically, America soon relaxed its nuclear non
proliferation curbs on India and last year signed the
nuclear power deal with India which officially implies
assistance for civilian nuclear power generation but
analysts point out has many loopholes that would enable
India to go ahead with its nuclear weapons programme.
nuclear explosions in 1998, Pakistan followed with its
own nuclear tests and two South Asian nuclear powers
hypocrisy about nuclear non proliferation is that
America, Britain, France together with Russia and China
still possess the largest nuclear arsenals that could
blow up this planet apart and despite disarmament
agreements signed between the former
and America much of the nuclear armouries remain intact.
Besides, the West is turning a blind eye to other
pro-West non official nuclear powers. It is widely
believed that Israel is a nuclear power even though it
has not physically carried out nuclear tests but
achieved its objectives through computer simulations.
Now India has been let off the hook and America has
Pakistan’s nuclear bombs firmly under its control.
West however is ‘horrified’ at what they called ‘nuclear
pariahs.’ The Axis of Evil, as described by President
George W. Bush comprised Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
Iraq of Saddam Hussein was invaded on the grounds that
it had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) that included a
nuclear development programme. Now Iran is being
pressurised, intimidated and censured on its nuclear
development programme but Iran insists that it is only
developing nuclear energy for power generation and is
within the international rules of the International
Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA).
Iran’s continued programme of uranium enrichment that
could result in generation of plutonium used for
manufacture of atomic weapons has led to the United
Nations resolutions against such a programme and even UN
sanctions being imposed.
Cat and mouse
Jong Il, has been playing a cat and mouse game with the
US on the nuclear issue. Five nations namely China, US,
Russia, Japan and South Korea, had been negotiating with
North Korea to shut down its nuclear facilities and give
up its nuclear weapons stored away.
agreed to do so and even blew up its water cooling tower
and its main nuclear facility under the glare of
last year it abandoned the six nation talks. Western
analysts say that this walk out came at the point of
agreement to tight international verification rules. Now
it maintains it won’t go back to the six party talks.
Analysts say that Kim Jong Il, wants his country
accepted as a nuclear power just as much India was
accepted. This is another instance of American double
is also accused of promoting nuclear proliferation. It
is accused of helping Syria to build a nuclear reactor
which was destroyed by
in an air raid. It is alleged that it collaborated with
Iran in building nuclear capable missiles and it is also
suspected by the West that it has made available nuclear
material available to Libya while also having helped
Pakistan in its nuclear programme.
North East Asian Security
second nuclear test has raised questions on security
concerns in the region. Japan has been particularly
worried but reports last week said that the US had
assured Japan that its Nuclear Umbrella for the region
would cover Japan and analysts say that it would also
even though the US withdrew its last nuclear weapon
from South Korea in 1991.
1991 the Nuclear Umbrella has been intact. Some analysts
say South Korea, particularly its bustling capital Seoul
is vulnerable to artillery attacks from guns buried in
North Korean hills just 25 miles away from the border.
which has resisted joining the US led Security
Proliferation Initiative to stop and search ships
transporting materials used in nuclear bombs joined the
declared it as an act of war and announced that it was
ending its truce with South Korea which brought the
Korean War to a halt in 1953. The protection of South
Korea is well assured with 25,000 US troops and 655,000
South Korean troops under a bi- national command —
described as one of the world’s largest defence forces.
reasons are attributed to Kim Jong’s recent show of
belligerence. It could be pressure building up within
the army itself. The other explanation is that because
of his failing health he is preparing for a dynastic
succession by one of his three sons — Kim himself having
succeeded his father Kim Il Sung.
is much pressure building up in the West for stronger UN
sanctions. Others however say that even though China has
been severely critical of North Korea’s nuclear policy,
it will not support sanctions against this poorest
nation on Earth because it would lead to an exodus into
neighbouring China in the event of famine.
Whatever the reasons are for the recent belligerence,
the double standards of the West backed by the UN
indicates that if a nation is prepared to defy the West
and be belligerent enough for long, it could ultimately
have a nuclear bomb with the approval of the nuclear
club. India’s defiance of US non proliferation laws for
almost 25 years proved that. Now Kim Jong Il, wants the
same favours extended to him.