Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Where Next with North Korea? Report of the International Crisis Group

To confront the unacceptable risk of North Korea's
expanding nuclear arsenal, the U.S. must urgently set
out a comprehensive offer to Pyongyang to test once and
for all the regime's true willingness to give up its
nuclear program and weapons.

North Korea: Where Next for the Nuclear Talks?,* the
latest report from the International Crisis Group,
details an eight-step process under which Pyongyang
would reveal and dismantle various components of its
nuclear program while receiving a series of economic,
energy and security benefits. While there is no
guarantee that any negotiating strategy with the
unpredictable regime will work, only a serious proposal
from the U.S., after consultation with South Korea,
Japan, China and Russia, will put the other parties in a
position to increase pressure on North Korea should a
reasonable deal be rejected.

"There will be no agreement on coercive measures unless
the U.S. first lays out a detailed plan of what North
Korea can expect by way of economic assistance and
security guarantees", says Crisis Group President Gareth
Evans. "Indicating a rough direction of the process is
not enough; all parties need a detailed picture of the
destination if this is to be seen as a good-faith

North Korea's nuclear arsenal has grown to an alarming
level; with as many as ten nuclear weapons, it now has
enough bombs to deter an attack and still have some to
sell to other states or even terrorist groups. The high
risk demands urgent, concentrated action to dismantle
North Korea's nuclear program, and other policy concerns
such as missile controls and human rights, important as
they all are in their own right, must wait until this
critical problem is resolved.

U.S. demands that North Korea dismantle it programs
before any deal can be reached have been rebuffed, and
the talks have stalled. It is necessary to change tack.

By the end of the step-by-step process outlined in
Crisis Group's new report, North Korea would have given
up all its nuclear programs, and that would be monitored
by intrusive verification. In return it would have
diplomatic relations with Japan and exchanged liaison
offices with the U.S. It would receive a significant
input of energy assistance and aid from South Korea,
Japan and the EU. It would also have a conditional
multilateral security guarantee. Having given up its
weapons, it would be in a position to move forward with
full diplomatic relations with the U.S., sign a peace
treaty for the Korean Peninsula, and develop full
relations with international financial institutions.

"Of course, there is legitimate scepticism about
Pyongyang's real intentions to accept any deal, no
matter how reasonable", says Evans. "But the only way to
find out once and for all is to offer it a deal that all
five other parties see as reasonable."

Contacts: Andrew Stroehlein (Brussels) +32 (0) 485 555
946 Jennifer Leonard (Washington) +1-202-785 1601

To read the report:

Click the tittle of this article or copy the following
URL: http://www.icg.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=3101

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