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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

The North Korean Nuclear/Missile Crisis

Dr. Clay Moltz

Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Monterey Institute of International Studies

October 2003

current crisis
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?
  • 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
history of the north korean nuclear program
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
south korean nuclear program
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
dprk decision making 1970s
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)
nuclear expansion in 1980s
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

dprk missile program
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
international nuclear issues early 1990s
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
agreed framework and kedo
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)
emerging missile concerns late 1990s
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

Taepodong I Test

(August 1998)

other north korean wmd programs
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
progress and problems pre 2000
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
u s dprk relations today
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
how far is dprk from a bomb
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?
how far is the dprk from an icbm
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?
current dilemmas
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
current policy options
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
  • 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