June 2, 2009
The most immediate and dangerous development in Northeast Asia today is the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Between April 5 when it launched a long-range missile and its nuclear test on May 25, North Korea has withdrawn from the Six-Party talks, effectively backing out of the September 2005 Six Party Joint Statement that included a denuclearization pledge. If nothing else, its test last week made this point clearly. It is now reportedly working to recommission the reprocessing plant at Yongbyan with the obvious intent of turning the spent fuel in the rods removed from its now idle reactor into weapons grade material – essentially making good the weapons-grade material used in the latest test, plus some.