Possibility of Complete Denuclearization in North Korea?

In order to examine whether or not there is a possibility of denuclearizing North Korea, five critical issues must be discussed.

First, does Kim Jong Il’s regime have any intention of surrendering its nukes? Second, are there any measures that could pressure North Korea in forfeiting its nukes? Third, how could we accurately inspect all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons? Fourth, do neighboring countries also possess similar policies which desire complete eradication of North Korea’s nuclear weapons?

Let’s analyze these five issues one by one.

1. Does Kim Jong Il’s regime have any intention of surrendering its nukes?

Going straight to the point, it will be extremely difficult for the Kim Jong Il regime to surrender its nukes. Not only has the Kim Jong Il regime had a strong desire for nuclear weapons from long ago, the regime is well aware that voluntarily surrendering its nukes at this current point in time may threaten its security and existence.

Furthermore, the greatest threat to the Kim Jong Il government is not external forces but internal forces; the military and the people. Hence, the chances of the Kim Jong Il government yielding its nukes is rather low as there is a high possibility that support from the people and military will deteriorate in the case nuclear weapons are relinquished.

2. Are there any measures that could pressurize North Korea into forfeiting its nukes?

Of all the strategies that have been attempted until today, there was no appropriate measure that has had an effect on the Kim Jong Il regime. Undoubtedly, if China was dragged into the side of North Korean denuclearization, the affect could have been bigger. However, North Korea has pursued a policy with China at arms-length and as a result China has refused to participate in allying with the international society in pressurizing North Korea.

Rather, China has displayed fervor to mediate the relationship between the U.S. and North Korea. As hard as it has been to persuade North Korea to surrender its nukes, it has been just as hard to convince China to participate in the side with international society. It seems that China and North Korea relations will continue well into the future and so it will be difficult to persuade China to become a complete partner in pressurizing measures.

It is unlikely that the policy will have any force as long as China does not consent to the measures and trade sanctions. Because North Korea is a country that does not depend on currency or trade for its national operations, there will not be any major hindrances to its existence with just one trading partner, China.

In truth, there isn’t much it can do to affect the abolishment of nukes.

In retrospect, it will be difficult to convince North Korea to surrender its nukes via the carrot policy. Who knows, the nuclear weapons could be abolished if an enormous carrot policy which included a $20bn grant and $30bn loan was offered. But, then again, these figures are a little extreme.

If a significant carrot policy was really drafted, some may argue that it would simply be better to admit North Korea as a nuclear state rather than providing so many carrots.

3. How could we accurately inspect all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons?

If North Korea accurately calculated the amount of plutonium it possessed and extracts the raw materials, there is a high possibility that North Korea’s nuclear weapons could receive recognition or be removed. However, this measure is again in many ways meaningless as North Korea has already recognized itself as a nuclear state and has been using this as propaganda within its own country.

In addition, it is extremely difficult to accurately measure the amount of nuclear weapons and materials. North Korea’s propaganda suggests that they have a lot more nuclear weapons than the actual, whereas at the negotiating table, North Korea acts as it if it has far less.

While scientific measures could be used to assess the amount of nuclear weapons, it is difficult to conduct these tests in a country such as North Korea. For example, to the international community, North Korea argues that the nuclear weapons were robbed, whereas within the nation, it states that commissioned officers had sold the nukes through illicit trade and that these officers were being executed for the act. Hence, it is difficult for other countries to conduct any investigations are there is no basis of truth.

4. Do neighboring countries also possess policies which desire complete eradication of North Korea’s nuclear weapons?

Though South Korea, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia all verbalize that they are against North Korea’s nukes, the underlying motives all differ. Furthermore, excluding Russia, the remaining four countries have been strongly arguing for many years that either North Korea’s nukes are blocked using whatever measures required or that North Korea is given an ultimatum of life or death.

However, the underlying motives behind the four countries life or death ultimatum are rather doubtful. Recently, five nations have been expressing that North Korea’s pre-made nuclear weapons be recognized.

In regards to the above conditions, it seems that it will be extremely difficult to remove North Korea’s nuclear weapons already made, let alone hope for complete denuclearization, though complete denuclearization of North Korea’s nukes could be achievable through negotiations and pressure policies.

Considering it will be extremely difficult to achieve complete denuclearization of North Korea, it is also difficult for South Korea and the like to outline a final goal. Instead, a more realistic aim may be to anticipate reformation of North Korea rather than complete denuclearization of North Korea. (continues)