Regional Stability

The Passing of the Nuclear Torch: The Next Generation of WMD Scientists

Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Image: yeowatzup/Flickr

This article was originally published by 38 North on 22 September 2014.

You probably missed the obituary. But on July 7, when North Korean media announced the death of the 88-year-old senior North Korean official Jon Pyong Ho, it highlighted an important but largely ignored development in Pyongyang’s effort to build weapons of mass destruction (WMD). While most observers focus on Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests, they ignore the shift happening in North Korea’s WMD community: a newer generation is replacing the North Korean scientists who played a key role in developing Pyongyang’s WMDs. This new generation will play a central role in determining whether North Korea will become a (small) nuclear power.

Another Inquiry or Another Whitewash?
Protestors outside the inquiry / Photo: Chris John Beckett/flickr

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair will be recalled for a second round of questioning after conflicting testimonies were given to the Iraq Inquiry.

It is unclear, however, what the consequences could be if Blair is found guilty of promoting false information regarding the existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in making the case for war. There seems to be a culture of inquiry in the UK that reinforces our democratic conscience but often results in ambiguous or anticlimactic conclusions.

BBC reports in 2003 quoted a government source claiming the 45-minute dossier had been ‘sexed up’ to justify the Iraq invasion. The Hutton Inquiry was held after the source, Ministry of Defence employee David Kelly, was found dead having apparently committed suicide. The inquiry cleared the government of any wrongdoing and heavily criticized the BBC’s actions – a verdict widely condemned by the press as a whitewash.