News Release

North Korea Nuclear Test

BRUCE CUMINGS
A specialist in Korea, Cumings is a professor at the University of Chicago. His latest book is North Korea: Another Country. Cumings said today: “There is no military solution to the North Korean problem. Sanctions also do not work — the North has been under American sanctions since 1950. The only solution is direct bilateral negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.”
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JOHN FEFFER
Editor of the just-released book The Future of U.S.-Korean Relations: The Imbalance of Power, Feffer said today: “The stated policy of the Bush administration has been to prevent North Korea from going nuclear. If that’s the actual policy, then the nuclear test marks a serious failure for the Bush administration’s North Korean policy. It’s also a setback for nonproliferation generally and for efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. If, on the other hand, a nuclear North Korea serves the administration as a rationale for policies it wants, like anti-missile systems and higher military spending, then the recent nuclear test will cheer some individuals around the White House, such as Vice President Dick Cheney. …

“North Korea knows that a preemptive nuclear attack on the U.S. or its allies in the region would be suicidal. Pyongyang wants the bomb for two different, but in some ways mutually exclusive, reasons: to deter any attacks by the United States and to trade for a package of economic incentives that can help rehabilitate its crumbling industrial and agricultural sectors.”

Feffer is co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus and director of Global Affairs at the International Relations Center.
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NORMAN SOLOMON
Executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, Solomon is the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death and has written extensively on nuclear issues since the 1970s.

In a piece titled “Welcome to the Nuclear Club,” he wrote today: “For more than 50 years, Washington has preached the global virtues of ‘peaceful’ nuclear power reactors — while denying their huge inherent dangers and their crucial role in proliferating nuclear weaponry. …

“Running parallel to the mendacious career of the ‘peaceful atom,’ U.S. foreign policy has hit new lows during the last several years. The invasion of Iraq, on the pretext of non-existent WMDs, sent a powerful message. If the U.S. government was inclined to launch an attack before a country had the capability to generate a mushroom cloud, then the country would be protected from such attack by developing nuclear weapons as soon as possible.”
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PAUL CARROLL
Carroll is a program officer at the Ploughshares Fund, which works on disarmament issues. In July, he was in North Korea, where he had rare, detailed conversations with North Korean officials, including Vice Foreign Minister for U.S. Relations Kim Gae Gwan and his deputy, Li Gun, North Korea’s former UN ambassador.

Carroll said today: “This is particularly tragic because it marks the first time that a country has left the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and conducted a nuclear test.”
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ALICE SLATER
Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Slater said today: “The U.S. has refused North Korea’s demands to enter into direct negotiations and normalize relations resolving issues which have never been addressed since the 1953 ceasefire in Korea. The world is a much more dangerous place, with other countries likely to revisit their latent nuclear weapons capability, such as Japan and South Korea. This is a time for new U.S. leadership for nuclear disarmament. A recent report from the Blix Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction noted the complicity of the nuclear weapons states in causing nuclear proliferation because of their lack of good faith in negotiating an end to their own arsenals, as promised in the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“There are no sane military options for dealing with nuclear proliferation. Only a firm commitment to the abolition of nuclear weapons with meaningful negotiations to that end can make the world secure. There is an offer on the table from Putin to cut the respective arsenals of the U.S. and Russia to 1,500 nuclear weapons or less. China has repeatedly committed to negotiating a treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons. What is the U.S. waiting for?”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167