North Korea’s increasingly reckless behavior represents an immediate
and growing threat not only on the Korean peninsula but to the entire Asia-Pacific region. This region has enjoyed an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity for several decades and has been transformed into an engine of the global economy.
However, North Korea’s repeated provocations, including last year’s July 4th missile launches and the October nuclear test, pose a great threat to the stability required for the region’s continued
growth. The impact of a major crisis would be felt far beyond Korea, not only in Tokyo and Hong Kong but in London and New York as
well. Concerns have been raised that Kim Jong Il and his regime may
conduct a second nuclear test in the near future. This, in turn,
could trigger a nuclear arms race in the region, with Japan, South
Korea, and perhaps even Taiwan reevaluating their fundamental
security needs. The threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear program
has wider, even global, implications. The regime has long been a major proliferator of nuclear and other weapons-of-mass-destruction materials and technology. Its ties to the Dr. A.Q. Khan nuclear black market network have been extensively documented. In addition, Pyongyang has been involved for many years in missile sales to Iran and other rogue states in the Middle East.
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