North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Necessary Nukes?

The country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying that it will only manufacture “neccessary” nuclear weapons in exchange for recognition as a nuclear power.

North Korea pledged Wednesday to limit its production of atomic bombs beyond what it deems necessary, renewing its demand that the communist country be recognized as a nuclear arms state before it joins global denuclearization efforts.

The foreign ministry statement, released in the form of a memorandum, appeared to be another bid by the isolated state to raise its bargaining power before it rejoins stalled six-party talks aimed at persuading it to end its atomic ambitions.

MOFA’s announcement came a day after ROK television station YTN, citing sources in Beijing, reported that the DPRK is currently preparing for a third nuclear test in May or June of this year.  YTN’s report of a third nuclear test has been denied by the ROK’s Foreign Ministry and the State Department.

But South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan told journalists: “There are no signs of the North preparing for a third nuclear test.”

Analysts in Seoul also dismissed the report as implausible.

YTN TV had said the preparations involved significantly upgraded technology compared with its previous two tests. It said Pyongyang had been receiving technological assistance from Russians and that a senior North Korean official recently visited Beijing to discuss a possible test.

Kim So-hyun has an excellent piece about the MOFA announcement in Korea Herald.

An affiliate of 38 North