L’énigme nord-coréenne

CAMBRIDGE – Que se passe-t-il en Corée du Nord ? Le 23 novembre dernier, son armée a tiré près de 200 salves d’artillerie sur l’île sud-coréenne de Yeonpyeong, près de la frontière maritime contestée commune aux deux pays, faisant quatre morts, dont deux civils, et démolissant quantité de maisons et autres installations. La présence de civils, dont un grand nombre a du être évacué, a donné une tonalité beaucoup plus provocatrice à l’attaque nord-coréenne que celle du naufrage, en mars, du bateau de guerre sud-coréen le Cheonan, qui avait entraîné la mort de 46 marins.

Et à peine quelques semaines avant le pilonnage de Yeonpyeong, la Corée du Nord a fait visiter à une délégation de scientifiques américains une nouvelle usine d’enrichissement d’uranium jusque la confidentielle qui augmentera la capacité du régime à fabriquer des armes nucléaires.

Le programme d’armement nucléaire nord-coréen inquiète depuis deux décennies. Au début des années 90, Pyongyang avait violé ses obligations, auxquelles elle avait souscrit en signant le Traité de non-prolifération, en retraitant suffisamment de plutonium pour fabriquer deux armes nucléaires. Après s’être soustraite d’un accord contraignant négocié par l’administration Clinton en 1994, elle avait expulsé un groupe d’inspecteurs de l’Agence à l’Energie Atomique et entamé le retraitement de combustible usé susceptible de produire suffisamment de plutonium pour fabriquer six autres bombes.

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