The Nation / Asia News Network
Shortly after announcing it had canceled United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s planned visit to the country this week, North Korea declared it had the ability to miniaturize nuclear weapons, which is a step toward building nuclear missiles. ��We have had the capability of miniaturizing nuclear warheads, as well as producing multiform weapons, for some time,�� the North Korean military said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. ��We can also guarantee the accuracy not only of short-to-mid-range but also long-range rocket launches, for which we have had the technology for a long time,�� the statement added. Pyongyang offered no explanation as to why it had abruptly called off Ban’s visit. But the timing of the statements on Wednesday was interesting. It seems North Korea decided to send a message of defiance to the international community, along with a reminder that change in the country would come on Pyongyang’s terms or not at all.
There is little doubt that the cancelation will push North Korea further from the world community and from the diplomatic norms and practices of international relations. Ban had planned to visit the Kaesong Industrial Complex, one of the few remaining joint projects that were launched a decade ago under South Korea’s conciliatory Sunshine Policy. The complex has 120 South Korean factories and employs more than 53,000 North Korean workers. Under the Sunshine Policy, the South provided the North with unconditional aid. The aim was to build trust. Most of these initiatives came to an abrupt end in 2010 with the sinking of a South Korean warship and the loss of 46 of its crew. Seoul alleged that Pyongyang was behind the attack. The planned visit to Kaesong by Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, was part of his efforts as U.N. chief to promote reconciliation and stability on the Korean peninsula.