Why did North Korea create nuclear weapons


Herbert Wulf

To person

born 1939; Prof. Dr., "Chief Technical Advisor" for disarmament and arms control in the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Pyongyang.
Email: [email protected]

After the expansion of the North Korean nuclear weapons program and a long critical phase with many failures, a compromise between Washington and Pyongyang is now on the horizon, which is cause for cautious optimism.


Since the six governments of China, the USA, North and South Korea, Japan and Russia signed a joint final document in mid-September 2005 at the end of the fourth round of multi-year six-party talks, one can be cautiously optimistic that North Korea will abandon its nuclear weapons program. But not all stumbling blocks have been eliminated.

It was not only since North Korea declared that it had nuclear weapons in early 2005 that the country has become a factor of uncertainty in Asia. Diplomatic efforts to prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons have a checkered history. In the early 1980s, the USA (in cooperation with the then Soviet Union) successfully tried to persuade North Korea to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to allow inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In December 1991, North and South Korea reached an agreement to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, but this agreement was never implemented afterwards. After North Korea threatened to terminate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in March 1993, the so-called Agreed Framework between the USA and North Korea was successfully concluded in 1994. [1] But the agreement failed. Since the US government confronted North Korea with information about a secret nuclear program in October 2002, the crisis has escalated. North Korea resigned its membership in the NPT on January 10, 2003 and declared on February 10, 2005 that it had nuclear weapons.

Today's crisis, which may soon be resolved, is the most serious to date, as North Korea is getting closer and closer to possession of the atomic bomb or possibly already has an operational nuclear potential. As early as 1993/94, the American government seriously considered a war over the North Korean nuclear program. The conclusion of the agreement to stop the program (Agreed Framework) in 1994 and a missile moratorium four years later paved the way for improved relations between the United States and North Korea and enabled the "sunshine policy" of South Korea, with which the relations between North and North Korea South Korea should be normalized. But since October 2002 the verbal exchange between Washington and Pyongyang has increased steadily. Pyongyang responded to pressure from the USA with threats and withdrawal from international treaties.