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Home > Special Topics > Asia Report Last Updated: 15:14 03/09/2007
Asia Report #111: January 5, 2006

The Way for Denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula

So Ki Sok (Senior Researcher at the DPRK Institute for Disarmament and Peace in Pyongyang)

[Editor's note: The following is a carefully edited version of a paper presented at the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) study group on countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Asia Pacific region. It has been edited for style and readability. The opinions are those of the author's and are shared with PacNet readers as an expression of current DPRK thinking.]

Recent rapid developments between the North and South have instilled, not only in the Korean people but for the people of the world, bright prospects for the reunification of the Korean Peninsula and peace and security in North-East Asia.

Favorable aspects are being created as the consistent antagonism, distrust and confrontation of the past is being turned into reconcilable and cooperative relations after the adoption of the North-South Joint Declaration on June 15, 2000.

On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the announcement of the North-South Declaration and 60th anniversary of the Korean liberation this year, grand reunification festivals were held in Pyongyang and Seoul, including the participation of senior delegations from the North and South. The multifold dialogue and cooperation between the North and South in various fields, such as politics, economy, culture, military, humanitarian, and so on are in progress.

This is activating an overall national reconciliation, unity, and reunification movement to open the turning point phase for the independent reunification under the ideal of "our nation itself" clarified by the June 15, 2000 North-South Joint Declaration.

Meanwhile, the basis for broader cooperation was created by the announcement of the Joint Statement for the Denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula at the fourth round of Six-Party Talks in September to eliminate hostile relations, materialize co-existence between the North and the U.S., build confidence, and promote peace and security.

But the Korean Peninsula is still unstable and threatens peace and security in North-East Asia despite the affirmative developments that are being created for peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula, because the current U.S. administration is still resorting to a hostile policy toward us in the old style of the Cold War era.

The U.S. security strategy in North-East Asia is still the primary obstacle threatening security not only on the Korean Peninsula but throughout North-East Asia. The U.S. is trying to impede the development of relations between North and South and aggravate tensions. Its aim is to bring down the DPRK system by resorting tenaciously to a policy to isolate and stifle North Korea.

The purpose of the U.S. in aggravating tension on the Korean Peninsula is to check the influence of China in this region and to seek the excuse and its moral obligation to seize the North-East Asia region by legalizing the U.S. troop presence in South Korea and Japan and to further strengthen the alliance with Japan and South Korea.

The U.S. is consistently renewing and completing its plan to invade the DPRK to realize its security strategy in North-East Asia, massively reinforcing and deploying its aggressive forces in South Korea and Japan accordingly and leading the situation in the Korean Peninsula to the verge of war ceaselessly.

The U.S. made the operation plan to invade the DPRK in detail several times until now, after it made "operation plan 5026" in 1993 and 1994. It is a well known fact that the U.S. has made and renewed plans to invade the DPRK ceaselessly under the wide and detailed analyses of the war methods employed in the Afghanistan and Iraqi War, including intensified bombardment, "cyber war" and guerrilla warfare. These aggressive plans are the war scenario based on preemptive nuclear attacks thoroughly.

The U.S. is also reinforcing its armed might in South Korea. The "reinforcement plan of war power" announced by the U.S. in May 2003 provides clear evidence. The U.S. is bringing the most updated military equipment into South Korea, massively squandering a huge budget worth almost 13 billion to realize this plan.

The U.S. is ceaselessly waging anti-DPRK war exercises in South Korea and around it. Such anti-DPRK war exercises have increased systematically since June 15, 2000. The military exercises that the U.S. and South Korea are waging, including the "Ulji Focus Lens 05" Joint Military Exercise conducted this year, are arousing deep concerns among all the people because these are the most dangerous, and are aimed at the preparation for preemptive attack on the DPRK. Compared with past exercises, the focus is on rapidness and accuracy. The U.S. is trying to change the mission of the U.S. troops stationed in South Korea into a "mobile force for the wider region" and to create a military operational capability to inflict preemptive attacks on North-East Asian countries at any moment, proceeding from the aggressive doctrine of preemptive attack.

In recent days, the U.S. is trying to modify its rules governing the use of nuclear weapon. This is a known fact, disclosed in a draft on nuclear operations made public by the U.S. defense ministry on Sept. 10, 2005. This draft clarifies that U.S. military commanders on the spot can require the president to use nuclear weapons in various "emergency cases." It is a very dangerous attempt for the U.S. to legalize the preemptive use of nuclear weapons on any area and country, expanding the scope of the use of nuclear weapons largely, and making it easier to use on the assumption of a so-called "emergency case" when the U.S. considers it necessary.

Such U.S. dangerous military measures to materialize the security strategy in North-East Asia are becoming a main factor to aggravate instability and tension on the Korean Peninsula, pushing the DPRK to strengthen its war deterrent for safeguarding the sovereignty and security of the country. Such shameless U.S. policy is contrary to the Sept. 19, 2005 Joint Statement which confirmed the materialization of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The situation on the Korean Peninsula links directly to the situation in the North-East Asia region. If the situation on the Korean Peninsula (where the DPRK and U.S. are confronting each other acutely) is aggravated, the situation in the North-East Asia region will become unstable and, furthermore, peace and security in Asia can be gravely at stake.

Therefore, ensuring peace on the Korean Peninsula is the prerequisite to ensure peace and security not only in North-East Asia but in the whole of Asia. To ensure peace and security in the Korean Peninsula and North-East Asia, the U.S. strategy to aggravate tension should be removed.

Solution for the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

To denuclearize the Korean Peninsula is the ultimate goal of the DPRK and it is the consistent position of the DPRK to materialize it through dialogue and consultation. Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula cannot be solved by the abandonment of the nuclear program of the DPRK alone. To do it, the U.S. should withdraw its nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula and around it; the threat of nuclear war should be removed, and the main roots that compel the DPRK to make nuclear weapons should be eliminated.

In the fourth round of Six-Party Talks, it was reconfirmed that the materialization of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the general goal of the Six-Party Talks. The Joint Statement contains obligations for the DPRK and for the U.S. and South Korea. Even after the adoption of the Joint Statement, the U.S. is misleading the public as if the Joint Statement contains only the obligation of the DPRK to dismantle its nuclear weapon program, demanding the "first dismantlement of the nuclear weapons."

To materialize the denuclearization, the DPRK and U.S. should take realistic measures to realize the obligation items clarified in the Joint Statement one by one, according to the principle of simultaneous actions. Both sides cannot meet each other in the middle if we only go there alone. The important point here, the U.S. lets us go there without any difficulty by taking the corresponding measures. [unedited] [editor's interpretation is "the U.S. must take corresponding measures."]

Only when the U.S. abandons its strategy to aggravate tensions (which is an outmoded idea) and brings "commitment for commitment" and action for action" into practice, can the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula be materialized as soon as possible. The way for the denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula is as follows:

First, the U.S. should make its decision to abandon its hostile policy toward the DPRK. If the U.S. takes the steps to abandon its hostile policy toward the DPRK, then the DPRK would take the confidential steps corresponding to it. However, the U.S. is reluctant to recognize the fact that it is pursuing a hostile policy toward the DPRK.

For example, now the U.S. administration is trying not only to maintain a "war scenario" and "human rights law on the DPRK" aimed at the bringing down the DPRK system as its policy, but is also waging a campaign to topple our system by applying sanctions against the DPRK on the groundless basis of "illegal transactions." Therefore, the U.S. abandonment of its hostile policy is the vital matter for the denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula.

Second, confidence between the DPRK and U.S. should be built. Given distrust and confrontation between the DPRK and U.S. for more than half a century, both sides should remove the concerns and build confidence with each other on the principle of simultaneous action to solve the denuclearization issue peacefully. The provision of the light water reactor is (LWR) is the physical base to build this confidence.

To develop a peaceful nuclear power industry in the DPRK is related to the sovereignty of the DPRK. The requirement for the provision of the LWR is a fair one when considered in the light of the spirit of the Joint Statement or the principle of the solution for the nuclear issue between the DPRK and U.S. The economic losses were indeed monstrous in the past 10 years, during which the development of the nuclear power industry by the inexhaustible graphite in our country was stopped by the U.S.

The provision of an LWR is the international commitment already agreed by the U.S. Distrust was increased by the non-provision of the LWR, violating the international commitment agreed in Geneva by the U.S. Moreover, the nuclear power industry cannot be abandoned in our county in which hydropower and thermal power are limited. The provision of the LWR is the physical base because the main obstacle in solving the nuclear issue is distrust between the DPRK and U.S.

Third, the unstable armistice system should be removed and a new peace guarantee system should be established in the Korean Peninsula. The military confrontational state should be removed to solve the denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula and to do it, the present armistice system should be converted to the permanent peace system.

The solution of the political matters needed to create the conditions for the peaceful co-existence between the DPRK and U.S. and North-South reunification can be contained in the contents of the peace agreement to be adopted to convert the armistice system to the peace system. Additionally, the issues to build military confidence by a comprehensive solution of security concerns between the partners can be contained in it and, if so, the issue of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula should be naturally solved.

(Posted here with the permission of Pacific Forum CSIS)

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