The Guardian 11 October, 2006
Whence the threat to peace?
US strategy, which for decades was oriented around the Soviet and communist "enemy", is now centred around the "war on terrorism", weapons of mass destruction and "rogue states".
The underground testing of a nuclear weapon by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) must not be met by hypocritical condemnation but by the insistent and urgent call for the elimination by all countries of all nuclear weapons as called for by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). All the big powers who have large nuclear weapon stockpiles should lead this call, instead of making one-sided threats of sanctions and other punitive measures.
Even before a test had been made, Prime Minister Howard, as a devoted US ally, described the DPRK as an "international outlaw".
Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, US imperialism had to find new issues to justify its actions anywhere and everywhere if its objective of world domination were to be fulfilled. It has to find enemies to justify its aggression and wars. The DPRK is one such useful enemy, as it stands in the way of US designs to prevent the reunification of North and South Korea and the US’s long-range build-up against China.
Prime Minister Howard should explain why North Korea should take any notice of Australia and other governments that are protesting so vehemently when there have been no protests against the recent deal to transfer nuclear technology to India or against the build-up of nuclear weapons by Israel which has not joined the NPT.
Why should the DPRK Government take any notice of Australia following the deafening silence from Canberra after long-range missiles tests capable of carrying nuclear warheads by a number of the major powers? The nuclear weapons powers simply cannot credibly ask countries like the DPRK to give up nuclear weapons while retaining that capability themselves and failing to fulfill their disarmament obligations under the NPT.
The nuclear weapon states refuse to give up nuclear weapons and some US politicians are calling for the use of nuclear weapons against Iran. In addition, the US and the DPRK remain officially at war. The US refused to conclude a peace treaty with the DPRK following the war on the Korean Peninsular in the early 1950s. For decades US nuclear weapons have been pointed at the DPRK and the US conducts annual major military exercises simulating the invasion of the north.
The Bush administration’s doctrine of pre-emptive strikes, supported by Australia, is clearly an incentive for some countries to decide they need nuclear weapons for their defence. Their concerns would have been increased by the Pakistani President Musharraf’s revelation that ex-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage threatened Pakistan with being "bombed back to the Stone Age" when it developed a nuclear weapon.
The Korean Central News Agency quoted a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying: "The US extreme threat of a nuclear war and sanctions and pressure compel the DPRK to conduct a nuclear test, an essential process for bolstering [our] nuclear deterrent, as a corresponding measure for defence."
The statement also said that the ultimate goal was to eliminate all nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula, a call that has been repeated on many occasions.
In the past the DPRK has stated that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons. The US has never given a similar undertaking. The DPRK also indicated that it would not continue with any nuclear weapons program provided the US officially accepted the sovereign right of the DPRK to maintain its social system and that the US entered into a non-aggression treaty with the DPRK. These simple proposals could remove the threat of a new war on the Korean peninsula.
The proliferation of nuclear weapons and missile technologies should be opposed and existing weapons eliminated by all countries without exception — not just by those countries that the US (and the Australian Government) dislikes.
The DPRK has at most 13 nuclear weapons, although it may have none. Between them the US and Russia have about 21,000 nuclear weapons. They each have about 2000 nuclear warheads mounted on ICBMs that are kept on permanent hair-trigger alert, capable of making the planet uninhabitable in about 40 minutes. This madness must be eliminated by all countries before it is too late!