North Korea is continually building up its nuclear and missile program that is causing apprehensions worldwide. Its most latest nuclear test triggered the fear of nuclear terror among the US and other relevant states. The contemporary test counted as the fifth and the largest one that has been detonated is estimated at 10 kilotons. It is also worth mentioning here that it came on the 68th anniversary of the regime’s founding. It triggered a flurry of phone calls among the worried leaders of the US, South Korea and Japan.
Officially it is stated by the Pyongyang’s Nuclear Weapons Institute that "the detonation is a nuclear warhead explosion test for a device able to be mounted on strategic ballistic rockets." The statement also claimed that North Korea’s standardization of this warhead design "will allow production, at will, of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power.”
North Korea presented an unnerving and frightening demonstration over the past few months of its ability to deliver such warheads, using missiles that could strike Japan, South Korea and even US territory. It is actually the plan of the US to install anti-missile defence system in the South that further elevated and evoked concerns in the North.
The test has ignited global resentment with the UN Security Council agreeing to begin drawing up new sanctions against the North and several western capitals threatening the country of dire consequences. Nevertheless, nuclear missile program of DPRK has become reality as despite all the sanctions and the warnings they have been developing their nuclear program. Ironically, nothing has work so far, either the UN sanctions or unilateral steps taken by the US, Japan or South Korea. . Even the entire focus of the US has been on tightening sanctions against the impoverished country, which is already under five sets of UN sanctions.
The international community along with the other peace loving countries is exasperated on North Korea’s growing nuclear aspirations. Likewise Pakistan has condemned it too expressing it as against the objective of a nuclear weapons free Korean Peninsula. More precisely, all that Pakistan wants is peace in the Korean Peninsula. It is desired that all the countries in the region including North and South Korea, Japan, China and the US, manage the situation diplomatically with utmost responsibility.
There were plenty of opportunities in the past when North Korean leadership expressed its willingness to talk to the world on its nuclear program subject to lifting of sanctions and provision of necessary economic assistance. The collaborative approach would have been effective but regrettably the United States preferred to hurl threats on North Korea aggravating the situation further.
But now North Korea aspires to become the giant of the region by enhancing its nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles. On the other hand, analysts are of the view that to carry out nuclear attack, North Korea would need to miniaturize its warheads so that they can be fitted on a missile for delivery and there are reasonable doubts about claims of the Pyongyang regarding its ability to miniaturize nuclear weapons.
There is a prevailing view from the U.S. analysts believing that India has been covertly helping North Korea develop its nuclear and missile programs despite UN sanctions since 2006. According to international reports and the U.S. experts, India is reportedly involved in training dozens of North Koreans who later took key positions in its sensitive missile programs. Moreover, North Koreans have been receiving training related to missile and space programs in India for the past two decades. Since 2006, the UN has issued five major sanctions against North Korea .
Alarmingly, Pyongyang's nuclear advancements pose a serious challenge to the global non-proliferation regime and isolating North Korea has proved to be counter-productive. It is taken as a step further towards miniaturization of its nuclear warheads. However, the ideal solution would be to resolve the issues with a balanced approach having sanctions and diplomatic engagement simultaneously.
While South Korea and Japan might have legitimate concerns over nuclear movements in the neighborhood, there is also urgent need to resolve the problem through constructive engagement with the North aimed at addressing its concerns as well.