February 27, 2003
Viewed objectively, North Korea’s decision to reactivate its nuclear weapons program does not alter the balance of power in East Asia very much. Pyongyang already has chemical and biological arms, many deployed along the South Korean border. But Kim Jong-il’s gambit nevertheless poses many dangers, including the possibility of a regional arms race. To forestall these problems, the world must dissuade North Korea from its present course of action. As a first step, the United States and other countries are trying to divine what the Kim government wants in exchange for the termination of its armament program.