According to U.S. Under Secretary of State John Bolton, North Korea is "the world's foremost proliferator of ballistic missiles and related technology to rogue states and hostile regimes." Mr. Bolton said in a speech in Tokyo that the ballistic missiles North Korea sells have a destabilizing effect on regions around the world.
Communist North Korea's arsenal includes Scud-type missiles that have a range of three-hundred kilometers to five-hundred kilometers. It also has Nodong missiles with a one-thousand-three-hundred kilometer range. North Korea has either sold missiles or transferred missile technology to Iran, Syria, and Pakistan.
According to Mr. Bolton, the hard currency that the North Korean regime and its dictator, Kim Jong Il, earn from illicit arms sales goes to funding North Korea's nuclear weapons program. If it has enough and if it needs the hard currency, North Korea could even sell nuclear material, components, or weapons. Mr. Bolton says this shows another dimension of the danger posed by a nuclear-armed North Korea:
"We are committed not to seeing North Korea with nuclear weapons, both because of the threat that poses in the Asian region but also because North Korea is a worldwide proliferator, selling weapons of mass destruction into the Middle East and other countries, and therefore their threat is a global threat."
To deal with the threat posed by North Korea and others, the United States and its allies have started the Proliferation Security Initiative, a global effort to stop shipments of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials. More than sixty countries are already participating in the initiative. President George W. Bush says that, "Together we will defend the safety of all nations and preserve the peace of the world."