IPPNW statement on DPRK nuclear test
The IPPNW Executive Committee has issued the following statement in response to the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) and announced on February 12, 2013.
February 12, 2013
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) confirmed today that it conducted a nuclear test with an estimated yield of six to seven kilotons. This was the DPRK’s third nuclear test since 2006, when the country declared itself a nuclear-weapon state, having withdrawn from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003.
IPPNW unconditionally condemns this test and the rhetoric that accompanied it, which does nothing to make the DPRK, the North Asia region, or the world more secure. To the contrary, by increasing the nuclear threat within the region, the government of Kim Jong-un has increased the level of tension with its neighbors, has invited more of the international hostility to which it understandably objects, and has further complicated efforts to achieve regional peace and security.
Nevertheless, the DPRK’s heedless pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means for their delivery cannot be seen in isolation as simply a proliferation problem or a provocative act by an aggressive nation. The other nuclear-weapon states and their allies continue to support a double standard by refusing to eliminate their own nuclear arsenals—as the signatories to the NPT are obliged to do—while insisting that the rest of the world remain nuclear-weapons free.
Instead, every nuclear-weapons state is modernizing its arsenals with the intent of retaining them for decades to come. This past December, IPPNW protested a sub-critical nuclear test conducted by the United States, noting that such tests are “a means to extend and perpetuate the role of nuclear weapons in security policy, and not as a step toward disarmament,” and that they are “a hypocritical practice that undermines the arguments for non-proliferation.”
Only a world in which nuclear weapons have been banned and eliminated through a global abolition treaty can assure itself that this existential threat to humanity is a thing of the past. This is the goal of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), launched by IPPNW in 2007 and now comprising hundreds of civil society organizations.
We join others committed to regional peace and security in calling for diplomatic steps that will not further exacerbate tensions. Among these are a cessation of all aggressive actions, including military actions by all parties; an end to economic sanctions that only harm the North Korean people; the creation of a North East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone and other agreements to enhance collective security within the region.
Most important, we again urge all States to commence and conclude negotiations on a global treaty to rid the world of nuclear weapons, so that no State can any longer claim a need or a right to possess them.