North Korea, which pulled out of the NPT in January 2003, will
not attend the review meeting. In February 2005 North Korea announced
that it had created nuclear weapons. Weapons experts fear that
this could create a domino effect in which other nations in the
region acquire nuclear weapons, too.
North Korea becomes a nuclear weapon state, it won't be too long
before Japan becomes a nuclear weapon state," Graham Allison
of Harvard University told Voice of America.
If that happens, Allison says, it could start a nuclear arms
race between Japan and China. Feeling threatened on all sides,
South Korea would also want to possess nuclear weapons.
Experts also fear that North Korea, isolated with a failing economy,
is likely to sell nuclear weapons to a terrorist organization
or individual such as Osama bin Laden.
They also warn that North Korea would set a precedent for other
countries: claim to be producing nuclear energy, withdraw from
the NPT, and then create nuclear weapons.
"The 2005 NPT Review Conference is a vital opportunity for
the United States and the international community to recommit
to the treaty's goals," said Daryl Kimball of the Campaign
to Strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. "It is
an opportunity we can't afford to squander."