December 20, 2011
Commentary by: Eben Harrell, research associate, Project on Managing the Atom
Topic: North Korea’s nuclear program
“Kim Jong Il’s death leaves the Korean peninsula and the rest of East Asia in a period of great uncertainty. But one of Kim Jong Il’s most dangerous legacies has security implications well beyond the region: he leaves behind a thriving nuclear weapons export business that must now be stopped.
There has been mounting evidence in recent years that North Korea has set up an illicit nuclear export business to Syria, Iran and potentially elsewhere. Syria’s Al-Kibar nuclear reactor, which was bombed by Israeli warplanes in 2007, closely resembled a North Korean facility used to produce plutonium for bombs, and one western diplomat told me that several senior North Korean technicians were killed in the raid.”