North Korea Agrees to End Nuclear Weapons Program

In a surprising breakthrough, the North Korean government agreed today to give up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for various considerations from the international community. Details have been left for another day.

North Korea Agrees to End Nuclear Programs (AP)

North Korea on Monday agreed to stop building nuclear weapons and allow international inspections in exchange for energy aid, economic cooperation and security assurances, in a first step toward disarmament after two years of six-nation talks. The chief U.S. envoy to the talks praised the breakthrough as a “win-win situation” and “good agreement for all of us.” But he promptly urged Pyongyang to make good on its promises by ending operations at its main nuclear facility at Yongbyon. “What is the purpose of operating it at this point?” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill. “The time to turn it off would be about now.”

[…]

The agreement clinched seven days of talks aimed at setting out general principles for the North’s disarmament. Envoys agreed to return in early November to begin hashing out details of how that will be done. Then, the hard work of ensuring compliance will begin, officials attending the talks said. “Agreeing to a common document does not mean that the solution to our problems has been found,” said Japan’s chief envoy, Kenichiro Sasae.

[…]

Responding to Pyongyang’s claims that it needs atomic weapons for defense, North Korea and the United States pledged to respect each other’s sovereignty and right to peaceful coexistence, and also to take steps to normalize relations. “The United States affirmed that it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade (North Korea) with nuclear or conventional weapons,” according to the statement, in assurances echoed by South Korea.

While this is certainly a step forward after years of recalcitrance on the part of Pyongyang, this is a rather hollow agreement. Indeed, the Kim government made similar concessions a decade ago and soon abrograted. Let’s see how strong the enforcement regimes are before getting too excited about this development.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. I agree, there is no agreement, pledge or vow that North Korea will do away with its nuclear arms programs. A careful reading of the joint statement reveals the parties only agreed to three things:

    First, the six parties agreed to the six items in the joint statement. The statement is nothing more than a list of observations, two which concern agreements;

    Second, In section 4 of the joint statement, the six parties “agreed to explore ways and means for promoting security cooperation in northeast Asia;”

    Third, in section 5 of the joint statement the six parties “agreed to take coordinated steps to implement the aforementioned consensus in a phased manner in line with the principle of ‘commitment for commitment, action for action;'” and

    Fourth, in section 6 of the joint statement, 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.”

    Everything else in joint statement has been agreed to or stated previously.

  2. There is no agreement sweet enough for N. Korea to give up their nuclear ambitions. They’ll push for as sweet of a deal as possible to heap sugar on top of their nuclear dessert, and then continue to develop nukes.

    Why? Because once they have them, they’re assured that they will never be attacked so long as they don’t invade any other nations, and possibly not even then. They can certainly get away with whatever horrors they want within their own borders. Nuclear capability has become the crack cocaine of 3rd world governments.

    I personally think that a stated ambition to develop nukes is one of the few things that should qualify for a pre-emptive attack. It’s bad enough we have them, it’s downright catastrophic to allow any Tom, Dick, or Kim to have them.

    Iraq didn’t meet the requirements. We had a successful program of containment and plenty of people in positions to know, agreed. Now we don’t have the military or economic presence to stop North Korea, which is why we are in this situation. That pisses me off because it creates greater instability worldwide, which puts us and our interests at much greater risk.

    I’m not a tree-hugging liberal. I’m a pissed off Texan liberal. I believe in the military and in using it judiciously to strengthen security. It really pisses off people like me that people on the right will acknowledge serious problems like this, but turn a blind eye to everything the Bush administration does, even when they’re exacerbating the problem.

  3. DL says:

    Those guys ought to be quaking in their funny little uniformed pants – Don’t they realize that here in America we have a commander in chief that can call down class 4 hurricanes upon whomever he chooses and can direct them at specific peoples too.

  4. Railroad Stone says:

    The United States, on the other hand has just revised it’s nuclear policy, and reducing the number of nukes isn’t even suggested. Super-recalcitrant, or just hypocrites?