The United States, Russia, China, Germany, Italy, Japan and South Korea have condemned North Korea’s announcement it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.
“We absolutely cannot allow this,” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“The North Korean nuclear program and the repeated nuclear tests are (a) serious threats to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and an attack on the worldwide nonproliferation regime,” said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Hua Chunying, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said his country remains “steadfast in its position that the Korean Peninsula should be denuclearized.”
“We have consistently made it clear that we will not accept (North Korea) as a nuclear state,” said U.S. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price. “We will continue to protect and defend our allies in the region.”
Despite the round condemnation there is no solid evidence North Korea has developed a hydrogen bomb.
Nuclear test verification depends on radioactive debris leaking out of the test site and collected by airplanes or ground sampling stations. No such debris leaked out of an earlier North Korean nuclear test, so the declaration North Korea has a hydrogen bomb is at best theoretical and speculative.
“Please also note that the seismic data says that the yield of this bomb is roughly the same size as the third DPRK test which was not claimed to be a hydrogen bomb. If this one is the same size, what new information do we have suggesting it is any different other than a DPRK claim?” SIPRI nuclear weapons expert Robert Kelley told Deutsche Welle on Wednesday.
Additionally, according to the Federation of American Scientists, there is no publicly available evidence that North Korea has operationalized its nuclear weapons capability.
A 2013 world survey by the U.S. Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) does not credit any of North Korea’s ballistic missiles with any nuclear capability, FAS notes. It is believed the nation has less than ten nuclear weapons.
The Real Nuclear Threat
The United States and Russia, however, have nearly 2,000 strategically deployed, 3,000 reserved non-deployed and stockpiles of close to 5,000 nuclear weapons each.
France has around 300 nuclear weapons, China 260, the UK 215, Israel 80 (undeclared), Pakistan around 130, and India 120.
The United States has placed some 480 B61 thermonuclear bombs in five so-called “non-nuclear states,” including Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.
“Casually disregarded by the Vienna based UN Nuclear Watchdog (IAEA), the US has actively contributed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Western Europe,” writes Michel Chossudovsky.
Bristling with nuclear stockpiles the US and Israel have accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons, an accusation that is taken for granted in the West but in fact lacks evidence.
Only one nation has used nuclear weapons—the United States.
On August 6 and August 9, 1945 the US military dropped nukes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Prior to the bombing it was proposed the military target the emperor’s palace in Tokyo with a nuke, but this idea was discarded because Tokyo lay in ruins from previous conventional attacks (fire bombing raids ordered by “Bombs Away” General Curtis LeMay had decimated the city and killed nearly 100,000 people).
There is virtually no demand that the United States, Russia and the rest of the nuclear club disarm.
“Achieving a nuclear weapons free world is not an impossible dream, but it will certainly be an incredibly hard slog. To get there, the critical need is to build and sustain the necessary political will,” writes professor Gareth Evans.
Unfortunately political will is now centered on condemning and demonizing wanna-be members of the nuclear club while the big players continue to hold and deploy their stockpiles.