U.S. metalurgist Siegfried Hecker, a professor emeritus at Stanford University and a renowned nuclear scientist with profound knowledge about North Korea's nuclear program, speaks during a press conference at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea, 07 November 2023. EFE/EPA/YONHAP SOUTH KOREA OUT

Renowned US nuclear scientist warns of Pyongyang-Moscow danger

Seoul, Nov 7 (EFE).- Nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker of the United States warned Tuesday of the dangers of the recent rapprochement between Pyongyang and Moscow in the field of atomic cooperation, especially because he believed that Russia had demonstrated it was no longer a responsible nuclear state after invading Ukraine.

Speaking at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Hecker, emeritus director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, spoke about the apparent transfers of artillery ammunition from North Korea to Russia and the recent summit held in September between the leaders of the two countries.

“What worries me is this: What is Russia going to give North Korea in return?” said the scientist, one of the people with better knowledge about North Korea’s nuclear program.

Hecker added that while word was out that the North Koreans wanted missile technology but what was most concerning was cooperation or exchanges in the nuclear field.

The scientist pointed out that, right now, Kim Jong-un cannot increase his arsenal “exponentially” – as the North Korean dictator indicated would be done from this year – unless he gets Russian help.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February last year, Hecker has insisted that Moscow is no longer a reliable country after threatening to use tactical atomic weapons, seize the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant or break its promise not to threaten the integrity of Ukraine contained in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994.

Hecker explained that this situation is now combined with Pyongyang’s “strategic, pre-Ukraine war decision” to move closer to Moscow and Beijing and turn its back on dialogue with Washington.

This year Hecker published a book entitled “Hinge points: An inside look at North Korea’s Nuclear program,” in which he talks about this strategic shift toward China and Russia, and North Korea’s attempt to normalize relations with the US.

Besides his excellent ability to connect his scientific knowledge with the field of politics and international relations, Hecker is one of the few people outside the North Korean regime to have seen key facilities at the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center, the main site of Pyongyang’s atomic program, during the seven visits he made to the hermetic country between 2004 and 2010. EFE