Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Yonhap News ("P'YANG STRESSES POSSESSION OF NUCLEAR REACTOR IS ITS SOVREIGN RIGHT ", 2005-09-21) reported that DPRK's abandonment of its nuclear weapons program depends on the US' provision of light-water nuclear reactors, a pro-DPRK newspaper published in Tokyo said on Wednesday. Washington should provide Pyongyang with the nuclear reactors if it wants to see dismantlement of DPRK's atomic weapons, Chosun Sinbo said. "North Korea has already decided to abandon its nuclear program, and it will not backpedal on the commitment," it said. "Provision of a nuclear reactor to North Korea is not a gift from the US but Pyongyang's sovereign right to peaceful nuclear activities."
I think that we underestimate the symbolic significance of nuclear power to the DPRK at our peril. Given the rather glorious self-image that is part and parcel of the official DPRK ideology, it shouldn't be surprising that even if it is willing to give up nukes (obviously a rather large "if"), the DPRK might still cling to nuclear power as a sign of its great power status.

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