North Korean uranium announcement causes concern

North Korean marchers

North Korea announced that it is in the final stages of enriching uranium, a process that could give it a second way to make nuclear bombs in addition to its known plutonium-based program. Uranium-based bombs may work without requiring test explosions like the two carried out by North Korea in May and in 2006 for plutonium-based weapons. However, Ivan Oelrich of the Federation of American Scientists, a Ploughshares grantee, told the Associated Press that plutonium bombs have more potential to be miniaturized to fit on top of a missile

Dan Pinkston of the Ploughshares-funded International Crisis Group says the U.S. and its partners need to evaluate how far they want to take a punitive approach toward the North. "Where do you set the bar for relaxation of those sanctions? How do you walk back from that? And if there is no criteria set, then North Korea has no incentive to cooperate whatsoever," said Pinkston. "You know, if all you are going to be is sanctioned no matter what, then why cooperate at all? I mean, who would?" Pinkston instead suggests a positive incentive to draw North Korea back to the six-nation talks.