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The North Korean Nuclear/Missile Crisis. Dr. Clay Moltz Center for Nonproliferation Studies Monterey Institute of International Studies October 2003. Current Crisis. October 2002—U.S. accuses DPRK of cheating U.S. cuts off heavy fuel oil

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The North Korean Nuclear/Missile Crisis

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The North Korean Nuclear/Missile Crisis

Dr. Clay Moltz

Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Monterey Institute of International Studies

October 2003


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Current Crisis

  • October 2002—U.S. accuses DPRK of cheating

  • U.S. cuts off heavy fuel oil

  • DPRK withdraws from NPT; demands security assurances

  • DPRK restarts reactors, ousts IAEA inspectors

  • DPRK now says it is building bombs

  • How did we get here?


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Overview

  • Roots of “Korean Peninsula” nuclear crisis:

    • no treaty to end Korean War

    • South Korean crisis (1970s)

    • last communist state

  • Crisis raises alliance and security dilemmas

  • Poses questions for future nuclear/missile controls


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History of the North Korean Nuclear Program

  • Soviet assistance in civilian nuclear field

  • Post-Korean War agreement on nuclear training (1956)

  • Soviet provision of a 2 MWt research reactor

  • Yongbyon reactor installed in 1965

  • Possible planning for weapons capability


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South Korean Nuclear Program

  • Nuclear power program in 1950s and 60s

  • U.S. deploys tactical nuclear weapons in S. Korea; but begins force cuts in 1970s

  • South Korean reacts with domestic nuclear weapons program in 1970s

  • U.S. negotiates end to S. Korean program, but with a cost

  • Precedent of “rewarding” a proliferator


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DPRK Decision-Making: 1970s

  • Fear of ROK cheating

  • Increasing political isolation from China and Soviet Union

  • Beginning to lose economic race with South

  • Drive to develop independent nuclear capability (for power, weapons, or both)


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Nuclear Expansion in 1980s

  • Weapons research, uranium mining/milling, and fuel fabrication facilities opened

  • 20 MWt (5 MWe) research reactor in Yongbyon

  • Construction of two power plants begun (gas-graphite reactors)

  • Power reactor deal with Soviets; DPRK forces to join NPT (1985)

Outside of Yongbyon-1 reactor

Yongbyon 20 MWt (5 MWe) reactor


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Fuel rod fabrication plant in Yongbyon


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Uncompleted Yongbyon-2 , 50 MWt power reactor


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Unfinished 200 MWt power reactor in Tae’chon


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DPRK Missile Program

  • Attempts to produce Chinese missiles

  • Scuds from Egypt reverse-engineered

  • Development of independent production capability

  • Cooperation with states in Middle East; exports to Iran (War of the Cities)

  • Development of Nodong missile


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International Nuclear Issues: Early 1990s

  • U.S. withdraws tactical nuclear weapons from ROK

  • Bilateral denuclearization agreement with South (1991)

  • IAEA safeguards agreement (1991) and DPRK facilities declaration (1992)

  • IAEA inspections reveal discrepancies


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Agreed Framework and KEDO

  • IAEA calls for special inspection (February 1993)

  • DPRK initiates withdrawal from NPT (March 1993)

  • Jimmy Carter visits Pyongyang (July 1994)

  • Agreed Framework (October 1994)

  • Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) (1995)


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Map of DPRK Nuclear Sites


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Emerging Missile Concerns (late 1990s)

  • Beyond the Nodong

  • Rumsfeld Commission Report (July 1998)

  • Taepodong I test over Japan (August 1998)

  • Satellite or missile test?

  • Exports and financial incentives


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Taepodong I Launch Site


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Taepodong I Test

(August 1998)


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DPRK Missile Facilities


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Other North Korean WMD Programs

  • Biological Weapons

    • Several facilities

    • Inadequate technologies

    • Problems of domestic health system/control

  • Chemical Weapons

    • Numerous facilities (stockpile of 5,000 tons)

    • Evidence of warheads

    • Threat to U.S. forces and ROK


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DPRK Chemical Weapons Facilities


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Progress and Problems pre-2000

  • Delays in Agreed Framework

  • Missile test/moratorium for food aid

  • Normalization of relations (Italy, Australia, UK); economic engagement (South Korean tourism)

  • But apparent DPRK nuclear cheating

  • Clinton fails to reach missile deal


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U.S.-DPRK Relations Today

  • Pres. Bush’s distrust of Agreed Framework

  • “Axis of evil” speech and DPRK fears

  • October 2002, April 2003, August 2003 DPRK threats and nuclear claims

  • Agreed Framework frozen


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How Far is DPRK from a Bomb?

  • Pu on hand: 12-20 kg.

  • Pu in spent fuel rods that could be reprocessed: 25 kg.

  • Pu production of 5 kg./year at Yongbyon

  • Future uranium enrichment and other Pu reactors?


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How Far is the DPRK from an ICBM?

  • Limitations (payloads, CEPs, numbers)

  • Multiple stages and range extension

  • Taepodong II and CONUS: terror weapon

  • Japan?

  • Is a deal possible?


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Current Dilemmas

  • DPRK need for electricity, food, investment, and security

  • U.S. distaste for “propping up” Kim; but lack of attractive military options

  • Mutual dissatisfaction with Agreed Framework

    • DPRK’s view: no reactors, no security guarantees

    • U.S. view: weapons research ongoing, reactors risky


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Ship Terminal at KEDO Site


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Simulator Building at KEDO site


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Reactor Foundation at KEDO Site


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Current Policy Options

  • Pressure DPRK (join with allies/IAEA and force Kim to back down)

  • Appease Kim (buy him off using security guarantees and economic tools)

  • Deal with Kim (negotiate destruction of weapons programs, but provide aid for economy)—Combination


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Conclusion

  • Nuclear/missile threat is increasing over time (how to stop the clock?)

  • Using incentives while ensuring compliance

  • Longer-term requirement: halting “demand” for weapons within North Korea

  • New framework for Korean Peninsula


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