The government has tested two atomic devices in the past six years, the first of which took place a year after North Korea reached a deal with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the US on abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, and returning to IAEA regulations and safeguards in 2005.
In 2007 North Korea allowed the United Nations to send nuclear inspectors into the country in exchange for aid. The country’s agreement to shut down its nuclear reactor was viewed as the first step in a new disarmament deal, according to Reuters.
The process appeared to be on track until the government said in 2008 it would reverse the disablement of its nuclear facility due to the US decision to keep North Korea on its state-sponsored terrorism list. The US eventually agreed to remove North Korea from the list, however, shortly thereafter in 2009 the country launched a multi-stage rocket and ordered the United Nations to leave as it recommenced the generation of weapons-grade plutonium.
The support of North Korean military is vital for ensuring the peaceful transition and authority of new leader Kim Jong-un. However, the military is said to be the most resistant to giving up the country’s atomic weapons in exchange for international humanitarian aid, reports the New York Times.