The north's nuclear program only exists for three reasons. First is for deterrence and the perception that it guarantees survival of the Kim Family Regime (because the US will not attack another nuclear power). Second is to support blackmail diplomacy which is a key tool in the diplomatic and strategic play book of the Kim Family Regime. Third is to gain hard currency through sales (along with its missiles and the full range of other proliferation and illicit activities). So we should not be surprised by the possibility of sales of their nuclear capabilities. In all our dealings with north Korea we must understand and accept that this is why the north has a nuclear program and these three are reasons why we can never expect the north to give up its program. Survival of the Kim Family Regime is the single vital national interest and the nuclear program is key to survival on multiple levels.
RENEWED NUKE SALE FEAR AFTER RECENT NKOREA TEST
By FOSTER KLUG
— Mar. 19 7:03 AM EDT
A North Korean soldier looks at the southern side through a pair of binoculars at the border village of the Panmunjom (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. The United States is flying nuclear-capable B-52 bombers on training missions over South Korea to highlight Washington's commitment to defend an ally amid rising tensions with North Korea, Pentagon officials said Monday.(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea's nuclear test last month wasn't just a show of defiance and national pride; it also serves as advertising. The target audience, analysts say, is anyone in the world looking to buy nuclear material.
Though Pyongyang has threatened to launch nuclear strikes on the U.S., the most immediate threat posed by its nuclear technology may be North Korea's willingness to sell it to nations that Washington sees as sponsors of terrorism. The fear of such sales was highlighted this week, when Japan confirmed that cargo seized last year and believed to be from North Korea contained material that could be used to make nuclear centrifuges, which are crucial to enriching uranium into bomb fuel.
The dangerous message North Korea is sending, according to Graham Allison, a nuclear expert at the Harvard Kennedy School: "Nukes are for sale."
North Korea launched a long-range rocket in December, which the U.N. called a cover for a banned test of ballistic missile technology. On Feb. 12, it conducted its third underground nuclear test, which got Pyongyang new U.N. sanctions.
Outside nuclear specialists believe North Korea has enough nuclear material for several crude bombs, but they have yet to see proof that Pyongyang can build a warhead small enough to mount on a missile. The North, however, may be able to help other countries develop nuclear expertise right now, as it is believed to have done in the past.
"There's a growing technical capability and confidence to sell weapons and technology abroad, without fear of reprisal, and that lack of fear comes from (their) growing nuclear capabilities," Joel Wit, a former U.S. State Department official, said at a recent nuclear conference in Seoul.
Pyongyang says it needs nuclear weapons because of what it calls a hostile U.S. policy aimed at invading the North. The U.S., South Korea and others say North Korean brinksmanship meant to win aid and other concessions is the real motive. Even China, North Korea's most important ally, opposes its neighbor's nuclear ambitions.
North Korean nuclear sales earn the impoverished country money that can be pumped back into weapons development, analyst Shin Beomchul at the South Korean-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in Seoul said Tuesday.
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