North Korea is expanding its nuclear arsenal, and it is considered a major threat to the world nuclear security. Its Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un has been making nuclear threats, particularly to the United States.
In fact, Kim Jong-un recently emphasized that his country is no longer afraid of the United States, and it cannot be blackmailed by nuclear weapons. According to him, North Korea is now the “very source of fear” for the United States.
The Western powers including the United States want to resume negotiations with North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program. There were reports that Pyongyang has a dozen nuclear weapons, and it could have as much as 20 nuclear bombs by next year.
Last month, they finally signed a nuclear deal with Iran. Some political observers suggested that the agreement with Iran would serve as an outline to strike a similar deal with North Korea. Others commented that it is impossible for Pyongyang to accept a similar nuclear agreement.
In the past, North Korea participated in the six-party talks to end its nuclear weapons program in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees but left the negotiations in 2008. A few months ago, the group tried to encourage Pyongyang to resume the negotiations.
Iran and North Korea similarities
Iran and North Korea were allies since the Islamic the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Western powers implemented tough economic sanctions against both countries because of its nuclear programs.
Both countries also have a prolonged stand-off with the United States and are using nuclear weapons as a warning against military threats. Iran and North Korea also failed to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Both countries also supported terrorism.
Political observers believed that the United States could probably reach an agreement with North Korea given its similarity with Iran. Robert E. Kelly of the Diplomat noted that the U.S. normally sets the tone of negotiations. Washington could offer various options to North Korea because of its asymmetric weakness. Currently, Washington is using strategic patience to deal with the issue.
North Korea is not interested in a nuclear deal
Last month, North Korea made it clear that it is not interested in a nuclear deal with the Western powers.
According to the country’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, North Korea is “not interested at all in the dialogue to discuss the issue of making it freeze of dismantling its nukes unilaterally.”
He pointed out that it is illogical to compare North Korea’s situation with Iran citing the reason his country is always confronting U.S. military hostilities and nuclear threats.
Reasons why an Iran-like nuclear deal is impossible for North Korea
According to Kelly, North Korea does not want a nuclear deal similar to Iran because of the following reasons:
• North Korea is more isolated than Iran. Its situation is significantly worse. The country does not have friends (it has a tense relationship with China); it is under sanctions, and constantly under pressure from South Korea. The country’s primary interest is survival. It is also implicated in the worst human rights abuses.
• The North Korean government feels more secured having nuclear weapons, which also bring prestige to the country, which is considered as irrelevant, impoverished half-country that no one likes. Building nuclear weapons is great achievement for the regime.
• North Korea considers its investments in its nuclear program as great, which makes it difficult to give up its nuclear weapons. The economic cost of its nuclearization is higher than Iran’s nuclear program.
“North Korea – small, dysfunctional, backward, broke – to achieve nuclear weapons is rather astounding. As a sheer economic venture, nuclear weapons represent a tremendous investment. This huge expense suggests both the depth of fear in Pyongyang over external regime change and just how much it would demand to give up those weapons,” said Kelly.