North Korea’s nuclear program started in about 1962. During this time, North Korea (Officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK) “committed itself to what it called ‘all-fortressization,’ which was the beginning of hyper militarized North Korea of today” (Pike, para. 4).
The government established an atomic energy research plant, which the specialists who had studied in the Soviet Union used to train students. Due to the abundance of uranium in North Korea, the country succeeded in its nuclear programs but faced oppositions from other countries (Pak, 133).
In 1991, North Korea and South Korea made an agreement to keep the peninsula free of all sorts of nuclear weapons (Graham and LaVera, 1269). This is what they called the Basic Agreement. In this agreement, the two countries committed to reconciliation, nonaggression, exchange and cooperation between them (Betz, 10).
The two countries then formed four joint commissions to workout the specifics for implementation of the basic agreement. However, North Korea went against this agreement, carried out secret nuclear programs, and denied South Korea access to the country for inspection. In 1993, North Korea pulled out of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, an issue that led to its first crisis (Niksch, 18; “Timeline,” para. 3).
Despite sanctions from western counties and the UN, Korea went ahead and produced its nuclear weapons by 1994. During this period of the basic agreement, North Korea had poor relations with other countries but had some relations with China, the Soviet Union and was struggling to form diplomatic ties with South Korea.
In 2002, North Korea faced its second crisis. This county engaged in a gun battle with South Korea in June that killed four of South Korea’s sailors. Japan stopped its food aid an issue that made the UN WHO to cut its food supplies to North Korea.
Korea admitted that it was secretly carrying out nuclear processes and promised to stop if the US signed a non-aggression treaty and it also engaged in ambassadorial overtures. Consequently, it restarted talks with some other countries. Some of these included Japan, the U.S. and South Korea.
North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006 (Kristensen, para.1). This underground explosion test registered a 4.2 magnitude tremor. Prior to the test, North Korea had announced that it was ready to do the test. They also notified China of the test twenty minutes before they carried it out.
According to Lankov, the test “was aimed at impressing the outside world in order to manipulate it and get what the North Korean leaders wanted to get” (para. 1). During this time, North Korea had poor diplomatic relations with many countries and this test helped it revive its relations. Thereafter, the United States decided to make important special considerations. As a result, assistance to North Korea was started again.
North Korea has a poor history of international relations especially with the western countries. However, the country held a good relationship with the Soviet Union during the early years of its establishment. North Korea’s relation with South Korea and the US was poor but it improved in 1991 when South Korea became a member of UN and strained North Korea’s relation with the Soviet Union.
The signing of the nuclear anti-proliferation agreement between these two counties improved their relationship in 1991. Currently, North Korea has belter international relations with other countries and it is a member of the UN, FAO, UNDP, WHO and many others.
North Korea is very cautious in establishing diplomatic ties with other countries. The country began participating in ASEAN Regional Forum in July 2000 and established diplomatic ties with other countries like Italy, Philippines, Australia, U.K., Germany and others.
In conclusion, North Korea has a history characterized by wars and international crisis (Hagstrom and Soderberg, 2; Bajoria, para. 1).
The country decided to engage in nuclear weapon developments in order to protect itself against its powerful neighbors and to assure it of military self-sufficiency (Cronin and Art, 157). The founders of this project were determined to counter the power of the United States against them and prevent any military takeovers from other countries.
Bajoria, Jayshree. “The Six-Party Talks on North Korea’s Nuclear Program.” CFR. Council on Foreign Relations, 2009. Web.
Betz, Frederick. Executive strategy: strategic management and information technology. New York: J. Wiley, 2001. Print.
Cronin, Patrick M., and Art, Robert J. United States and coercive diplomacy. Washington: United States Inst. of Peace Press, 2003. Print.
Graham, Thomas, and LaVera, Damien. Cornerstones of security: arms control treaties in the nuclear era. Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press, 2003. Print.
Hagstrom, Linus, and Soderberg, Marie. North Korea policy: Japan and the great powers. New York: Routledge. Print.
Kristensen, Hans M. “Nuclear Weapons Program.” FAS. Federation of American Scientists, 2006. Web.
Niksch, Larry A. “North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program.” Congressional Research Service. Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division, 2006. Web.
Pak, Chi Y. Korea and the United Nations. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2000. Print.
Pike, John. “Nuclear weapons program.” Global Security.org. Global Security, 2005. Web.
Quinones, Kenneth C., and Tragert, Joseph. The complete idiot’s guide to understanding North Korea. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha, 2003. Print.
“Timeline.” Asia Pacific. The New York Times, 2006. Web.
Lancov, Andrei. North Korea conducted nuclear test in 2006. The Korea Times. 2010. Web.