As co-convenors of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network (APLN), we deplore the latest nuclear test by North Korea. While independent experts remain sceptical of the claim that it was a hydrogen bomb, the unhappy fact is that in the last 17 years North Korea is the only country in the world that continues to conduct nuclear tests.
Most countries and peoples of the world are deeply concerned about the grave dangers posed by nuclear weapons and engaged in efforts to eliminate these inhumane weapons. North Korea’s provocative actions can only increase regional and international tensions and hamper efforts to reduce nuclear risks, minimise the numbers and role of nuclear weapons and eventually abolish them entirely.
North Korea can better enhance its national security by engaging constructively with the international community to build relationships with other countries based on mutual respect and support for global norms. Development of weapons of mass destruction has the opposite effect, deepening the country’s isolation and increasing the dangers to its security, as well as further impoverishing the North Korean people.
Political tensions and grievances can be addressed only by political means, not by aggravating existing tensions and escalating an arms race. APLN calls on North Korea to resume dialogue with the international community by rejoining the Six Party Talks. Diplomacy, not aggression masquerading as “self-defence”, is the way for North Korea to establish its place as a responsible participant in regional and world affairs. We also urge all countries in a position to do so to use their influence with North Korea to lower tensions and cease acts of provocation.
Chung-in Moon, Seoul(+82-2-325-2604)
Ramesh Thakur, Canberra(+61-447-727-797)
The Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN) (www.a-pln.org) has more than sixty members from 14 countries across Asia and the Pacific, consisting of former political, official and military leaders in senior executive positions as well as opinion leaders and shapers from other sectors of society. As an advocacy group, the APLN aims to inform and energise public opinion, especially high-level policymakers, to take seriously the very real threats posed by nuclear weapons, and to do everything possible to achieve a world in which they are contained, diminished and eventually eliminated.