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평화군축센터    한반도 평화를 위해 비핵군축운동을 합니다

  • English
  • 2006.12.14
  • 266
The Six Party Talks are to resume on December 18 in Beijing. Given that these talks have been stalled for the last 13 months, it is no wonder that everyone has immense expectations and hope for its success. This is particularly so in light of the recent escalated tensions between North Korea and the U.S. since the 9.19 joint statement in 2005 -- the tensions have been increased by U.S.-imposed sanctions on the North, a series of missile launches and a nuclear weapons test by North Korea, and the passing of the U.N. Security Council resolution 1718.

We, Korean NGOs, welcome the resumption of the Six Party Talks, and hope that the coming Talks will be a cornerstone for the peaceful solution to the current nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsular. Here follows a list of suggestions from Korean NGOs regarding the recommenced Six Party Talks.

1. We urge that the U.S. and North Korea make a political decision to resolve the conflict over the North Korean activities with Banco Delta Asia (BDA) as soon as possible.

The U.S. and North Korea should bring the conflict over BDA to an end, which has disrupted the 6 party talks. The solution of this conflict requests political decisions by the U.S. and North Korea. The U.S. should complete, as early as possible, its investigation of the bank account of the North Korean in BDA. In the event that the U.S. provides clear evidence of North Korean illicit activities, the North should promise that these illegal activities will not recur, and the U.S. in return should lift the restrictions on BDA. The BDA issue should not deter the progress of the Six Party Talks. If the U.S. intends to investigate North Korea’s illegal transactions in the future, the investigation should be discussed through a separate consultation meeting, whose creation has been suggested by North Korea.

2. The Bush administration should abandon its policies, targeting at North Korea’s isolation and the collapse of its regime.

North Korea’s nuclear test in October 2006 demonstrates the total failure of the Bush administration’s policies on the nuclear non-Proliferation and approaches to the issue of North Korea. Because the Bush Administration adhered to sanctions and other coercive measures with the intentions for the isolation of North Korea and its regime change, the situation has aggravated even after a serious of 6 party talks and meetings among the related countries. The Bush administration should take a responsibility for this. We believe that alternative and more practical approaches would have brought about a rigorous investigation of the North’s nuclear development and also improved the relationship among the multiple parties involved.

There are double standards at the center of the U.S.’s nuclear policy. It is an inconsistent and incoherent policy in which the U.S. justifies its own nuclear development and agrees with the possession of nuclear weapons by its strategic allies, whereas it seeks to heavily regulate nuclear possession of countries that are not its allies. These double standards have dampened both worldwide efforts for nuclear non-proliferation as well as North Korea’s dismantling of its nuclear weapons program. Several U.S. politicians, policymakers, and the vast majority of Korean civil society concurs that such double standards of the Bush administration’s policies have had the negative consequence of inducing North Korea to increase its nuclear weapons rather than dismantling them.

It might be noted here that the U.S. has recently expressed its willingness to participate in bilateral talks with North Korea, and to comply with agreements reached in the 9/19 Joint Statement. These agreements include the declaration of the end of the Korean War, security guarantees to North Korea, normalization of relations among the involved states, and energy assistance to North Korea in exchange of North Korea’s dismantling of its nuclear program. However, if the U.S. wants to accomplish these goals, it should not stipulate North Korea’s nuclear dismantling as a precondition. Rather, it should make it clear that it will compensate with a comprehensive package deal, and should not maintain or reinforce sanctions on North Korea. More fundamentally, the U.S. should understand that threats and sanctions cannot induce North Korea’s abandonment of its nuclear ambitions, and, therefore, it should instead turn toward strategies such as dialogue and persuasion – which have a far greater chance of success in the current context.

3. North Korea should stop its activities producing nuclear weapon, and should provide concrete plans as to how it is going to dismantle its nuclear program.

The nuclear test by North Korea in October 2006 is certainly a reckless military measure. This is an abandonment of the 1992 joint declaration for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular, and goes against international efforts to deter the proliferation of nuclear weapons. North Korea should realize that with its military responses, such as nuclear tests, it cannot secure international support and understanding. More fundamentally, nuclear tests aimed at the development of nuclear weapons, even if they are conducted for the purpose of political bargaining, cannot be justified given that these weapons are lethal to the human race.

More than anything else, North Korea should stop its nuclear activities immediately. This will not only demonstrate to the world the North’s willingness to accomplish the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular, but also offer an opportunity for North Korea to take the lead in the Six Party Talks. Secondly, North Korea should provide concrete plans as to what ways, and through what mediators, it is going to dismantle its nuclear program, while demanding that the U.S. should fulfill corresponding responsibilities agreed to in the Joint Statement.

4. Each of the participating states, including the U.S., should simultaneously implement the agreements reached in the 9/19 Joint Statement -- “verifiable dismantling of North Korean nuclear weapons vs. security guarantees to North Korea, normalization of relations among relevant states, and energy assistance to North Korea’”

Instead of presenting exacting conditions that neither state can accept, the U.S. and North Korea should seek to negotiate each other’s demands, and both should implement these demands in a simultaneous manner. The solution of the crisis that has resulted from increased U.S. sanctions against North Korea and the North’s nuclear tests lies in going back to the 9/19 Statement and reconfirming the agreements made in it. The participating states should make it officially clear that they still agree that in exchange of North Korea’s abandonment of all nuclear weapons and the existing nuclear program, it can secure such compensations as security guarantees, normalization of relations with the U.S. and Japan, and energy assistance from the participating states. No state should claim that it will follow through in its commitments if and only if the other state implements their commitments. Instead, the implementation of the consensus of the 9/19 Statement should be conducted in line with the principle of “Action for Action” agreed in the 9/19 Statement. In addition, the U.S. and Japan should not introduce an agenda whose scope is beyond the Six Party Talks, or an agenda that only involves bilateral discussions between either North Korea and the U.S. or North Korea and Japan. These agendas will sidetrack the focus of the Six Party Talks.

5. The South Korean government should resume food and fertilizer aid to North Korea right away, and actively seek to recommence dialogue with North Korea.

To be realistic, it will be hard to reach a consensus over the critical agendas currently at issue due to the mutual mistrust between North Korea and the U.S., despite the resumption of the Six Party Talks following many turns and twists. This is why this moment requires patience and efforts by the South Korean government and civil society to continue dialogue with North Korea. The present time of the resumed Six Party Talks is a critical opportunity for South Korea to improve its relation with North Korea, and in dosing so, establish a basis for peaceful settlement of the impending nuclear crisis in the Korean Peninsular. It is however unfortunate that the South Korean government has discontinued its food assistance to North Korean residents who have been living on the extreme edge of subsistence, and has imposed high levels of sanctions. It is hard to believe that the South Korean government has not made any significant efforts to recommence dialogue with North Korea, particularly because even the U.S. government, which previously took the lead in adoption of UN Security Council’s resolution for the sanction to North Korea, has now started to look for solutions through negotiations with North Korea, while China has also sought to act as mediators in the situation, instead of being politically uncompromising.

The South Korean government should resume its food and fertilizer aid to North Korea right away, and recommence the stalled dialogue with North Korea as early as possible. North Korea should also resume the reunion of separated families (of North and South Korea, separated due to, and since, the Korean War) for humanitarian purposes. Food and fertilizer aid and the reunion of separated families are not only humanitarian concerns, but also essential for North Korean residents’ livelihood. The dialogue between North and South Korea that will be resumed through food and fertilizer aid should lead to discussions between these two countries over the resolution of the nuclear crisis in the Korean Peninsular and a new way of cooperation between these two countries.

6. The participating states in the Six Party Talks should embark on a discussion to secure peace and stability in the Korean Peninsular and security cooperation between relevant states in Northeast Asia. The U.S. nuclear umbrella over South Korea should be removed in order to achieve a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular. In order to reduce the military confrontations between North and South Korea, arms reduction talks should also be started.

Resolving the conflict between North Korea and the U.S. over nuclear development is not easy. However, even if the nuclear crisis is resolved, it does not guarantee peace in the Korean Peninsular because military confrontations between North and South Korea will continue. Therefore, it is necessary to start to “negotiate a permanent peace regime at an appropriate separate forum” as was agreed in the 9/19 Statement, and discuss security cooperation between participating states in Northeast Asia.

In line with the denuclearization, arms reduction should be discussed between North and South Korea in order to eliminate the military confrontations between these two states. It is contradictory to demand the dismantling of nuclear programs in North Korea while South Korea has requested the U.S. to reinforce its nuclear umbrella over it ever since the tests conducted by the North. This contradiction will also increase the military unevenness between the North and the South, which will make it difficult for North Korea to abandon its nuclear programs. The South Korean government and civil society should abide by the policy of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular, and should call for the withdrawal of the U.S. nuclear umbrella. In addition, South Korea should realize that excessive military expenditure and the heavy dependence on military alliances, which has been justified due to the military threat from North Korea, have triggered military confrontations in Korean Peninsular by exasperating North Korea instead of providing security. Therefore, North and South Korea should initiate discussions on military cooperation and arms reductions on both sides as soon as possible in order to reduce mutual confrontations and threats.

Dec. 14, 2006

Center for Peace and Disarmament
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