Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Will Ill Kim Jong-Il Derail Disarmament?

What has North Korea suspended its de-nuclearization activities since it agreed to dismantle its nuclear program in February of 2007? Why was the nation not removed from the U.S. state sponsors of terror list, a key condition to the agreement? How will Kim Jong-Il's recently reported illness factor into continued negotiations?

The Center's Leonor Tomero and Adam Ptacin just released an excellent update and analysis on the questions above.

Key excerpts included below, or find the full report available on the Center's website.

According to Tomero and Ptacin, following early (credible) optimism, including demolition of the Yongbyon reactor cooling tower,
Congressional concerns about verification mechanisms delayed action…and the deadline for taking North Korea off the terrorism list passed on August 11, 2008. Soon after, North Korea halted its reactor disablement program in protest. In September, Pyongyang asked the IAEA to remove the seals from its Yongbyon plant that are part of the verification effort to ensure that nuclear work does not resume.

Washington maintains that North Korea has not been removed from the list of state-sponsors of terrorism because verification mechanisms which meet “international standards” have not yet been put in place. The United States is seeking unlimited inspections of North Korean nuclear facilities, soil sampling tests, and interviews with key scientists involved in the nuclear program.

The North Koreans regard these measures as an encroachment on their national sovereignty, a view supported by independent nongovernmental experts. As David Albright, a former UN weapons inspector who heads the Institute for Science and International Security, said recently, “The United States was demanding verification measures of North Korea no state would accept unless it was defeated in war.
The two analysts suggest,
One possible explanation is that the North’s suspension of its de-nuclearization activities may be nothing more than mere brinksmanship – a final push for concessions before the Bush administration leaves office. If this is indeed the case, this recent derailment may be viewed as nothing more than another hiccup in what has been a challenging Six Party process over the last several years.
What does this mean for U.S. policy?
Despite much frustration, now is not the time to abandon continued engagement with North Korea, especially given its danger of reopening its reprocessing facility and producing additional nuclear weapons material. The alternative to engagement is the potential resumption of nuclear weapons production by North Korea, an outcome that poses a grave threat to international security.
Read the full text of the article here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep on posting such stories. I like to read stories like this. BTW add more pics :)