North Korea's nuclear ambitions are clear but how is the international community responding? Japan took action while the United Nations weighed sanctions against North Korea and the US, Britain and France sought a resolution under Chapter VII (7) of the U.N. Charter to make sanctions mandatory. And without sanctions? Experts fear this could be a slippery slope. Joining me on Network Europe now is Shannon Kile from SIPRI the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Thank you very much, it's a pleasure to be here.
You're an expert on non-proliferation and export control - this week has been characterized by tension - tension over North Korea's nuclear intentions - now Iran has re-iterated its support of a global dismantling of nuclear capabilities. Do you think that's optimistic if we look in the short term?
Well certainly in the short term the trends in nuclear forces are running in exactly the opposite direction. The nuclear weapons states are all modernizing their forces. They've all reaffirmed the centrality of nuclear weapons in their long term security postures. And in some cases they're actually giving nuclear weapons expanded roles and missions in those postures. So in fact in the short term, the trends are not very optimistic.
North Korea is touting this as a success.
North Korea, Iran - what do these countries gain by showcasing nuclear capabilities?
Iran steadfastly maintains that its nuclear program is entirely for peaceful purposes. And although there's considerable evidence that's been gathered by the International Atomic Energy Agency in the last year or so which suggests at least that Iran's program may have a military component as well, there is no definitive proof of that yet. The difference with North Korea is North Korea in February of 2005, openly stated that it had developed operational nuclear weapons. And the test that was carried out last weekend, in fact could perhaps be better described as a nuclear weapon demonstration because the main purpose as given by the North Koreans for carrying out the explosion was to establish the credibility of their nuclear deterrent. And ironically, what's happened since then is that because there are now doubts about whether the test was a success or a failure, it's actually served to raise more questions than it answers about North Korea's nuclear capability.
It seems North Korea has now let the genie out of the nuclear bottle - what should Europe be wishing for now?
I think Europe should be wishing for two things. The first thing is a cessation of further nuclear tests by North Korea and the second thing is it needs to be part of a coordinated international response to what North Korea has done. And that may involve sanctions, that may involve some other punitive measures but there needs to be, on the part of the International community, it can be through the UN Security Council or through a coordinated series of measures among individual states but there needs to be a clear marker laid down that this is not acceptable and that North Korea has to desist from this behaviour.
Well, what do you see as the key to a solution?
It's quite a week for a new Secretary General to be handed the United Nations chalice - South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon was welcomed as the United Nations' new secretary-general - what role must he now play?
Well currently he has a major crisis on his hands. Obviously the United Nations Security Council is going to be an important actor in responding to the North Korean tests. It is the ultimate arbiter and upholder of international law. The question is going to become now I think what sort of coordinated response can there be among the 5 permanent members, especially since China and Russia are traditionally less willing to contemplate sanctions and punitive measures against member states, so he's going to have, I think, a very difficult task ahead of him in terms of coming up with a coordinated and unified response on the security council in a way that will also bring about meaningful and concrete punitive measures against the DPRK.Listen to the report:
We're going to take you to the hot spot. Sweden, along with Switzerland has had a presence in the demilitarized zone separating the north and south since 1953. On Wednesday, Radio Sweden's Dave Russell asked Commander Mats Fågelmark to describe the current situation on the ground -- he's the Deputy Head of the Swedish Delegation of the Neutral Nations Supervising Commission in Pamenyan, Korea.
he was a Russian investigative journalist but Anna Politkovskaja, was mourned internationally. Her colleagues say her murder was retaliation for her reports on Chechnya and indeed her legacy will forever be linked to the fight for press freedom. Radio Netherlands opened their vault to take us back to an interview they recorded in 1995 after the journalist fell seriously ill with symptoms of food poisoning after covering the Beslan hostage tragedy. She alleged that the Russian government poisoned her in an attempt to silence her reports on the war in Chechnya
Anna Politkovskaja was mourned internationally, and indeed her funeral was attended by the head of the European Commission's delegation to Moscow along with representatives from the EU's current Finnish presidency and ensuing German presidency. And on Tuesday outside the Russian embassy in Stockholm, Swedish journalists demonstrated and lit candles in Politkovskaja's memory. The 48-year-old was one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's most vocal critics. But in his first public comments on the shooting, Putin vowed to hunt down the perpetrators and said he believed the killers wanted to stir up anti-Russian feeling. And without a doubt, the murder cast a shadow over Putin's two-day visit to Dresden, Germany. The annual bilateral deliberations are aimed at fostering Russian-German ties. Talks between German chancellor Angela Merkel and Putin were, this time, also dominated by energy security and of course North Korea's nuclear crisis.
Everyone loves to hear from Stockholm at least when it's Nobel time. The Peace Prize is the culmination of the week but Radio Sweden can fill us in now on the prizes announced in Stockholm. Mark Cummins takes us through the 2006 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
People will certainly be shouting "skål" as they wine and dine in royal company during the Nobel ceremony in December in Stockholm but in the Czech Republic doctors are sounding the alarm. Women there are raising their glasses with a "Na zdravi!" far too often. In fact, in 2005, the number of women who entered Czech clinics with an alcohol abuse problem was twice as high one decade earlier. Radio Prague's Daniela Lazarova reports.
French custom authorities have crushed and burnt nine tons of counterfeit cigarettes. They were part of 37 tons of cigarettes which were seized in April 2005 in the northern port of Le Havre: that's one point eight million packs, worth more than nine million euro. It was the biggest seizure of counterfeit tobacco in France.
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