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Book Says North Korea May Become A Permanent Nuclear-Weapons State By 2009

By | July 23, 2007

      North Korea may become a permanent nuclear-power state by the time a newly elected U.S. president takes the oath of office in January 2009, some 18 months hence, according to the author of a new book on the isolated regime and its atomic ambitions.

      “On inauguration day in January 2009, the next president may be faced with a permanent nuclear weapons state in North Korea,” the book predicts.

      Entitled Failed Diplomacy: The Tragic Story of How North Korea Got the Bomb, the book is authored by Charles L. “Jack” Pritchard, president of the Korea Economic Institute and published by The Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, with the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

      The book outlines how the rogue regime developed nuclear weapons, raising fears of a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula, or perhaps in other areas beyond the peninsula, along with fears that North Korea might develop many nuclear weapons and sell some of them to terrorist groups.

      That included, Pritchard noted, North Korea firing off several missiles last July, a pyrotechnic show that resulted in successful tests for short- and medium-range weapons, but a failure for a long-range Taepo Dong-2 missile.

      As well, the communist nation detonated a nuclear device underground in October.

      Pritchard commented on this dismaying tableaux in a panel discussion at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies, held with the Brookings.

      Rather than uttering harsh condemnation of North Korea for breaking its word repeatedly to assemble an armory of missiles and nuclear weapons, however, Pritchard condemns the United States for pursuing a course of “failed diplomacy.”

      It is time to encourage flexibility in negotiations with North Korea, he argued, saying rigidities helped to push the isolated regime to develop the weapons.

      Without negotiating flexibility, he argues, President Bush “risks creating such a bleak scenario that it may be too late for the next president, Democratic or Republican, to undo the damage that his failed diplomacy has done.”

      The book is published by Brookings Institution Press.

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