N. Korea claims nuclear test

Published 4:01 pm Monday, October 16, 2006

By Staff
Early last week, North Korea's official news agency, the Korean Central News Agency, announced to the world the country had conducted its first nuclear weapons test:
It is no secret that North Korea has missiles, and if this latest claim is true, North Korea will be the eighth country with declared nuclear powers. There is no doubt their ultimate goal is to develop the technology to put their nuclear warheads on their missiles.
North Korea has repeatedly ignored warnings from the international community on nuclear and missile testing. This latest action constitutes a threat both to the United States and to the international community; a threat we cannot accept under any circumstance.
A U.S. draft resolution was presented to the United Nations Security Council last week calling for an arms embargo and financial and trade sanctions on North Korea, as well as international inspections of all cargo in and out of North Korea. The draft resolution would bar the import of all luxury goods and demand all nuclear activities cease. North Korea would also have to restart multi-party talks and would have 30 days to comply or face more serious sanctions.
At the writing of this column, a vote on a draft resolution by the United Nations Security Council was imminent. This resolution will be in addition to the action taken in July following North Korea's launch of seven missiles. At that time, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1695 was adopted, requiring all states to exercise vigilance and prevent the transfer and/or procurement of missile-related items or financial resources to or from North Korea.
North Korea has one of the worst human rights records in the world. Its citizens have almost no individual freedoms. Reports of torture, starvation, rape, murder, and forced labor are rampant.
North Korea is a poor country that depends on energy and food assistance from China and South Korea, which is why sanctions can be so effective in this particular circumstance. The United Nations must enforce sanctions until North Korea ends its nuclear program.
Now more than ever, we must continue to work with our international allies and partners to end North Korea's nuclear program.
The United States must accelerate our missile defense efforts. Just this year, 130 of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle voted to cut more than $9 billion from the ballistic missile defense program.
U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner represents Escambia County in the U.S. House of Representatives.