August 11, 2003
By Peter Brookes
After hurling some
choice diplomatic words such as "human scum" and "bloodsucker" at
State Department Under Secretary John Bolton last week, North Korea
finally agreed to discuss its nuclear weapons program next month in
Beijing at the Six-Party Talks (U.S., Japan, South Korea, Russia,
China and North Korea.)
But on the heels of
this promising development came bad news: The Los Angeles Times
reported last Monday that Iran now has highly enriched uranium,
secret nuclear labs and scientists from Russia, China, Pakistan and
(tah dah!) North Korea running around the country working on
nuclear and missile projects.
Then came unconfirmed
reports that North Korea plans to export its long-range Taepo
Dong-2 missile to Iran, letting Tehran strike as far away as
London. (It can already reach Israel.)
It is completely
plausible that the North Koreans, Pakistanis and Iranians are
working together on ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, with
some help from Chinese and Russians scientists. Heck, it's
This cabal of the
world's most notorious weapons proliferators has long roots. For
instance, the Russians fathered North Korea's nuclear program
during the Cold War. In the '90s, Moscow built nuclear reactors for
Tehran (and is still probably providing technical assistance). The
Chinese begat the Pakistani nuclear weapons program that came into
full bloom in 1998. And Pakistan has likely assisted North Korea's
and Iran's atomic quests. China may have also given Iran fissile
material in 1991.
Pyongyang, for its
part, has helped Islamabad and Tehran with their missile programs.
North Korea has sold both nations its No-Dong medium-range
missiles, which are the basis for Pakistan's nuclear-capable Ghauri
and Iran's Shahab ballistic missiles.
Tehran and Pyongyang
have also collaborated on nuclear matters. The number of North
Korean technicians in Iran is sufficient to warrant an exclusive
Caspian Sea resort for their use. Equally alarming, Pakistan has
been implicated in nuclear dealings with the terrorist-supporting
nations of Libya and Syria.
willingness of these diverse regimes to share nuclear secrets is
alarming. And considering the company they keep, the possibility
that these weapons might eventually fall into the hands of other
rogue regimes -- or terrorists -- is legitimate cause for
Can anything be done
short of sending the Marines over the beaches? Fortunately, yes.
These measures are
certainly not a panacea for these nuclear nightmares. The
international community must pull together to defeat nuclear
proliferation, or there is no telling where it will end. But taking
tough steps now could preclude the possibility of a nuclear Iran,
North Korea, Libya, Syria -- or worst of all: a nuclear
Originally appeared in the New York Post
North Korea finally agreed to discuss its nuclear weapons program next month in Beijing at the Six-Party Talks.
Senior Fellow, National Security Affairs
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