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Flabbergasted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:28 PM
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For India, North Korea's test poses key challenge

By Siddharth Varadarajan, The Hindu

Reconfiguring the nuclear order is no longer a simple matter

THE ONE "silver lining" Indian diplomats have latched on to is the "Pakistani connection" to North Korea's "clandestine" nuclear status but this clever point aside, Pyongyang's test of a nuclear weapon has immensely complicated India's quest for assimilation in the existing nuclear order.

The fact is that as of Monday, there is no longer any nuclear order, at least not in Asia. Experts can quibble about its low yield but the North Korean test has brought to a formal end the core bargain on which American nuclear policy in East Asia has rested: that in exchange for Japan and South Korea forswearing their right to nuclear weapons, the United States would guarantee not just their security against nuclear attack from Russia or China but also that there would be no new nuclear weapons state in the region.

Pyongyang may have delivered a body blow to Washington's security architecture but it is China which is likely to be most affected in the medium to long-term. For one, it is now apparent that Beijing has rather less influence over Pyongyang than it had let the U.S. and the wider world believe. Secondly, the spectre of "Japanese militarism" which continues to haunt not just China but a broad swathe of East Asia including South Korea as well will start looming larger as Tokyo moves to reassess its security policies in the light of the North Korean test.

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