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Disarmament Diplomacy No. 81, Cover design by Paul Aston and Calvert's Press

Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 81, Winter 2005

The Korean Nuclear Divide: View from the South

Lew Kwang-Chul

Problems over the nuclear programme of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), which re-emerged in October 2002 and has been steadily worsening, was discussed intensively at the 2005 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and its Preparatory Committees, but with no concrete outcome. North Korea's nuclear programme is one of the most significant challenges currently facing the NPT regime. How NPT states parties address this problem and what lessons are learned will affect how non-compliance cases are dealt with in future.

North Korea's announcement of its withdrawal from the NPT set an ominous precedent for the future of the Treaty, particularly in relation to Articles IV and X. If a country utilises (and abuses) its rights under Article IV to acquire nuclear weapons capabilities and then, when it is ready to go nuclear, can declare its withdrawal from the Treaty using its own manipulative interpretation of Article X, this has perilous implications for the future of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. How can we prevent the recurrence of similar cases by determined proliferators? It is important and urgent for NPT states parties to find common ground on how best to reinforce the withdrawal clause of the Treaty.

Pyongyang's stance is in contrast with other current and previous cases of non-compliance. It is a unique case of violation combined with defiance. North Korea has not only violated the NPT and other nonproliferation obligations but, in its continuing defiant actions, risks undermining the NPT regime. Starting clandestinely, North Korea is now bent on displaying its nuclear weapon capabilities as blatantly as possible. It has intentionally confronted the international community by pursuing a series of escalatory steps towards nuclear weapons development, leading to its declaration in February 2005 that it now possesses nuclear weapons.

Previously when disputes have arisen, suspected proliferators have sought to remain within the NPT and IAEA frameworks, concealing their ambitions and programmes as much as possible, using both tactics of deception and confrontation to head off international action against them. Such strategies may violate NPT obligations, but leave open the possibility of authoritative, diplomatic action, such as reports from the IAEA Director-General or decisions of the Board of Governors. North Korea tried this route at first, but in 2003 decided to leave the NPT and IAEA regimes altogether. This increased North Korea's isolation, but the inability of the international community to deal with such blatant confrontation and rejection of the treaty-based compliance mechanisms contains important lessons that NPT states parties need to learn.

Questions for the NPT Review Process

Although the overall outcome of the 2005 NPT Review Conference was very disappointing, it should be noted that many states made focussed interventions on the North Korean nuclear issue, in the plenaries, main committees and subsidiary bodies. Although there was some divergence of emphasis, states parties were united in their calls for Pyongyang to halt its nuclear weapons programme and return to full compliance with the NPT and IAEA safeguards. In addition, there was near unanimous support for continuing the Six Party talks involving China, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Since the NPT was signed in 1968, aside from the three de facto nuclear-weapon possessors that remain outside the Treaty, several countries have sought to pursue clandestine nuclear programmes, including South Africa, Iraq, North Korea, Iran and Libya. While most of these cases have now been resolved either through diplomatic and voluntary initiatives or coerced measures, two cases - Iran and North Korea - remain unresolved.

The two cases are similar in that both Iran and North Korea are believed to have developed clandestine nuclear facilities and are suspected of non-compliance with their NPT obligations. There are also fundamental differences. The Iranian case has been described as an example of "smart proliferation",[1] meaning that the Iranian authorities have taken advantage of loopholes in the NPT and its safeguards system to develop nuclear capabilities under the pretext of the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. North Korea was not as sophisticated as Iran in its approach, but more straightforward and confrontational. As a consequence, it twice announced its withdrawal from the NPT, in 1993 and 2003. Where Iran's nuclear programme is still addressed within the NPT and IAEA frameworks, the North Korean case is now largely out of the hands of the IAEA, and the NPT appears to have no institutional mechanism for dealing with such challenges. This leaves two choices: either continued Six Party talks or the UN Security Council, considered by many to be a heavy-handed instrument of final resort.

North Korea takes the view that NPT review meetings now have no authority to deal with its nuclear programme since it is no longer a Treaty party. Is this argument justified or correct? The simple answer is "no". The legal status of North Korea within the NPT remains unresolved. There is, as yet, no consensus among NPT states parties on whether or not North Korea should be treated as a state outside the Treaty. There is substantial disagreement about whether North Korea has actually met the substantive and procedural requirements for withdrawal under Article X of the Treaty.[2] Indeed, concerns about the division of opinion on this issue and the possibility of spillover to other important agenda items led the Chair of the 2003 NPT Preparatory Committee (PrepCom), Ambassador Laszló Mólnár of Hungary, to devise a clever formula whereby the nameplate of the DPRK was held under the custody of the Chair. On the understanding that North Korea's status would be addressed at the 2005 Review Conference, the third PrepCom followed the same practice in 2004. The same device was then adopted by the Chair of the 2005 Review Conference, Ambassador Sergio Duarte of Brazil, which meant that the Review Conference avoided addressing the question at all, leaving North Korea's status in continuing limbo.

North Korea has posed a direct challenge to the NPT regime and the IAEA safeguards system, including the expulsion of IAEA inspectors, the reopening of its 5 MWe reactor and other frozen nuclear facilities, reprocessing of spent fuel rods, its announcement of withdrawal from the Treaty, and, most dauntingly, the declaration that it possesses nuclear weapons. NPT review meetings have the right - and, indeed, responsibility - to address any issue relevant to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. NPT parties need to exercise those rights and responsibilities more effectively to address and respond to these challenges, in the interests both of resolving the North Korean nuclear problem and developing better mechanisms and practices for avoiding and resolving such challenges in the future.

The challenge posed by North Korea has already prompted NPT states parties to increase the range of nonproliferation issues addressed within the Treaty's review process. For example, there has been increased momentum to discuss issues related to non-compliance, and a window of opportunity has been opened to tackle a number of underlying problems such as withdrawal, institutional deficit and, to some extent, controls on the most sensitive aspects of the fuel cycle.

The NPT review process currently provides the only global forum in which to deal with the North Korean nuclear problem. Theoretically, these meetings can address diverse elements of the problem including cause, background, process, impact, and solutions; review conferences can make recommendations, issue warnings or decide on concrete measures. While consensus is desirable, it is not mandated under the rules of procedure for such decisions or actions. Even so, reality does not always reflect the wishes of states parties. Of the seven review conferences held so far, only three have been able to produce an agreed final document, let alone meaningful recommendations.

It may be too ambitious to expect the NPT review process to come up with specific measures for remedying or resolving an issue as sensitive as North Korean question. Still, NPT review meetings, through the exchange of views and focussed discussion on matters of global concern, could play a valuable role in finding areas of common agreement and providing guidance to the international community as to how to move forward and address the regime's formidable challenges. Agreed conclusions from an NPT review meeting would add political weight and provide an international context to regional and bilateral discussions.

Though there is much more that NPT meetings could accomplish, it must also be recognised that the North Korean nuclear issue cannot be handled solely by the NPT fora. The main value of the NPT, as it currently stands, is in providing an opportunity for debate, guidance and political statements, but it does not have effective powers for action. Moreover, since North Korea does not attend the NPT meetings (on the argument that it is no longer a state party), it is unlikely to pay much attention to recommendations or decisions made in its absence.

Relating the Six Party Talks to the NPT

Resolving the problems surrounding the DPRK's nuclear programme is a matter of urgency. Pyongyang now maintains that it has nuclear weapons and threatens to enlarge its nuclear arsenal with further separation of plutonium and operation of its graphite reactor. Efforts to prevent the situation from deteriorating further are urgently needed.

As noted above, North Korea's withdrawal announcement was submitted to the Security Council. By deciding to defer addressing the problem, the Security Council in effect accepted that the issue should continue to be addressed in the plurilateral, regional framework of the Six Party talks.[3]

The NPT regime and the Six Party process are interrelated, and developments in one need to be duly reflected in the other. For this reason, separate consultations were held among representatives of the five participant states present at the NPT review conference with the aim of negotiating language on North Korea for inclusion in any final document or Chair's summary. Regrettably, the 2005 Review Conference failed to adopt any substantive document or recommendations, and so the opportunity to reinforce the work of the Six Party talks in this way was lost.

The NPT's failure in 2005 reinforces the view that the Six Party Talks remain the most viable forum for a negotiated settlement. The key objective is simple: to reach agreement on ways forward by narrowing down the differences. The basic formula to resolve the issue is already on the table - North Korea must relinquish its nuclear weapons programme in return for security assurances, economic cooperation and improvement of bilateral relations, particularly with the United States.

The question is how to reach agreement on concrete steps and achieve implementation. The fourth round of talks resulted in a Joint Statement adopted in Beijing on September 19, 2005, which provides the outline for a more substantive deal. But it will take more sessions of the talks to agree an action plan for implementing the agreement.

Key Outstanding Issues

With North Korea calling for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and demanding the removal of the US 'nuclear umbrella', the definition of "denuclearization" became a hot issue at the fourth round of talks. However, this matter seems almost to have been resolved by the reaffirmation, in the Joint Statement, that the United States does not have nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and that the Republic of Korea continues not to receive or deploy nuclear weapons in accordance with the 1992 Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Since the United States has already on numerous occasions reiterated that it has not deployed nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula since 1991, raising this issue again was probably a tactical manoeuvre as part of the North's negotiating strategy. In a delicately worded statement, the United States further affirmed that it has no intention to attack or invade the DPRK with nuclear or conventional weapons.

The elusive HEU programme

The question of whether North Korea has an HEU (highly enriched uranium) programme was the issue on which the re-emergence of the nuclear crisis hinged in 2002, and it has since proved one of the most controversial and difficult to resolve. The United States maintains that there is a clandestine HEU programme in addition to the reprocessing of plutonium that DPRK officials have acknowledged. Though it is understood that the US delegation presented evidence on the HEU programme to its North Korean counterparts at the fourth round meeting, Pyongyang continues to deny the existence of such an enrichment programme and the Joint Statement makes no mention of HEU. In the absence of IAEA inspections, which were terminated in 2002, a suspected HEU programme by its nature[4] is difficult to verify. Since full cooperation would be necessary to resolve the question, one way forward would be a separate agreement between the United States and DPRK, specifying the scope and terms under which verification would be carried out.

It is reported that the United States has concrete evidence of HEU cooperation between North Korea and Dr A. Q. Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist who ran what IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei called a 'nuclear WalMart'. If that is so, then a possible solution would be for the DPRK to show the US, relevant to the evidence given, how it actually used any imported material, equipment and technology, and to demonstrate that these programmes are not connected with weapons development. In the absence of such evidence, a possible option would be for North Korea voluntarily to promote a deal by admitting to having enriched uranium as part of a peaceful energy programme; such a compromise could allow it to save face, while also meeting US requirements.[5]

In either case, all material and equipment related to uranium enrichment should be declared by the North and dismantled. However, if the US evidence is well founded and the North continues to deny the existence of an HEU programme, this issue will remain a fundamental stumbling block to achieving a comprehensive solution.

Timing and sequencing

Questions related to timing and the sequencing of the disarmament steps to be taken by North Korea and the security assurances and aid to be provided by Washington and others also remain a sticking point. North Korea argues for the principle of "words for words" and "actions for actions". As this is a matter of procedure rather than substance, a solution could be found if each side would exercise the requisite political will to make a breakthrough. Such political will has already been reflected in the Joint Statement, where the six parties agreed to take coordinated steps to implement the consensus in a phased manner in line with the principle of "commitment for commitment, action for action".

Incentives from South Korea

The Republic of Korea's offer of energy to the North worked well in helping to restart the Six Party process. Perhaps, if the need arises in future, South Korea's government could launch another initiative, for example, relating to North Korea's request for a light water reactor (LWR). The South could voluntarily offer to start preparations for providing electricity to the North, bearing in mind that such a project would require considerable technical preparatory work including linking the two different electrical systems and construction of a new grid in the North. After the South had begun this preparatory work, the North could start its process of dismantling its nuclear weapons programme.


Verification is likely to be one of the thorniest issues. Washington has proposed the "complete, verifiable, and irreversible" dismantlement (CVID) of North Korea's nuclear programmes. Ambassador Christopher Hill, the head of the US delegation at the fourth round of Six Party talks, used slightly different terms, calling for North Korea's nuclear programme to be dismantled "permanently, fully, verifiably". Despite the different language, it is not clear whether the US has shifted its position on this issue. The main element of the argument seems to be the same. The Joint Statement also confirmed the goal of the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The key to dismantlement of nuclear weapons programmes will be verification. But establishing a workable and efficient verification regime with the agreement of North Korea will be a formidable challenge. Given the sensitive nature of verification activities, the DPRK may be reluctant to agree on all the measures deemed necessary to achieving an effective verification system. The process of finding a solution that would be acceptable to the DPRK government - and which would prevent any chance of clandestine retention or revival of nuclear weapon capabilities - will require a high degree of political sensitivity as well as technical sophistication.[6]

The scope and mechanisms for the abandonment of DPRK's nuclear weapon programme are also left unresolved in the Joint Statement.[7] The most immediate hurdles concern any peaceful nuclear programme that North Korea might wish to retain.[8] Aside from the controversial LWR issue, a specific agreement should be reached as to which of North Korea's existing nuclear facilities will be dismantled and which could be retained. Washington is believed to favour dismantling all nuclear programmes in North Korea regardless of their nature, military and civilian. DPRK's government will almost certainly oppose such demands vehemently.

In view of past experience, there are also concerns that if part of its nuclear programme is left in place, North Korea might attempt to cheat on a denuclearization agreement. On the other hand, a demand for the dismantlement of peaceful nuclear facilities might be regarded as an excessive step, contrary to the Article IV provisions for peaceful nuclear energy in the NPT. On the assumption that North Korea is unlikely to give up all of its nuclear programmes voluntarily, a reasonable compromise would necessitate DPRK's return to the NPT, together with adherence and compliance not only with the IAEA's full-scope safeguards but also the Additional Protocol. As the Joint Statement suggests, North Korea's peaceful nuclear activities could be respected, as long as they are subject to the IAEA's strengthened inspections.

At present, North Korea is insisting on a new light water reactor, despite proposals from the five parties guaranteeing energy assistance. However, it is not entirely clear why North Korea should be making such a strong demand for this, given that its current LWR project is all but dead and a new LWR project remains a distant prospect for the future. Although the United States in the Joint Statement agreed to discuss the LWR issue at an appropriate time, it is difficult to imagine the current US administration accepting Pyongyang's demand this time round, both because of the potential proliferation risks involved and because this would imply a return to the Clinton administration's strategy, which Bush has frequently dismissed as deeply flawed.

Negotiating an Action Plan

It is not yet clear how the North Korean nuclear issue will evolve or where it will ultimately lead. The Joint Statement, an initial success, should work as a signpost for future efforts to resolve the crisis. The Six Party Talks now need to concentrate on a more intensive negotiating process to produce a detailed action plan.

The Six Party process involves several players, which may complicate negotiations on the more detailed, technical aspects of an action plan. With the Joint Statement agreed, therefore, it could be argued that the details should be negotiated in bilateral talks between Pyongyang and Washington or other concerned parties, as relevant to the specific issues under discussion. There are obstacles to this approach, however. Though the United States has shown a significantly more positive attitude in dealing with the DPRK delegation at the fourth round of talks, the Bush administration is reluctant to consider direct bilateral negotiations, associating them with the Clinton approach and the 1994 Agreed Framework, which was the outcome of extensive bilateral negotiations.

For the time being, the Six Party talks remain the most promising forum for negotiating a detailed plan of action to implement the Joint Statement, as they can draw on the mediating role of other players. In particular, China's influence on Pyongyang is an asset that could be utilised to promote progress and help to prevent the negotiations from becoming deadlocked. South Korea has also played an important role in enticing the North to return to the negotiating table, most recently through its bold suggestion to provide electricity. Japan could play a significant role in economic cooperation with North Korea, an integral part of the deal. Although Washington is regarded as key, provision of security guarantees is an area in which all parties have an important role to play.

As the Six Party talks enter an intensive negotiating phase, they may need to meet more often, but not necessarily in plenary format. Smaller working groups could meet more frequently to address specific issues, handling technical details and drafting implementation plans based on agreed principles. Heads of delegations might engage in intensive negotiations requiring political decision-making, in a conclave-like atmosphere if possible. The six parties might consider drawing on the format for organising the EU-3 nuclear talks with Iran. [9]

What if future Six Party talks become stalled on the details of how to achieve the denuclearization agreed in the fourth round of talks? Is there any guarantee that North Korea would not seek to exacerbate the security situation, whilst enjoying the protection of the Six Party process? This question is difficult to answer because there is currently no commitment by North Korea to maintain the status quo while the talks are in process.

The potential problems are compounded because of the DPRK's growing capability for producing fissile material.[10] An accelerated approach is therefore desirable. Ideally a timeline should be set for the negotiations, but this is easier said than done. At present there appears to be virtually no alternative to continuing the painstaking negotiating process in the current Six Party framework.

At the core of the action plan, the negotiators must ensure that Pyongyang returns to the NPT, preferably within an agreed timescale. North Korea's return to the Treaty would increase confidence in the universal value of the NPT and provide momentum for revitalising the nuclear nonproliferation regime. It would send a clear message of the importance of the NPT for guaranteeing the security of non-nuclear weapon states and would also reverse the bad precedent of withdrawal.

The Joint Statement includes Pyongyang's return to the NPT regime in parallel with abandonment of its nuclear weapon programmes. This is an essential element for resolving the nuclear crisis and would, as noted above, require North Korea's acceptance of the IAEA safeguards, including the Additional Protocol. IAEA verification will need to be coordinated with whatever mode of verification is negotiated at the Six Party talks.


North Korea's non-compliance with its global and regional non-proliferation commitments remains the most serious challenge to the NPT. The DPRK has broadly violated its obligations under the NPT's Articles II, III and IV, its safeguards agreement with the IAEA and the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Despite North Korea's flagrant violations, the international community has maintained a posture of endurance whilst pressing for a peaceful diplomatic resolution through the Six Party talks.

When the Six Party talks finally resumed in July 2005 following a long break, the initial prognosis for a successful outcome was not good. However, the appointment of Christopher Hill as US chief negotiator to the talks has offered a glimmer of hope. Ambassador Hill is an experienced negotiator who brings with him a level of credibility and trust from the White House and the new Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, that will be invaluable to finding a negotiated resolution.[11] In part due to his more constructive approach, the fourth round of talks proceeded in a much more serious and businesslike manner than previously, managing to reach a basic agreement that can now be built upon.

Although the September 2005 Joint Statement is not a guarantee for progress, it has laid a solid foundation for further steps. Whilst a rocky path still remains ahead, there is some hope that the Joint Statement will help bring about a genuine breakthrough to settle the nuclear issue in its entirety.

The initial phase of the fifth round of talks, held in Beijing from November 9 to 11, 2005, has ended without concrete results, but it would be premature to predict the general course of negotiations at this stage. Some analysts take the view that Pyongyang may attempt to drag out the talks in order to strengthen its nuclear arsenal by producing more plutonium, while, in the meantime, getting help from South Korea and China with relatively few strings attached.[12] However, North Korea needs to understand that economic cooperation cannot be sustained indefinitely without settlement of the nuclear problem in the interests of regional and international peace and security.

The Six Party talks provide a practical forum in which to pursue a negotiated settlement, but ultimately this process must lead back to the NPT. Only Pyongyang's return to the NPT regime and its full compliance with all nonproliferation obligations under the Treaty and IAEA safeguards can provide a genuine and secure resolution of this issue.

Despite emerging optimism, the worst-case scenario cannot yet be excluded. In the event of stalemate in the negotiations, options for the next course of action are limited and could be divisive. If it becomes evident that further negotiations would be meaningless, a logical next step would be to submit the case to the UN Security Council. However, such a course of action could be complicated, particularly if differences of interpretation about the state of the negotiations and the genuine intentions of North Korea prevented the five parties from having a unified approach.

Referral to the Security Council might be rejected by China, for example, if it believed that continuation of the Six Party process could still yield positive results. If, however, the five parties were to come to the same conclusion that the Six Party process was doomed, then it might be possible to refer DPRK to the Security Council without such controversy. Were North Korea to attempt escalatory actions, such as a nuclear test explosion to prove its nuclear capabilities in defiance of the international community and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (which DPRK has neither signed nor ratified), then China would find it much more difficult to oppose referring the issue to the Security Council.

Despite the intermittent confrontations and acts of escalation by North Korea, the international community must remain united in its efforts to persuade the DPRK government that it has nothing to gain and everything to lose from pursuing a nuclear weapons option. Quiet but persistent efforts towards a peaceful diplomatic solution are likely to work eventually. A military strike or further isolation of North Korea should not be considered a viable option.

It is imperative that in addition to the Six Party talks, NPT states parties address the North Korean nuclear case in full, to learn lessons and explore ways to cope better if such a challenge should arise in the future. Solutions that are both reasonable and practical need to be found. The Six Party talks work on this premise and the NPT should be a supporting force for these efforts.

At the fourth round of talks, North Korean delegates cited the late Kim Il-Sung's desire for "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula". If North Korea transforms itself from "bad guy" to "good guy" by dismantling its nuclear programme in a transparent and verifiable manner, and by returning to the NPT, this could be a win-win situation for all countries in the region, as well as the international community. Pyongyang would get what it seeks -security assurances and economic aid to shore up the regime. US nonproliferation policy objectives in Northeast Asia would be met, and other parties' regional security concerns would be substantially relieved. Finally, North Korea's return to the NPT would set a valuable precedent and contribute to the strengthening of the global nonproliferation regime.


[1] Chun Yung-woo, "Security Outlook Today: New Challenges to the Global Nuclear Non-proliferation Regime and the Future of the NPT", Osaka Disarmament Conference, August 2003. Chun has categorised nuclear proliferators as either "smart" or "dumb" depending on the extent to which they manipulate the existing legal regimes to their advantage.

[2] Arguments remain as to the interpretation of the Article X phrase "extraordinary events have jeopardised the supreme interests of its country". Arguments also extend to whether or not North Korea has correctly followed the procedural requirement by giving notice of withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance.

[3] Lee Ho-jin, "Challenges and Opportunities at the Regional Level in the Areas of WMD and Conventional Arms: With Reference to the Six Party Talks on the North Korean Nuclear Issue," presented at the 45th Session of the UN Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, June 29-July 1, 2005.

[4] By nature, uranium-enrichment facilities are relatively easy to conceal and difficult to detect. A cascade of 8,000 gas centrifuges, which can produce enough HEU for four nuclear bombs annually, can be installed in a space as small as 60 meters by 60 meters. See Chun Yung-woo, "North Korean Nuclear Issue: Current Status and a Roadmap for a Solution", Korean Observations on Foreign Relations, April 2003.

[5] Mure Dickie and Anna Fifield, "US to put aside uranium issue for North Korea talks", Financial Times, July 28, 2005.

[6] Lew Kwang-chul, "Don't Just Trust, Verify: Dismantling North Korea's Nuclear Program", Arms Control Today, Volume 34, Number 4 (May 2004).

[7] Moon Chung-in, "After Beijing Breakthrough, What Next?" The Korea Times, September 22, 2005.

[8] Wade L. Huntley, "Waiting to Exhale: The Six Party Talks Agreement," Simons Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Research, Vancouver, September 21, 2005.

[9] Cho Tae-yong, "North Korean Nuclear Crisis: Future of the Six Party Talks", presented at the CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) seminar, May 2005. Cho Tae-yong is the Director-General of the Task Force on the North Korean Nuclear Issue, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Korea.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Charles L. Pritchard, "The Korean Peninsula and the role of multilateral talks," Disarmament Forum, 2005 (two), UNIDIR.

[12] Gordon Fairclough, "Pyongyang Delay May Reflect Fear Of Rapid Change", Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2005.

Lew Kwang-chul is Minister Counsellor for the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations in New York.

The arguments contained in this article are solely the author's personal views and must not be construed to represent the views or positions of the government of the Republic of Korea or any institution or body with which the author may be associated.

Joint Statement on North Korea's nuclear programme

'Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the Six-Party Talks', Beijing, September 19, 2005.

The Fourth Round of the Six-Party Talks was held in Beijing, China among the People's Republic of China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America from July 26th to August 7th, and from September 13th to 19th, 2005.

Mr. Wu Dawei, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRC, Mr. Kim Gye Gwan, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK; Mr. Kenichiro Sasae, Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; Mr. Song Min-soon, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the ROK; Mr. Alekseyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; and Mr. Christopher Hill, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the United States attended the talks as heads of their respective delegations.

Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei chaired the talks.

For the cause of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia at large, the Six Parties held, in the spirit of mutual respect and equality, serious and practical talks concerning the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula on the basis of the common understanding of the previous three rounds of talks, and agreed, in this context, to the following:

1. The Six Parties unanimously reaffirmed that the goal of the Six-Party Talks is the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.

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.

The United States affirmed that it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade the DPRK with nuclear or conventional weapons.

The ROK reaffirmed its commitment not to receive or deploy nuclear weapons in accordance with the 1992 Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, while affirming that there exist no nuclear weapons within its territory.

The 1992 Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula should be observed and implemented.

The DPRK stated that it has the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The other parties expressed their respect and agreed to discuss, at an appropriate time, the subject of the provision of light water reactor to the DPRK.

2. The Six Parties undertook, in their relations, to abide by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and recognized norms of international relations.

The DPRK and the United States undertook to respect each other's sovereignty, exist peacefully together, and take steps to normalize their relations subject to their respective bilateral policies.

The DPRK and Japan undertook to take steps to normalize their relations in accordance with the Pyongyang Declaration, on the basis of the settlement of unfortunate past and the outstanding issues of concern.

3. The Six Parties undertook to promote economic cooperation in the fields of energy, trade and investment, bilaterally and/or multilaterally.

China, Japan, ROK, Russia and the US stated their willingness to provide energy assistance to the DPRK.

The ROK reaffirmed its proposal of July 12th 2005 concerning the provision of 2 million kilowatts of electric power to the DPRK.

4. The Six Parties committed to joint efforts for lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

The directly related parties will negotiate a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula at an appropriate separate forum.

The Six Parties agreed to explore ways and means for promoting security cooperation in Northeast Asia.

5. The Six Parties agreed to take coordinated steps to implement the afore-mentioned consensus in a phased manner in line with the principle of "commitment for commitment, action for action".

6. The Six Parties agreed to hold the Fifth Round of the Six-Party Talks in Beijing in early November 2005 at a date to be determined through consultations.

Source: http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/topics/dslbj/t212707.htm.

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