Another Attempt at be a Nuclear State? (Part 1)

North Korea seems to be scheming a strategy against the nuclear agreement.
Sohn Kwang Joo, Chief Editor  |  2007-08-27 20:34
[imText1]On the 25th, the Tokyo Shimbun reported on the Six Party Talks working group talks for Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula held in Shenyang, China on 16~17th, informing that the settlement agreed had excluded the reporting of nuclear weapons.

The newspaper further informed that North 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.

Presently, North Korea has suspended operations at 3 different locations including the Yongbyun 5MW graphite-moderated reactors, the radiochemistry laboratory and the nuclear fuel processing facilities which reprocesses the nuclear fuel rods.

When requests were made to North Korea by the denuclearization working group to further explain the nuclear weapons and facilities in addition to the Yongbyun reactor, North Korea responded, We will conduct investigations after returning to our country, informed the Tokyo Shimbun.

If the report by Tokyo Shimbun is accurate, it seems that North Korea has now begun to take strategic charge to complicate the nuclear negotiations, though this was something expected.

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.

In regards to the nuclear weapons, this promise indicates that North Korea 1) surrenders its nuclear development program (for plutonium, and HEU) 2) disable its nuclear facilities and 3) surrender its nuclear weapons. This is how all the participating nations of the Six Party Talks comprehend the Joint Statement of September 19, 2005.

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.

In addition, the 4th item states that During the period of the Initial Actions phase and in the next phase - which includes provision by the DPRK of a complete declaration of all nuclear programs and disablement of all existing nuclear facilities including graphite-moderated reactors and repossessing plants; economic, energy and humanitarian assistance up to the equivalent of 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil, including the initial shipment equivalent to 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil, will be provided to the DPRK.

Currently, North Korea has made a complete report on its nuclear programs. What remains is the disablement of nuclear facilities within the designated framework and provision of the remaining 950,000 tons of heavy oil.

However, a critical issue that has arisen is the fact that the definition of disabling nuclear weapons was never clarified in the initial phrase (February 13 Agreement for the implementation of the Joint Statement of September 19 of 2005).

The phrase nuclear weapons used in the Joint Statement was never defined in the February 13 Agreement and has been a hidden dilemma faced by the 5 member nations excluding North Korea.

North Korea continued to assert itself as a nuclear state until the Joint Statement of September 19, 2005, after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made an announcement on February 10th, 2005. Accordingly, the 5 member nations of the Sept 19 Joint Statement requested that North Korea surrender all its existing nuclear weapons and nuclear programs and return to the NPT-IAEA.

However, the February 13 Agreement was made after North Korea conducted its nuclear experiments. In the case, the phrase nuclear weapons is defined, the international community is merely confirming that North Korea actually is a nuclear state and providing evidence against this fact. If this occurs, undeniably the NPT-IAEA system becomes more helpless and the nuclear club consisting of the various nations such as the U.S, Russia and China merely accepts this fact as truth. At the present stage, the international community still does not recognize North Korea as a nuclear state.

Hence, misunderstandings have arisen with the notion of fuel rods, all nuclear programs including plutonium used, while nuclear weapons remains undefined and yet attempts made to include North Koreas nuclear weapons on the Sept 19 Joint Declaration.

Nonetheless, the fundamental principle is that the February 13 Agreement is for the implementation of the Joint Statement. Further, the eradication of North Koreas nuclear weapons is to a certain extent related to the parent law of the Sept 19 Joint Declaration.

The contents of the February 13 Agreement is essentially the preliminary actions of the Joint Statement of September 19 of 2005. In comparison, if the Joint Statement is the constitutional law to disable North Koreas nuclear weapons, February 13 Agreement would be the enforcement ordinance based on the Joint Declaration.

Irrespective of which stance the Joint Declaration and February 13 Agreement is viewed, no where does it state that North Koreas nuclear weapons will be excluded from the list of reports.

It seems that North Korea is trying to create a blind spot in order to make an escape hole. Nonetheless, Article 1 of the Joint Statement clearly states that the aims of the 6th Six Party Talks is to conduct reports for denuclearization and to ensure peace on the Korean Peninsula.
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