The nuclear weapon problem of North Korea
North Korea’s admission that it was conducting a nuclear weapons program in violation of the Agreed Framework has revived an acute sense of nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula. The violation led to the difficult decision by the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) on 16 November 2002 to suspend the annual supply of 500,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil to North Korea. Pyongyang, for its part, maintains that it has not violated the Agreed Framework. In retaliation for KEDO’s decision to suspend the supply of heavy oil, North Korea removed monitoring devices at the Yongbyon reactor facilities on 22 December; moved 1,000 fresh fuel rods to the plant on 26 December; expelled inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 31 December; withdrew from the NPT on 10 January 2003; and reactivated the 5MWe reactor on 26 February. Other threats have included a vow to treat any sanctions by the UN Security Council as an act of war, the firing of a surface-to-sea missile on 24 February, and an incident on 3 March in which four North Korean fighter planes intercepted a US surveillance aircraft in international airspace.
The USA, meanwhile, has suggested the possibility of suspending the construction of light-water reactors (LWRs) and has deployed 24 long-range bombers to Guam to deter North Korea. With no signs that either side is about to relent, the USA and North Korea appear to be set on a collision course, a course that neither really wants. Against this background, three contending views have emerged with regard to how best to deal with the North Korean nuclear threat. The first is a hardliner rejectionist, ‘crime and punishment’ perspective. According to this view, since North Korea breached trust by abrogating the Agreed Framework, it should simply be punished. Under no circumstances should the United States and its allies reward North Korea for its bad behavior. In line with US President George W. Bush, Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton referred to North Korea as a ‘self-created and self-perpetuated tragedy’ that is deservedly considered part of the ‘Axis of Evil’. The application of the principle of reciprocity is very important to advocates of this view.
The immediate prescription is to nullify the Agreed Framework and to immediately suspend economic and humanitarian assistance to North Korea. Since North Korea is a bona fide ‘rogue state’, any consideration of it as a meaningful negotiation counterpart is also negated. Many countries agree on that North Korea should not have nuclear weapons, but each country have different opinions for the solution. North Korea wants U.S. to symbol the peace treaty that U.S. will not attack North Korea, also they want U.S. to make compensation for not selling their missiles to other countries(Scott 2006) With all these demand, North Korea is not giving up their nuclear weapons for their self-defense. On the other side, U.S. wants North Korea to give up nuclear weapons and exporting missiles. U.S. also wants North Korea to rejoin N.P.T. (Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty), but U.S. is not planning to make any compensation that North Korea is demanding. The collapse of cruel dictator Kim Chong-IL in way we can avoid ? tragedy in Korean peninsula. (Joseph 2005)
This North Korean nuclear issue is very complicated, because this is not just problem between U.S. and North Korea. Many countries near North Korea are deeply related such as South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia. U.S. can not make the same move that they did to Iraq to solve this matter because of these countries. (Nicholas 2004) China will not let U.S. to make military action on their back yard, and ? lot of South Korean is afraid of the second Korean War because they know how many people will die if there is another war in Korean peninsula. (Victor 2002) The another reason that makes U.S. to hesitate attacking North Korea to change government which they really want to change as they did in Iraq is, North Korea does not have natural resources as Iraq did, and this means U.S. will not make enough profit for their victory.
Even though there are ? lot of obstacles like these for attacking North Korea, U.S. is not dropping the chance of attacking North Korea, because it’s the only way to make North Korea to listen what U.S. wants them to do. (Scott 2006) Right now, U.S. is trying to prevent North Korea to export their missiles and nuclear products to U.S.’s enemy nations such as Iran. Japan is also checking every single ship came from North Korea in order to prevent illegal exporting of North Korea. Outcome of these pressures for North Korea will give U.S. enough reason to attack North Korea which will brings great tragedy in Korean peninsula. (James and Jason 2003) However U.S. to do what North Korea want U.S. to do, because there is high possibility that North Korea will just take what they want and not keep the promises that they made for their demands which they have been doing past 50 years. Although it seemed like North Korea has just become ? hotspot recently, the possibility of North Korea trying to acquire nuclear weapons can be dated back to 1987, when U.S. analysts became apprehensive that North Korea was building ? huge ability to split plutonium at the Yongbyon Nuclear Center. (Victor 2002)
However, the evidence acquired at that time was not enough to suggest the true purpose of the facility. North Korea lastly bringing into force its defend agreement in April 1992, as needed under the NPT, which it had signed in 1985. Keeping North Korea from realizing that it can acquire nuclear weapons using little efforts became ? U.S. priority at that time. (Randall 2004) Eventually, this objective justified the 1994 Agreed frame between the United States and North Korea that achieved ? postponement of activities at North Korea’s aboriginal gas-graphite reactors and connected facilities in swap for current light-water reactors. When North Korea admitted in 2002 that it was developing uranium enrichment technology for nuclear weapons, it violated the treaties it has signed and tilted the world’s balance in non-proliferation at the same time. (Scott 2006)
Arguing from the perspective of the game theory, ? decision of an actor varies by what it perceives, or foresees an action or decision coming from another actor. Game theory will be used to analyze ? situation when an actor cannot choose the best choice without depending on the outcome produced by another actor. (Randall 2004) When applying this theory to the North Korea issue, North Korea may have perceived that its economic aid and special trade agreements with its neighbors and the West cannot be secured unless it has some kind of deterrence. Not Suring whether other nations have benign intentions or not in dealing with them, North Korea seeks for the safeguards, and in this situation, that is the nuclear weapons. In other words, nuclear weapons serve their need to mitigate the security threat they see. (Joseph 2005) Arguing from the cost-benefit analysis, in other words, the maximum gain standpoint, the decision-maker has to compare costs and benefits in every aspect from the alternatives. He has to choose the alternative of which the benefits outweigh the costs the most when comparing to other alternatives. (Nicholas 2004) Actually, this analysis partly relies on the leader’s predictions and expectations. Therefore, if President Kim Jong IL predicts that the nuclear-proliferation’s benefits will outweigh its costs in terms of serving his security goal better than other alternatives, he will definitely go for reactivation. Mr. Kim may believe that it is more worthwhile to break the NPT safeguards and frameworks agreed between them and the United States than to risk his political leverage and the nation’s security. (Randall 2004)
Nuclear proliferation may be ? right answer to maintain peace and stability at ? certain period, but never be ? sustainable way to achieve that goal in ? long run. (Kyung 2004) Even though it provides deterrence, it could eventually lead to the arm race and security dilemma. That means all the current actors involved: the US, South Korea, Japan, and China could feel the threat posing to them and begin to accumulate nuclear weapons in response. Starting from its neighbors, in no time other nations in the region would like to secure their countries by seeking to acquire nuclear weapons as well. (Scott 2006) Furthermore, the arm race could go out of control, leaving the world in endless security dilemma meaning the perpetual doubt, fear and weapons competition. (James and Jason 2003) In the international law context, the treaties and agreements, especially the ones trying to control weapons and maintain peace, deserve high respect. Claiming it has peaceful purpose, North Korea needs to show its true intention by abiding by the rule of law. This is the first step it should take in order to refine more global-oriented policy. (James and Jason 2003) Its admitting of nuclear program should be viewed as its tendency, if not readiness, to adopt diplomatic means and negotiations. Thus far North Korea has first used the mediation by extortion’; it yet shows that it does not wish for to resort to war as ? first respond or to initiate an attack on its neighbors to attain its objective. Actors involved with this issue needs to resolve the problem at the root cause by making North Korea feel protected enough to negotiate and come back to the agreement. (Victor 2002)
Unfortunately China does not want to change North Korean government to restrains U.S, because U.S. is much bigger opponent than North Korea to China. If U.S. gives up the power in South Korea and persuade China to help fallen of North Korean government, then it will be the most peaceful way to solve this problem. (Nicholas 2004) Only U.S can persuade China to lead the fallen of North Korean government, because U.S will be the only one who can offer big enough candy to China to do this. The fallen of North Korean government will brings freedom to 25 millions of people in North Korea. (Joseph 2005) If U.S. government can bring this freedom to people in North Korea without their physical force then this will give lots of popularity to current government in U.S. After the fallen of North Korean government both China and U.S. support South Korean government to unite North Korea and let Korea to independent themselves by giving up the power in Korean peninsula, it will be fair enough solution for all the countries who is related. (Scott 2006)
A resolution of this conflict is conceivable only when North Korea voluntarily dismantles all of its nuclear programs. Otherwise, more punitive actions, such as sanctions and even military action should be undertaken. Meanwhile, North Korea should be held accountable for its biological and chemical weapons, missiles, conventional forces, and even human rights abuses in a comprehensive manner. (Victor 2002) If the country fails to accommodate these demands, it should be contained and rejected in a resolute manner. The second view is a soft-line accommodative perspective. This view is held by those in South Korea who favor engagement with North Korea. Its proponents are somewhat skeptical of the US claim that North Korea has developed viable nuclear weapons programs in violation of the Agreed Framework. (Victor 2002) Furthermore, they believe that even if the North has violated the agreement, opting for immediate sanctions and military action is too risky. The best solution in coping with the North Korean nuclear quagmire, according to the soft-liners, is to induce North Korea to cooperate voluntarily in the areas of inspection, verification, and dismantling. Adoption of this approach would require separation of the nuclear issue from other functional issues.
While the nuclear issue should be dealt with in a tough manner, inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation as well as normalization talks between Japan and North Korea should continue. The ‘good cop–bad cop’ approach is the best way of averting a major nuclear crisis, while gradually resolving the nuclear problem through comprehensive, structural changes. The third view is centered on a negotiated settlement through use of both ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’, or incentives and disincentives (Sigal, 2002). Proponents of the negotiated settlement argue that neither hard-line rejection nor soft-line accommodation can resolve the North Korean nuclear quagmire. Whereas the former can risk major catastrophe on the Korean peninsula, the latter can further spoil the North, perpetuating its tendency to resort to military threats. An effective negotiation style that combines both carrots and sticks may be the only plausible option. The United States, for its part, should link its intent to negotiate with the North to the latter’s acceptance of full nuclear inspection, verification, and dismantling. Until North Korea accepts these terms, the provisions of the Agreed Framework (including the supply of heavy oil, inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation, and normalization talks between Japan and North Korea) should be suspended. How-ever, if North Korea shows a willingness to accept these terms, the United States could consider recognizing North Korea as a legitimate negotiation partner and suggest incentives or rewards for North Korea’s cooperative behavior. (Scott 2006)
Rewarding the North should be incremental, but always in tandem with its cooperative behavior at different stages of inspection, verification, and dismantling of nuclear programs. The bundling of nuclear weapons, bio-chemical weapons, conventional forces, and human rights issues into one package could impede an effective negotiation. (Scott 2006) Thus, focusing solely on the nuclear weapons issue in the beginning would be desirable for the sake of effectiveness. Resolution of the nuclear issue in turn can be expected to have a positive spillover effect on other issue areas. Neither sanctions and military actions nor appeasement through engagement can solve the North Korean problem. Methodical negotiation with a proper mix of carrot and stick is the most viable and desirable option in dealing with North Korea. Having said that, a negotiated-settlement approach is dependent on Pyongyang’s decision to ‘take the bait’ and respond positively to earn rewards. It should be pointed out that Pyongyang has yet to reciprocate Seoul’s goodwill approach. A clear message has to be conveyed that Pyongyang’s only chance of surviving in the long run is to take the carrots through behaving properly, that the world will no longer be bullied into rewarding its misbehavior. In the process, it might be useful for the United States to emphasize its willingness to engage in a dialogue should Pyong-yang show that it is willing to take this course. It should be remembered that a dialogue is not an end in itself, merely a means to an end.
The nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula is not based simply on unfound-ed and exaggerated fears. The outstanding issues are real, as is the likelihood of escalation of brinkmanship from both North Korea and the United States. To prevent the Korean peninsula from stumbling along a disastrous path to war, both sides ought to consider in earnest the negotiated-settlement approach of alternating threat and incentive. A nuclear North Korea is unthinkable. It would debilitate South Korea and trigger nuclear proliferation in the region, involving Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and of course China. The undoing of a nuclear North Korea may require military action, causing enormous collateral damage. Needless to say, neither prospect is desirable. (Scott 2006) A solution should be found between the twin principles of ‘no nuclear North Korea’ and ‘no military conflict’. Therefore, the sooner the negotiated settlement is given a chance, the better the prospect of avoiding the two worst consequences. North Korea may be resorting to its old brinkmanship antics without full cognizance of its implications for the US war against terrorism. (Nicholas 2004) In dealing with North Korea, the United States should step back, take a deep breath, and make sure that North Korea understands the seriousness of its challenge to global peace and security. Still, coercion alone may not work, while it risks a belligerent outcome. Benign neglect will also bring about a protracted stale-mate, with no progress or breakthrough achieved, while giving the North time for WMD development. ‘Hawk engagement’, a de facto brand name for the Bush policy on North Korea, is again not very feasible: it embodies only ‘hawk’ elements, without encompassing any authentic engagement (Cha, 2002b).
Without compromising the fundamental principle that ‘threats will not be rewarded’, the US government should explore multiple ways of engaging North Korea in a dialogue to set in motion the process of a negotiated settlement. South Korea, for its part, should hold firm to its commitment to strong deterrence, all the while leaving room for engagement. As the sunshine policy has not brought about the kind of result that had been hoped for, the imperative of close policy coordination between South Korea, the United States, and Japan cannot be emphasized too strongly. A well coordinated multilateral approach may at this juncture be the best way of dealing with the rather volatile North Korea. While dealing resolutely with North Korean provocations, the South Korean government should also provide assurances to the North of its commitment to the stipulations of the Geneva Agreement and the principles of the Basic Agreement. (Nicholas 2004)
North Korean reciprocity, of course, should be encouraged. At the same time, the South Korean government must not compromise principles for quick and temporary gains. The separation of politics and economics can only be tolerated when it adheres to the principle of deterrence and strong security. In addition, South Korea should pursue a more assertive and prudent diplomacy in persuading the North to comply with nuclear inspections, to suspend the development of missiles, and to revive and sustain inter Korean tension reduction and confidence-building. (Joseph 2005)
People in North Korea live as slave and they are not getting what they deserve as human being. Dictator Kim Chung-IL does not have qualification to be ? leader of one nation, because he is too busy to get fat himself only. Powerful country like U.S. and China to help these poor people in North Korea and bring them freedom that U.S. insists they did to Iraqi people. (Kyung 2004) If U.S. can do this peacefully then they are really doing their job as most powerful country in the world and also they will be free from ? lot of dangers they are facing right now. The Pyongyang regime is staunchly isolationist and insecure. A success-fully negotiated settlement can come about only if North Korea feels that the outside world is there to help the regime, not destroy it. To get help, Pyongyang has to become more proactive. A systematic and incremental approach is reasonable in that it calls for proportionate reciprocity, all the while providing a ‘face-saving’ recourse for the painfully proud Pyongyang regime. With international support for this most pragmatic and perhaps the only plausible solution to the North Korean problem, the United States can in fact be expected to deal with North Korea from a much stronger position. (Victor 2002)
James Laney and Jason Shaplen. (2003) “How to Deal with North Korea,” Foreign Affairs 82: 2, 21.
Joseph Kahn. (2005) “North Korea Says It Will Drop Nuclear Efforts for Aid Program,” The New York Times, 19 September 2005; Mark Magnier and Barbara Demick, “N. Korea Waives Nuclear Programs,” The Los Angeles Times, 19 September 2005.
Kyung-Ae Park. (2005) “North Korea in 2004: From Brisk Diplomacy to Impasse,” Asian Survey 45: 1, 15–18.
Nicholas Eberstadt. (2004) “The North Korean Nuclear Drama: Another “Twenty Years’ Crisis”?” East Asia: An International Quarterly 21: 2, 51.
Randall E. Newnham. (2004) “Nukes for Sale Cheap? Purchasing Peace with North Korea,” International Studies Perspectives 5, 164–178.
Scott D. Sagan. (2006) “Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons,” International Security 21: 3, 54–86.
Victor D. Cha. (2002) “North Korea’s Weapons of Mass Destruction: Badges, Shields, or Swords,” Political Science Quarterly 117: 2, 209–230.
Sigal, Leon V. (2002) ‘North Korea Is No Iraq: Pyongyang’s Negotiating Strategy’, Arms Control Today 32(10).
Cha, Victor D., 2002b. ‘Korea’s Place in the Axis’, Foreign Affairs 81(3): 79–92.