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North Korea Excludes Nuclear Weapons in the List of Items to Report

Park Hyun Min  |  2007-08-29 13:38
It seems that North Korea is trying to create a blind spot in order to make an escape hole. North Korea is trying to manipulate the term nuclear programs including plutonium and HEU, high enriched uranium and excluding existing nuclear weapons which is causing friction in the future Six Party Talks prospective.

North Korea has presented solutions regarding the nuclear programs during the Six Party Talks working group for Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula held in Shenyang, China on 16-17th. The suggested solutions include suspension of operations at 3 different locations including the Yongbyun 5MW graphite-moderated reactors, the radiochemistry laboratory, which reprocess the nuclear fuel rods, and the nuclear fuel processing facilities.

According to the February 13 Agreement, North Korea must declare all nuclear programs but their effort in manipulating the term nuclear programs, excluding the nuclear weapons from the list, is causing much hubbub.

Further, Article 2 of the 2nd Item of the February 13 Agreement which was drafted in Beijing from the parent law, the Joint Statement of September 19, states that The DPRK will discuss with other parties a list of all its nuclear programs as described in the joint statement, including plutonium extracted from used fuel rods, that would be abandoned pursuant to the Joint Statement.

Article 1 of the Joint Statement of September 19 in 2005 alleges that The DPRK committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to IAEA safeguards. Henceforth, it is the general agreement amongst the Six Party Talks participants that North Korea must make complete declaration of all nuclear programs and disablement of all existing nuclear facilities.

Korea had excluded the reporting of nuclear plans through graphite-moderated reactors and all reprocessed nuclear materials on the agenda of the agreement, which then questions whether North Korea will withdraw its nuclear developments in particular to the High Enriched Uranium (HEU) program, in which the U.S. has continued to target. On which North Korea continued to evade making further comments.

It is important to remember the words stated by Kim Kye Gwan, North Koreas foreign minister, on July 21st Six Party Talk in Pyongyang. When he was asked the question of declaring nuclear weapons, he responded that, If you delve into the issue, you will understand that we are discussing about nuclear weapons that are currently in use.

Henceforth, his comment conveys the message that the previous nuclear programs should be excluded from being on the list of items to report, which thereby dissuades them from being a part of the upcoming Six Party Talks agenda.

Some experts perceive this as a Salami Tactic as North Korea strives to expand their profit by strategically excluding nuclear weapons from the list of items to report. At the moment, U.S. vision of this years and disablement of North Koreas nuclear programs and the next years denuclearization of the nuclear appear to be luckless. North Korea is pushing for the provision of light water reactors in respect to their Yongbyun nuclear programs and facilities.

Granted, it would be a different story if U.S. removes North Korea from the list of state sponsor of terrorism and terminate the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act. In this case, North Korea may take upon an alternative position such as disablement of Yongbyun nuclear facilities and declaration of nuclear weapons on the list.

For these reasons, there is much weight being put on the upcoming 2nd round working group meeting for Normalization of DPRK-US relations in Geneva on October 2nd. There is a huge hubbub on the anticipated big deal to be accomplished on the horizon of U.S. policy regarding normalization of U.S.-North Korea relations, UEP issue and nuclear programs declaration.
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