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North Korea and Nuclear Proliferation

Recent missile tests by North Korea have drawn the condemnation of the international community, expressed in the unanimous passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution sixteen-ninety-five. The resolution requires that all U.N. member states exercise vigilance to prevent transfers to and from North Korea of missiles, weapons of mass destruction, and related items.

President George W. Bush has spoken of the danger of proliferation posed by dictatorships like North Korea:

"One of the threats that can emanate from a closed society, particularly one that claims to have nuclear weapons, is proliferation. One of the real dangers we face is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of people who would like to continue to hurt us - hurt the United States or hurt Canada, hurt anybody who has the courage to stand up and embrace freedom. . . .That's the big threat."

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said weapons proliferation by North Korea certainly poses a problem:

"One of their only exports, aside from counterfeit bills, is weapons and weapons technology. That's what they deal in. The bazaar is open as far as they are concerned. So that is a real source of concern not only for us but for the international community. Combine that with the fact that you have a country that has declared itself a nuclear weapons state. That is something that gets the attention of the international community."

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton stressed that these concerns are central to Security Council Resolution sixteen-ninety five. "It is not just the launching of these missiles that poses a threat," he said, "but the propensity of North Korea to proliferate this technology. North Korea is the world's leading proliferator of ballistic missiles technology, so it is entirely appropriate for the Security Council to reaffirm Resolution fifteen-forty, which states that "the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.