A massive political fallout from North Korea�s diminutive nuclear test

A.H. Jaffor Ullah

Published on February 13, 2007

It is a sad testament that with all the powers the leading five nations participating in the �Beijing Talks� could not rein in North Korea from blasting its nuke.  It was the leading news in the airwave on October 9, 2006.  The Kim Jong II regime in Pyongyang , North Korea , has finally done it.  Defying the pleas of her neighbors, North Korea had detonated a small nuclear bomb on October 8, 2006 while ushering Korean peninsula into the nuclear age.  This event was confirmed by seismic data collected by various nations allover the world. 


I heard a segment of a fiery speech in Korean language whose tenor was militaristic to say the least, which was re-broadcasted by National Public radio�s news program �Morning Edition.�  It was not the kind of news one wants to hear to start his or her day quite early in a placid autumn morning.


The rogue North Korean regime had been threatening for quite some time that they may go ahead and test their first nuke any day.  They even refused to attend the �Beijing Talks� that was designed to keep pressure on the Pyongyang regime so that they will not blast any Nuke to destabilize the Korean peninsula.  In early February 2005 we read news wherefrom we learned that North Korea had already acquired the nuke making technology and in possession of about half a dozen bomb.  It was a foregone conclusion at the time that the way Kim Jong II and his administration were reacting to western pressure, the rogue regime will blast its first nuke at anytime.  Well, the world did not have to wait that long!


North Korea�s four neighbors (South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia) and the U.S. had designed the six nations �Beijing Talks� to contain the belligerent nation from blasting any of its nukes in return for economic and energy aid but the talks failed after the third one that took place on June 26, 2004.  A nervous Pyongyang regime would tell the world that the Bush Administration is eyeing on North Korea for military invasion thus justifying the nuke development.


It is well worth mentioning here that North Korea is an impoverished nation and among the poorest in Korean peninsula.  The military regime headed by Kim Jong II whose father Kim Kong I ruled with an ironclad fist had let his countrymen to a near famine condition.  There were massive crop failure and the nation is perennially energy starved.  But that hardly matters.  Any foreign leaders when invited to attend a state dinner is treated with lavish food and pageantry that pail the West.  Such is the caprice of Kim Jong II who took power about 9 years ago in 1997 after the death of his father who ruled the war-torn nation for a long time.  It has been reported that the big cities of North Korea had erected big statues of Kim Jong I and II.  Many Korean experts think that the supreme leader of this small nation is a megalomaniac.  Under this dire backdrop, the news of the first ever detonation of nuke to join the prestigious nuclear club of the world hardly surprise any serious students of North Korea . 


By world�s standard, the nuke that North Korea had blasted is a rather small one.  The range of the size was put at 500 to 5000 tons of TNT.  The South Korean government�s intelligence think that it was a small bomb of about 550 tons of TNT and the seismic data corroborates this notion. 


Even though the North Korean nuke was a petite one by world�s standard, the fall out, however, was a big one.  The immediate reaction from the world body of nations was a harsh one.  The reaction to Pyongyang �s nuclear blast was so swift that a U.S. official says the U.N. Security Council had already scheduled a 9:30 a.m. EDT meeting today (Monday, October 9) on the test. And Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Bush agreed during a telephone call today that the U.N. Security Council must take �decisive action� against North Korea .


The United States , Japan , China and Britain led a chorus of condemnation and urged action by the United Nations Security Council in response to the nuclear bomb test.  It is well worth to mention here that the U.N. Security Council had warned North Korea just two days earlier not to go through with any such test, and the Pyongyang government�s refusal was likely to lead to calls for stronger sanctions against the isolated country. 


The mainland China , the North�s closest ally and the hapless nation�s main source of food, expressed its �resolute opposition� to the reported test and urged the North to return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks popularly known as the �Beijing Talks.� It said the North �defied the universal opposition of international society and flagrantly conducted the nuclear test.�


The reaction from other capitals was swift too.  Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Cabinet that Moscow �certainly condemns the test conducted by North Korea .�  And British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the test was a �completely irresponsible act,� and its Foreign Ministry warned of international repercussions.  This is just the beginning and more reactions would follow.


A U.S. political analyst had opined in the �Morning Edition� of NPR�s news program that this event of North Korea�s nuke blasting would give ammunition to President Bush whose party is about to face a stiff challenge in the national poll in about three weeks time.  The Republican Party�s candidates for the Congress are about to face irate voters many of whom think that the Iraq War is wrong one.  Mr. Bush will now surely bring the North Korea nuke blast issue to tell the voters that we still live in a dangerous world and it is wise to contain the rogue nations of the world.  Over the years the Republican Party took a firm stand on law and order of the world.  On this issue alone Mr. Bush was re-elected in November 2004.  Many pundits specializing on U.S. politics think that the Republican candidates are vulnerable in the mid-term election slated for early November 2006.


In summary, the North Korea had blasted its first nuke on October 8, 2006.  By size, the nuke was a small one but the fallout from the test was a massive and swift one.  Within 24 hours were heard a deluge of condemnations from world leaders.  The rogue nation of North Korea will face stiff economic and food sanction.  It is an irony that a nation that is facing an uphill battle to feed its people and experiencing an acute shortage of energy was so determined to blast a nuke only to receive censure and condemnation.  North Korea indeed is a rogue nation, which is an outpost of terror.

Dr. A.H. Jaffor Ullah, a researcher and columnist, writes from New Orleans, USA