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UCI Hosts Nuclear Discussion

The true nature of North Korea’s plans concerning the reinstallation of their nuclear weapons program, according to UCI experts, was presented at UCI’s Social Sciences Plaza A on Oct. 16.
The two-hour lecture was led by political science professor Patrick Morgan and chairpersons in peace and conflict studies Thomas and Elizabeth Tierney.
These speakers shared their views and provided information regarding the recent events and political strategies of Bill Clinton and George Bush’s administrations which include North Korea’s economic and political development.
Morgan theorized that North Korea believes the United States wants to make other ‘people vulnerable all the time.’
Morgan also thinks North Korea is suspicious of the United States for having access to nuclear weapons but is preventing other countries from having the same access.
‘There is truth that the United States has always wanted the communist government to collapse,’ Morgan said.
In 1985, North Korea agreed to the Nonproliferation Treaty, an agreement in which all countries, including North Korea, halted production and prevented the use of nuclear weapons.
Unfortunately, rising tensions between the United States and North Korea have created a threat for the communist government. The hostility of the war in Iraq brings into light the desperate attempts of North Korea to power up their nuclear plants for fear of a possible attack from the United States.
According to Morgan, an agreement known as the NK-ROK Agreement, made between North and South in 1991, hoped to establish a normal relationship between North and South Korea as long as North Korea agreed to nuclear plant inspections and South Korea supplied oil to the North. The United States would try to develop more trade in North Korea and guarantee security of non-aggression.
North Korea, however, did not consent with two terms of the compromise.
‘[North and South Korea] cannot agree on who will run the government or what the government will look like, and then what [will] the society look like?’ Morgan said.
So far, even officials in the Bush administration strongly oppose attacks on North Korea, yet the increasing amount of military activity has led the regime to reinstate all nuclear arms programs.
Morgan speculates that North Korea is building these weapons in hope of selling them to such organizations as Al Qaeda and other leading terrorist groups. Such groups are more than willing to pay a large sum of money for these weapons.
The United States’ best bet seems to be a multilateralist approach.
Morgan believes that if the United States were to gain support from China, Japan, Russia and South Korea and confront North Korea for more peaceful resolutions, war would not be an issue.
According to Morgan, war or any form of physical attack would seem fruitless anyway.
‘What could the United States attack in North Korea? We don’t even know where the weapons are,’ Morgan said. ‘There has only been speculation as to where nuclear reactors are located let alone if they store weapons or are mere factories of energy. Although, even students at UCI see that something must be done whether it be in peaceful resolutions or conflict.’
UCI students alike agree that the United States should take some sort of action against North Korea’s current nuclear weapons program.
‘There are still so many questions about North Korea’s motive in producing nuclear weapons,’ said Angela Wang, a first-year biomedical engineering major. ‘We should take some sort of action because [terrorism and weapons of mass destruction] threatens not only the surrounding Asian countries but also everywhere else.’
On the other hand, some feel that action by the United States reflects a desire to influence the political practices in other countries.
‘[American officials] want to spread democracy throughout the world and try to make our world safer, and they wouldn’t have fought the Korean War if they weren’t trying to influence the country one way or another,’ said John Kwong, a first-year history major.