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'We must persuade int'l community on our nuclear armament for self-defense'By strengthening diplomacy with the US and allies

The belligerent North Korean regime, led by unpredictable young Chairman Kim Jong-Un, continues to threaten the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the South with a nuclear attack and it is almost a foregone conclusion that Kim might carry out the fourth nuclear bomb test at any time now.

The Six-Party Talks (among the ROK, North Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Japan), designed to deal with the North Korean nuclear armament, have produced literally nothing, and there is no immediate sign of resumption of the Talks in the near future.
Against this backdrop, the North Korean regime continues to heighten tensions on the Korean peninsula with various military provocations and intimidations against the ROK.

▲Underground nuclear test in North Korea. North Korea threatens with another test by the end of April.

At this juncture, a noted Korean journalist-columnist, Chairman Cho Gap-je of Chogapje.Com, published an important article on its Internet on April 20, 2014 recommending that the ROK should start a self-defense-purpose nuclear armament.

Coming at a time of fast-growing demand among the people in the ROK, Cho’s assertions entitled, “Neglect nuclear armament for self-defense, Korea will lose independence,” are viewed to be timely and representing the views of many people in the ROK, especially the conservative-oriented people, who make up the majority of the ruling camp. Here are excerpts:

As I review my article written in February last year when North Korea carried out a nuclear bomb test, I realize that we have wasted the past one year.

Using that past one year, North Korea has made fait accompli its deployment of nuclear warhead-loaded missiles for actual use in time of war, and now it threatens to carry out another nuclear bomb test.
Nuclear armament for self-defense against the enemy’s buildup of nuclear weapons is our requirement for survival. If the ROK should ignore this, it would make the country subjugated to North Korea or lose its independent sovereignty due to its excessive reliance on the United States.

President Park Geun-hye has said that attaining the unification of the Korean peninsula is a very good thing which is tantamount to ‘hitting a jackpot.’ This assertion in disregard of the nuclear weapons of North Korea, the human rights situation there and the rampancy of pro-North Korean elements in the ROK is replete with the danger of being taken advantage of by the regime of North Korea that is armed with nuclear weapons.

▲Rocket launching test in North Korea. North Korea is known to have a range reaching the US West Coast.

If only the ROK government has the will, we still have time to achieve our aims of a self-defense-purpose nuclear armament.

Now is the time for the ROK to have a self-defense nuclear armament for the survival of the country.

Following the new nuclear test, it has become imminent that North Korea will make smaller nuclear bombs, load them on missiles and deploy them for actual use against the ROK. In this situation, there is no alternative for the ROK other than to arm itself with nuclear weapons for the purpose of self-defense.

In recent years, influential persons such as ROK Representative Lee Dong-Bok to the high-level inter-Korean talks, former Chairman Yoon Yong-nam of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the ROK Armed Forces and former Editor-in-Chief Kim Dai-Choong of Chosen Ibo Korean-language daily, have made this public. Some patriotic organizations such as the National Action Campaign for Freedom and Democracy in Korea, have started publicly demanding the ROK’s nuclear armament. I would like to point out the following:

If the government leaders decide, the ROK can make nuclear bombs in a short period of time, and they can outstrip those of North Korea in both quality and quantity.

The ROK has a huge range of industrial technologies. In particular, the ROK is very strong in nuclear technology, and is capable of building with its own technology the facilities for reprocessing plutonium needed for making nuclear bombs and also for highly enriching the uranium. We can also make nuclear bombs in a short span of time. We have an enormous amount of expended nuclear fuel and uranium for high-enriching. Too, we have sufficient technology, raw materials and manpower for nuclear armament. The only question is if the state (government) has the will to make it happen.

The legal obstacles blocking us in the way are the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) which we have joined and the ROK-US Nuclear Energy Agreement we have concluded with the US which prohibit the ROK from having reprocessing facilities.

In order to overcome these legal restrictions, the ROK must withdraw from the NPT and revise the ROK-US Atomic Energy Agreement. The ROK is entitled to overcoming these two legal obstacles on the ground that there is a fatal danger to its national security due to the inability on the part of the international community (the United Nations and the Six-Party Talks) to prevent North Korea from making nuclear weapons. We should define our corresponding nuclear armament as the exercise of our sovereign right to safeguard the existence of ourselves.

In order to persuade and win the favorable response from our neighboring countries and the international community, we need to strengthen our diplomacy.

Development of nuclear weapons by the ROK is different in nature from that of North Korea, Israel, India and Pakistan.

In our case, North Korea started nuclear development first and the international community has done nothing to stop it--with the result that the ROK is now fully exposed to the danger of its enemy’s nuclear attack. In this situation, the ROK is fully justified to choose the development of nuclear weapons in order to live. There is no justified reason or law to stop the exercise of our sovereign right for the survival of the people and country.

We may develop nuclear weapons secretly, but we need to openly declare our will to do so. We must make the declaration legally and in a stately manner. In order to do this, we need a convincing logical and reason. We must emphasize that our development of nuclear weapons is only the exercise of our self-defense rights for the survival of the state and that it is also for making our enemy abandon its nuclear armament.

In other words, our nuclear armament has a peaceful purpose as it is designed to induce the enemy to give up its nuclear arms. We must declare that we will give up our nuclear armament if the enemy does the same.

Our corresponding development of self-defense-purpose nuclear weapons must be based upon the determination of the people who are the supreme rulers of the ROK. Such a decision cannot be made behind the scenes by a limited number of elites. It must in the form of an all-out rise-up of the entire people of the ROK and their demand that “let us secure nuclear armament for the survival of the people and state.” One way of doing this is to put the question to a national referendum. When an overwhelmingly large majority of the people in the ROK demand our nuclear armament there is no one who can stop it, and we must impress the entire world concerning our determination.

Our movement for the acquisition of a self-defense-purpose nuclear armament could also offer us a God-given opportunity to rid ourselves of the servile attitude and psychology as well as the flunkeyism that we have had for a long, long time. If we are firmly resolved and united in our determination that we will defend our survival on our own, we will be able to substantially cure such prolonged ills of ours.

Many Koreans are worried that the international community might impose economic sanctions against us if we should go nuclear. There are times when we should prepare ourselves to suffer economic losses in order to protect our national security. If we appeal to the international community with a reasonable logic and legal justification and succeed in persuading the world, we can avoid such sanctions.

▲The North Korean regime mobilize its soldiers to demonstrate their support of the third nuclear bomb test.

It is almost impossible for the free-economy countries to impose economic restrictions on each other.

In this regard, the ROK-US Free Trade Agreement is a safety plate. We must emphasize that the very existence of the ROK is at stake threatened by the lawless North Korean regime with nuclear intimidations, and make clear that the ROK will give up nuclear armament if the enemy also abandons its nuclear weapons. Then we should strengthen our diplomacy to cope with the pressure coming from the United States and China. This would also be a way where we could discard the long tradition of servile traits and toadyism to the big countries.

Hundreds of thousands of people must meet at the Seoul City Plaza and in front of the Gwanghwamun Gate in a national demonstration demanding our nuclear armament and this must take place in repetition.

Exercise of our sovereign rights for a self-defense-purpose nuclear armament must become the most important patriotic movement of the nation this year.

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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