Why do North Koreans multiply
The North Korean Nuclear Conflict: A Chronology
Hanns Günther Hilpert
The North Korean Nuclear Conflict: A Chronology
Status: December 1st, 2008
(Co-author Tilman Weber)
On December 2nd, 2008, South Korea responded to the closure of the border and the restriction of the number of South Korean workers in Kaesong by North Korea with an increase in its military presence at the border and night air force exercises. The South Korean Ministry of Defense accuses North Korea of breaking every existing treaty. At the same time, however, South Korean sources signal a willingness to talk at all levels. North Korea is using soldiers to collect the dissident leaflets that South Korean human rights organizations have ballooned across the border and increasing penalties for citizens who pick up and keep these materials.
On December 4th, 2008, the Committee on Weapons of Mass Destruction in the US Congress advised US President-elect Barack Obama not to rush to exclude violence as a means of solving the Korean problem with the aim of preventing the uncontrolled transfer of nuclear weapons technology to third countries, unless the outcome of the negotiations can be ruled out be achieved.
The focus of the last round of six-party talks this year in Beijing, which will take place on December 8th, 2008 and will also be the last round in which the US administration under President George W. Bush will participate, is the search for one solution of the question of verification of North Korean information by taking samples from central systems, which is acceptable to all parties. The US special envoy Christopher Hill is therefore trying to find possible compromises in advance in talks with North and South Korean and Japanese interlocutors. In the run-up to the talks, North Korea announced that it would ignore Japan because, according to North Korean opinion, Japan was neither qualified nor entitled to participate. On December 13, 2008, the talks ended with no results because North Korea was not prepared to allow samples to be taken in Yong Byon to check its information about the national nuclear weapons program. In response to the failed talks, the US has announced that it will reconsider its aid deliveries to North Korea.
In a December report on US security (Joint Operating Environment Report 2008), North Korea is listed as a nuclear power in Asia. The US government later called this listing by mistake and withdrew it.
François-Xavier Roux, a French neurologist, stated on December 11th, 2008 that he had treated Kim Jong-Il after a heart attack. According to the doctor, the North Korean ruler is on the mend. Roux later retracts his testimony, claiming instead that he was at a meeting with other neurologists in Pyongyang. The rumors about Kim Jong-Il's health are defused when US and South Korean intelligence agencies unanimously judge that the dictator may in fact have attended the various events that North Korean media reports and various photographs suggest he attended since his armored private train was in the corresponding regions.
On December 17, 2008, it was announced that North Korea had closed its border with China as early as October in order to make it more difficult for its citizens to escape. At the same time, China has also increased its surveillance at the border and increased its military presence. It is also reported that North Korea has stated in a secret additional protocol to the disarmament negotiations that it does not plan or support the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology or relevant expertise, either now or in the future. A possible proliferation of nuclear weapons technology to third countries is the main fear of the USA.
On December 18, 2008, the USA announced that the other five participants in the six-party talks, except North Korea, had agreed after the failure of the negotiations to suspend aid deliveries to North Korea until further notice. North Korea had been promised a million tons of crude oil, of which 600,000 tons had already been delivered. South Korea confirms that it has also stopped its aid deliveries, while Russia and China contradict American statements. Japan had stopped the promised aid deliveries earlier and made it dependent on whether the fate of the Japanese kidnapped by North Korea would be clarified. US Admiral Timothy Keating, member of the command staff of the US Forces in the Pacific, admits that North Korea has long-range missiles that could reach the US, Hawaii and US areas in the Pacific.
On December 20, 2008, a group of refugees from North Korea stated that they had again about 1.5 million balloons with information material critical of the regime from the island of Baekryeong over the border to North Korea.
On December 22nd, 2008, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice once again underlined the need to resolve the issue of North Korea's nuclear disarmament within the framework of the six-party talks. She explains that they have reached agreement on 80% of the contract and the only problem is that North Korea wants to prevent soil samples from being taken.
An IAEA report last month found that traces of uranium were found at the Al Kibar reactor, Syria. Rumor has it that the uranium material may have come from Yong Byon, thus providing evidence of North Korean proliferation activities. Siegfried Hecker, who inspected Yong Byon's plant in February 2008 on behalf of the IAEA, contradicts these rumors. He states that at the time of his visit he had found all uranium fuel rods in their proper place.
On December 23, 2008, North Korea repeated its threat to anticipate an attack by South Korean and American troops with a hard and fast first strike of the "Korean style". North Korea accuses the US of preparing an attack.
North Korea surprisingly renounces its usual polemics against the USA at the turn of the year and instead emphasizes its interest in a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons. North Korea intends to make greater efforts in the coming year to rebuild its ailing economy. These conciliatory tones contrast with the fact that at the same time the need for military armament is underlined. At the same time, an unnamed North Korean diplomat in Beijing stressed that North Korea would suspend its measures to disarm Yong Byon if Japan fails to meet its obligations to deliver oil and other relief supplies.
(Co-author Tilman Weber)
On November 2nd, 2008 it was announced that India had already prevented an aircraft belonging to the state North Korean airline from continuing to fly to Iran on August 7th, 2008, because nuclear weapons technology or technology for long-range missiles was suspected on board. On the same day, North Korea announced that it would continue to build deterrence potential against the threat posed by US nuclear weapons. The government of North Korea sees the establishment of a nuclear weapons staff ("Nuclear command") of the US Air Force as an increased threat. It became public that the US agreed in October, as part of the six-party talks, to move the question of verifying North Korean information on the status and dismantling of its nuclear weapons program to the annex to the declaration.
On November 4, 2008, North Korea claims that it had 80% completed launch pads for long-range missiles that extended beyond the US west coast.
Japan agrees to abandon its call for methods of verifying uranium enrichment programs and the possible proliferation of nuclear weapons technology, provided that this leads to general progress in the talks. In return, North Korea declares that it is ready to accept aid supplies from countries that are not participating in the six-party talks, but at the same time confirms its intention to exclude Japan from the talks.
In response to the US elections, North Korea announced on November 6th, 2008 that it was ready to negotiate with the new US administration under Barack Obama. Nonetheless, during a meeting in Moscow, the North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun informed his Russian counterpart that the inspectors would not be allowed to take samples in the nuclear facilities or to bring objects from there out of the country.
On November 11, 2008, North Korea temporarily reduced the dismantling of the nuclear research facilities by approx. 50% in response to the delay in the aid deliveries. On November 13, 2008, the North Korean regime emphasized its intention to limit the inspectors' capabilities and restricted their access to Yong Byon, while a US State Department spokesman said it had agreed that samples should be taken for research purposes and taken out of the country should.
A report by the Congressional Research Service, which will be announced on November 15, 2008, expresses the fear that North Korea may have continued or even intensified its proliferation efforts towards Iran and Hezbollah since it was removed from the list of terrorist-supporting states.
On November 16, 2008, the PRC released a report according to which the father of the incumbent North Korean head of state, Kim Jong-Il, Kim Jong-Sung, spoke to incumbent Chinese President Zhou Enlai in 1964 in favor of abolishing nuclear weapons. Kim Jong-Sung began to seek nuclear weapons shortly after this writing.
In order to alleviate the inter-Korean tensions, South Korea announced on November 19, 2008 a tougher crackdown on South Korean groups that are raising balloons with anti-communist slogans at the border. In the run-up, there had been massive threats and military gestures on the part of North Korea, as one saw a provocation in these balloons and even feared an attack by South Korean and American troops. In addition, North Korea has announced that it will refuse tourists and business people entry into the special zones.
On November 23, 2008 it was announced that China had invited the participants in the six-party talks to Beijing for an indefinite period from December 8, 2008 to discuss the question of how North Korea's information could be verified. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice emphasized on November 25, 2008 that this agreement had to be "robust", while North Korea claimed that such a project would contradict the agreements made so far. On the same day, South Korea and China decide to set up a hotline to prevent their armed forces from clashing in the Sea of China in the future and to expand their strategic cooperation.
(Co-author Tilman Weber)
On October 11th, 2008, the USA struck North Korea from the list of countries supporting terrorism after more than two decades and, together with Russia, China and South Korea, organized deliveries of aid supplies and oil to North Korea. In return, North Korea agrees to end its nuclear program in Yong Byon and some university research groups and to allow international inspectors back into the country. The agreement is recognized internationally as a step towards a nuclear-weapon-free Korean peninsula. South Korea will offer North Korea the resumption of bilateral talks and further economic cooperation on October 20, 2008. Japan, on the other hand, is opposed to America's move and refuses to deliver aid as long as the fate of the Japanese kidnapped by North Korea remains unclear.
In the first week of October, North Korea apparently tested two short-range missiles and plans to test a joint mass launch of up to 10 short-range missiles from Chodo. In addition, the launch pads for ICBMs in Musudan-ri are being expanded. There are also fears that North Korea owns or is working on manufacturing small nuclear warheads.
Due to a message from North Korea to its diplomats on October 22, 2008, in which important news was announced and the associated placing on high alert, rumors of Kim Jong-Il's heart attack increased. The North Korean head of state had not been seen on public occasions for more than two months.
On October 31, 2008, the Americans asked Australia, New Zealand and the EU whether they would be willing to provide the aid supplies, which Japan continues to refuse.
(Co-author Tilman Weber)
In order to increase the pressure on the USA to finally be removed from the list of countries supporting terrorism, North Korea announced at the beginning of September that it would interrupt the dismantling of the Yong Byon plant. It even begins to reconstruct the facility again and denies international observers access. According to experts, however, it would take a year for the reactor to be operational again. This step is rejected by the other members of the six-party talks. They are therefore intensifying their efforts to find an amicable solution.
At the same time, the tone of voice between the USA and North Korea is also intensifying due to gestures of military power. While American and South Korean troops are conducting joint military maneuvers, North Korea is testing short-range missiles and holding air force exercises on the border with China. Observers also confirm that North Korea has technically upgraded its launchers for ICBMs and express fears that North Korea may have up to four smaller nuclear warheads suitable for missiles.
Suspicions about the poor health of Kim Jong Ill cause negotiations to stall and doubts about the long-term stability of North Korea arise.
(Co-author Tilman Weber)
The talks about further nuclear disarmament in North Korea come to a standstill, for which North Korea and the USA blame each other. While China is calling on all those involved to continue the talks, Russia, Japan and South Korea are "concerned" with developments. On the occasion of a joint maneuver by American and South Korean troops as part of the Ulchi Freedom Guard on August 16, 2008, during which the command structures of South Korean armed forces are tested, North Korea threatens retaliation in the event of an attack.
North Korea, Pakistan and India plan to sign a nuclear disarmament treaty to stabilize the region.
The drama of the situation is increased as experts assume that North Korea has the necessary knowledge to operate plants for the production of weapons-grade plutonium and to improve it technically.
(Co-author Tilman Weber)
As early as July 3rd, 2008, North Korea - in preparation for the first six-party talks in nine months - submitted a list of its nuclear weapons and nuclear research programs, which for the first time also contained information on work with enriched uranium and possible proliferation in Syria. The records also show that North Korea has 38.5 kg of plutonium - enough to make up to five bombs. The documents are described as "complete" by the USA and South Korea. The US will provide $ 19.5 million in 2008 and $ 575 million from 2009 to 2013 for further disarmament measures. Within the United States, however, opposition to the plan to remove North Korea from the list of countries that support terrorism is growing.
On July 5th, 2008 it was announced that under the supervision of the Pakistani military and with the knowledge of Pakistani President Perez Musharraf, a p-1 centrifuge for use in uranium enrichment plants was delivered to North Korea and that Pakistani scientists may have passed information on to North Korea.
On July 12, 2008, North Korea agrees to shut down its main reactor by October and allow international controls. In return, the US, China and three other (not named) countries agree to supply oil. Japan refuses to participate, however, as the fate of the kidnapped Japanese is unclear. There is no progress for the remainder of the month on the question of a suitable method for verifying North Korean statements regarding its nuclear programs. However, North Korea offers a bilateral peace regime with the USA as a compromise solution.
(Co-author Tilman Weber)
A meeting between North Korean and Japanese ambassadors will take place in the Japanese embassy in Beijing on June 7th, 2008. The talks had been suspended nine months earlier. The Japanese continue to ask North Korea to clarify the fate of the Japanese civilians kidnapped by North Korea. In return, North Korea is demanding reparation payments from Japan for the occupation of the Korean peninsula.
As a result of these talks, Japan announced on June 13th, 2008 that it would relax travel restrictions between North Korea and Japan, allow certain North Korean ships to enter Japanese ports and re-allow charter flights, explains Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura.In return, North Korea undertakes to provide further information on the fate of the Japanese kidnapped by North Korea. Japan welcomes this agreement and expresses the hope that it will soon be able to bring the negotiations on North Korea's nuclear disarmament to an end.
On June 17th, 2008, the Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping will visit North Korea. He urges his hosts to continue the disarmament negotiations both in the context of bilateral negotiations and in the context of the six-party talks.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced on June 19, 2008 that North Korea would soon disclose further information about its nuclear research activities. In return, the US is ready to remove North Korea from the list of terror-supporting states. However, if the North Korean documentation is inadequate, the American response will be "appropriate," Rice said. She emphasizes the importance of the six-party talks from the US point of view. Talks by Japanese, South Korean and American negotiators in Tokyo are also planned for the evening.
06/24/08: The USA emphasizes that North Korea has until 06/26/08 to disclose information about its nuclear program. US chief negotiator Christopher Hill made it clear in advance that this report would not contain any information on nuclear weapons.
The North Koreans actually comply with this ultimatum on June 26th, 2008 and after a 15-month break in negotiations they submit a list of their nuclear weapons programs. As expected, however, there is a lack of information about uranium enrichment programs and the transfer of knowledge to Syria. North Korea agrees to a review of the information on the plutonium program by US experts.
The G8 foreign ministers welcome the move, but point out that there is a lot of catching up to do. The Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura also points out that the fate of the Japanese kidnapped by North Korea is a humanitarian and human rights problem for the entire community. South Korea criticizes the lack of a list of all nuclear weapons.
The cooling tower of the main reactor in Yong Byon was blown up by North Koreans on June 27, 2008 in the presence of various media representatives.
On June 29th, 2008, Condoleezza Rice pointed out that in North Korea's most recent list of its nuclear weapons activities there were still unanswered questions - in particular with regard to uranium enrichment and the transfer of technology to Syria. On June 30th, 2008 it is announced that North Korea intends to admit the production of up to 30 kg of plutonium. Together with stocks that have already been stored, this could add up to 44 kg of plutonium.
(Co-author Tilman Weber)
On May 9th, 2008 North Korea presented a report on its nuclear research activities in Yong Byon. Critics already criticize in advance that this report will probably only contain information about already known research programs from the past and thus no information about secret research programs for uranium enrichment or for passing on knowledge to Syria. In return for providing the information, North Korea had been given the prospect of extensive aid deliveries and the easing of sanctions. The US announces that it will examine the documents carefully.
Although the North Korean list of research programs for the production of nuclear weapons has not yet been fully translated and does not contain any information about uranium enrichment programs, Sung Kim, US government expert on Korean issues, already assessed the delivery of the documents from May 9, 2008 on May 13, 2008. 08 as an »important first step«. However, the report contains the operational and production results of the Yong Byon plant.
North Korea is testing three short-range missiles for sea battles in the Korean Bay on May 31, 2008.
(Co-author Teresa Schulze)
In a Congressional hearing, Pentagon Missile Defense Agency chief Henry Obering stated that North Korea continues to work on developing ICBMs with nuclear capabilities, Kyodo said on April 1.
The departure of the new President Lee Myung-bak from the North Korean policy of his predecessors, his demand for conditionality between North and South, has led to a noticeable deterioration in relations between Korea. Illustrative of the shift in sentiment on the North Korean side are: (1) verbal threats by North Korea in response to statements made by Chief of Staff Kim in late March; (2) North Korean missile tests on the west coast and flights by North Korean fighter planes near the demarcation line (Reuters 03/31/08) also at the end of March; (3) Suspension of all bilateral government talks and entry ban for South Korean officials on April 3 (AFP 04/03/08); (4) Cancellation of the planned visit of civil society groups from South Korea who had planned to plant trees in North Korea on April 24 (Arbor Day) (AFP 04/03/08); Warning to the South Korean Navy to invade the territorial waters of the DPRK (Yonhap 04/03/08).
According to NHK World on April 3, North Korea has sold rocket launchers to Burma (Myamnar) in violation of existing UN sanctions (against Burma).
The Buddhist aid organization Goods Friends reports on the precarious food supply in North Korea. The state food distribution would be suspended and from May 2008 the first deaths from hunger were to be expected.
Press releases (Chosun Ilbo 04/08/08 and 04/09/08; Reuters 04/08/08; Korean Herald 04/09/08) suggest that the chief negotiators of the USA and DPRK (Christopher Hill and Kim Kye-gwan) at their meeting in Singapore on April 8th . April could not achieve a breakthrough, but would have reached a provisional agreement, which the governments in Washington and Pyongyang would have to confirm.
The exact wording of the planned final declaration of the DPRK on its nuclear program and the "political compensation" to be paid by the USA in return remains controversial. The alleged transfer of nuclear technology (North Korea) to Syria by the USA is also likely to have been a controversial topic of negotiations.
The Korea Herald reports that the day after the negotiations in Singapore, the chief six-party negotiators from the US, South Korea, North Korea, Japan and China are in Beijing to hold bilateral talks on recent progress in negotiations on the missing list of the North Korean nuclear program hit.
Chosun Ilbo announced on April 14th that some members of the US government and members of the Congress rejected the agreement reached in Singapore as inadequate. The two parties had reached a secret agreement that the US would prepare a report on North Korean nuclear cooperation with Syria and the DPRK's suspected uranium enrichment program, and Pyongyang undertook to acknowledge US concerns on these two issues.
In the Joongang Ilbo, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak Pyöngyang calls on the lack of transparency of the Singapore results, to drop the strategy of bypassing South Korea and of direct exchange with the USA.
The Washington Post states that the US is ready to remove the DPRK from the list of states supporting terrorism and from the law on trade with enemy states. In return, the DPRK must acknowledge US concerns and evidence regarding nuclear cooperation with Syria and the uranium enrichment program, complete the decommissioning process of the Yongbyon nuclear power plant, and disclose information about its plutonium supply.
The Japanese press agency Kyodo reports that the DPRK does not feel it is obliged to provide information about any other nuclear facilities besides the one in Yongbyon, since the International Atomic Energy Agency was informed about this as early as the 1990s. If the DPRK succeeded in enforcing this position, the facilities, which according to the IAEA have been expanded for the processing, storage and testing of nuclear weapons, would not be mentioned in the new declaration.
Agence France-Presse addresses the objections of the ASEAN states to the US efforts to transform the six-party talks into a permanent security policy mechanism. This would counteract ASEAN's leadership role in East Asian regionalism.
According to Joongang Ilbo, US President Bush and Secretary of State Rice were very dissatisfied with the results of Singapore.
Joongang Ilbo also reported on April 16 that the former head of the North American Department of the State Department, Kim Sook, has been appointed as the new South Korean chief negotiator.
According to the Korea Times on April 21, Washington has requested Pyongyang to disclose the total amount of recycled plutonium and nuclear warheads. Members of the US government, accompanied by nuclear experts, will travel to Pyöngyang on April 22nd to discuss the further contents of the declaration to be made.
According to Reuters, the DPRK informed the US last December that it had processed a total of 30 kg of plutonium - 20 kg less than the US had expected. Of this, 18 kg were used for storage for nuclear development and around 6 kg for the underground nuclear weapons test in October 2006. The intended use of the remaining 6 kg remained unclear.
Reuters reported on April 23, citing the US State Department, that the DPRK will not be removed from the list of countries supporting terrorism until the publication of the latest annual report on global terrorism on April 30.
The Washington Post reported on April 24th that the Bush administration had video footage of a secret Syrian nuclear facility, clearly demonstrating the DPRK's nuclear cooperation with Syria. The filmed plant has strong similarities with the North Korean reactor in Yongbyon and also shows North Koreans.
On the same day, Reuters quoted the Syrian Ambassador to Great Britain, Sami al-Khiyami, who vehemently denied Washington's claims of nuclear cooperation with the DPRK.
Reuters reported on April 30th that, according to the CIA director, Michael Hayden, the Syrian nuclear reactor, which was destroyed by an Israeli air strike on September 6th, 2007, was nearing completion and had sufficient plutonium to build at least one year a nuclear weapon could have produced. This reactor was largely identical to the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon.
(Co-author Teresa Schulze)
The Associated Press reported on March 3 that 27,000 US soldiers, the aircraft carrier Nimitz and an unknown number of South Korean soldiers began their six-day joint military training exercise. In response to this, the DPRK leadership threatened to increase its nuclear deterrent potential. A spokesman for the North Korean State Department also emphasized that the exercises demonstrated that the US continued to adhere to its hostile policy of violent repression of the DPRK.
Yomiuri Shinbun on March 7 quoted US chief negotiator Christopher Hill as saying it was considering the idea of a joint document between Pyongyang and Washington to illustrate the differences over the current deadlock in the disarmament negotiations. This document, modeled on the Shanghai Communiqué, is being traded as a possible measure to overcome the deadlock.
Reuters also refers to a statement by Hill repeatedly calling on the DPRK to provide a full list of all nuclear programs by the end of March. If this does not succeed, there is a risk that the disarmament process will be dragged on.
On March 10, Korea Times informed about the changes in the North Korean policy of the ROK under the new Unification Minister Kim Ha-jung (former South Korean ambassador to the PRC). He assured that he would not combine the provision of humanitarian aid with the problem of prisoners of war and kidnapping victims. He further confirmed that he would continue the basic direction of the North Korean policy of his predecessors, but that the development of the disarmament negotiations will be given greater consideration in the approval and implementation of the cooperation projects with the DPRK.
Korea Herald stated on March 11th that the South Korean government would in all likelihood set up a new team for the disarmament negotiations with the DPRK. According to experts, this team will reflect the deepening of relations with Washington pushed by the new administration. The diplomat Kim Sook, who was formerly responsible for relations with the US within the State Department, is considered the most likely candidate for the position of South Korean chief negotiator.
Agence France-Presse reported on March 14th that talks between US chief negotiator Hill and North Korean negotiator Kim Gye-wan in Geneva did not result in a breakthrough in the stalled negotiations.
On March 27, Agence France-Presse cited a statement from US chief negotiator Hill, in which he stated that factions of military hardliners in Pyongyang had no interest in abandoning the nuclear program, although Kim Jong-Il supported the six-party negotiations would. Given the limited time remaining, Hill says it is questionable whether the three phases of disarmament negotiations can be completed by the end of the Bush administration.
The Associated Press reported on March 28 that the DPRK tested three short-range missiles as part of a military exercise the previous day. It goes on to say that the leadership in Pyongyang holds the US responsible for the current deadlock in the disarmament negotiations.
According to the South Korean daily Joongang Ilbo, at a joint meeting in Washington, the US foreign ministers and the ROK warned the leadership in Pyongyang that time was running out and that they would gradually lose their patience with the still missing list of North Korean nuclear programs.
Regarding the recent North Korean missile tests, Washington complains that they are not constructive and that Pyongyang should instead focus on nuclear disarmament. The US reiterated its demand for a complete, correct list of all nuclear weapons programs and proliferation activities.
According to Ria Novosti on March 28, Pyöngyang had warned Washington strongly against allegations that North Korea was running a uranium enrichment program and had passed nuclear technology on to Syria. These false accusations could have fatal consequences for the planned decommissioning of the nuclear facilities.
After South Korea's new chief of staff, Kim Tae-young, spoke in parliament of plans for pre-emptive strikes against North Korean nuclear weapons facilities if North Korea were to prepare for a nuclear strike, the KCNA news agency threatened to "turn everything into ashes" ("It should be kept in mind that once our preemptive attack is launched, everything will turn into ashes, not just a sea of flames. ").
Xinhua reports that Air China started direct flights from Beijing to Pyöngyang on March 31 and will in future offer three times a week.
(Co-author Teresa Schulze)
The Associated Press quoted South Korean chief negotiator Chun Yung-woo on February 1 as saying that the DPRK has so far fulfilled eight of the eleven points of the six-party disarmament agreement. However, Chun also emphasized that the complete shutdown of the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon was not expected until the end of March 2008.
Korea Time also refers to the statements made by the South Korean chief negotiator. Chun Yung-woo proposes that the program developed by the USA for nuclear disarmament in the Soviet Union should also be applied to the DPRK. Chun also suggests using the Yongbyon nuclear complex for peaceful purposes.
On February 5, Korea Herald discusses the application of the US Nunn-Lugar Program, which was passed in 1992 with the aim of supporting the nuclear disarmament of the former Soviet republics by providing capital, technology and personnel. To verify the broadcast of this program to North Korea, US Senate MPs plan to travel to the DPRK on February 12th. Above all, the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon are to be visited and discussions with the decision-makers in Pyöngyang about alternative work options for nuclear technicians are to be held.
Reuters informs that according to a report by DPRK missile program expert Daniel Pinkston, Soviet technology has made a huge contribution to missile development in the DPRK. At present, the DPRK can almost independently build missiles; However, the country is still dependent on foreign suppliers for technologically advanced components. In order to circumvent international trade restrictions, the DPRK has set up various front companies abroad to purchase missile components.
At 6.In February, the Washington Times broached the issue of the publication of a US intelligence report stating that in 2005 the DPRK threatened to supply nuclear weapons to international terrorists. The South Korean press agency Yonhap reports that the head of the US secret service, Michael McConnell, said in a hearing in the Senate that it was uncertain whether Pyongyang's leadership was actually ready for nuclear disarmament.
Agence France-Presse quotes the newly elected President of South Korea, Lee Myung-bak, who, after officially taking office on February 25, promises to raise the DRVK per capita income from $ 914 in 2004 to $ 3,000 within ten Years if Pyöngyang suspends its nuclear programs.
On February 7th, Agence France-Presse discusses the planned delivery of heating oil from the USA to the DPRK. The US chief negotiator Christopher Hill justified in a hearing in Congress that with the help of this second delivery the willingness of the USA to fulfill its obligations would become clear and thus a contribution could be made to overcoming the deadlocked negotiations. According to Hill, Pyongyang has reduced the number of shifts to remove the fuel rods in Yongbyon from three to one.
Reuters reports that the US government refuses to formally link the nuclear disarmament negotiations with the problem of the Japanese kidnapping victims. However, Japan is not left in the dark about the negotiations with Pyongyang.
According to the RIA Novosti, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Alexander Losyukov, has criticized the US's rigid stance. The list of North Korean nuclear programs that was presented to Washington alone last November was not passed on to the other participants in the six-party talks.
Korea Times reported on February 13th that US President George Bush approved the lifting of some sanctions imposed on the DPRK under a law restricting trafficking in human beings last October. This step is intended to signal to Pyöngyang that Washington is ready for more exchanges and to improve relations with the DPRK.
Chosun Ilbo announced on February 14th that Kim Jong-il would attend the New York Philharmonic concert in Pyöngyang on February 26th. It also said that US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will attend the inauguration of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on February 25th.
The South Korean newspaper Joongang Ilbo quoted US chief negotiator, Christopher Hill, on February 21, who, after talks with the North Korean envoy for the six-party talks, Kim Gye-gwan, announced at the DPRK embassy in Beijing that Pyönygang had announced that despite the US's ongoing suspicions have repeatedly denied running a secret uranium enrichment program. "Although they have the appropriate technology, they asserted not to use it for uranium enrichment," continues Hill.
Korea Times reports that South Korean civic groups have heavily criticized the appointment of Professor Nam Joo-hong as Minister of Unification. The reason for the criticism is the book »There is no reunification ?, published by him in 2006, in which he claims that the joint statement of June 15, 2000 between the then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and the leader of the DPRK, Kim Jong-il, only served the interests of the DPRK (collapse of the ROK).
The Associated Press confirmed on February 25 that foreign media and academics had been granted access to the Yongbyon nuclear facilities for the first time.
According to information from the South Korean press agency Yonhap on February 26, the US government plans to deliver an additional 54,000 tons of heating oil to the DPRK in early March under the six-party agreement. So far, the DPRK has received a total of 146,000 tons of heating oil, 46,000 tons from the USA and 50,000 tons each from the ROK and the PR China.
While the Associated Press stated on February 27 that the USA and the DPRK had found a common (musical) basis in the concert by the New York Philharmonic, the continued existence of which now depends on Pyongyang's readiness for nuclear armament, White House spokeswoman Dana cushions Perino, the expectations: »At the end of the day we see that this was a concert and not a diplomatic coup.
Reuters reported on Feb. 28 that US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice did not see the delays in completing the second phase as worrying. However, this would have to be fully concluded so that the third phase of negotiations can begin with increased confidence.
According to the Korea Herald on February 29, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice announced at a press conference in Japan that Washington was ready to lift political sanctions against the DPRK.
(Co-author Teresa Schulze)
The Korea Times reported on January 2 that the US government intends to hold on to disarmament negotiations with the DPRP, even though the DPRP failed to meet the agreed deadline to disclose the requested information. Much more important than timely submission is the completeness of the information, according to a spokesman for the US State Department.
According to Agence France-Presse, once the deadline has expired, the White House is rather skeptical about the DPRK's willingness to disclose its nuclear programs.
In the VRCH, according to the press agency Reuters, the failure to submit the required information in accordance with the requirements is seen as less of a problem. Greater progress can be seen in some areas and less in others, according to a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
The Associated Press reported on January 4th that US chief negotiator Christopher Hill is already on his way to Pyongyang to further pressure the demand for disclosure of all nuclear programs.
The January 7th Associated Press cited a statement from the North Korean State Department which said the US government had had a list of nuclear programs since November 2007. However, the USA and the other states participating in the six-party talks have so far only inadequately met their obligations with regard to the delivery of aid supplies. Therefore, the DPRK would have decided to slow down the decommissioning process of the nuclear facilities. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack denied Pyongyang's testimony, pointing out that the allegations showed how the DPRK leadership was using the international media for its own interests.
According to the press agency Reuters, in which they refer to statements by US chief negotiator Christopher Hill, Pyönyang had offered a list of the requested information. However, since this was neither correct nor complete, the DPRK was asked to improve it. It is therefore advisable to meet non-compliance with the submission deadline with patience and perseverance.
Yonhap reported on January 7th that the newly elected South Korean President, Lee Myung-bak, had asked the Unification Ministry to slow down intergovernmental economic cooperation with the DPRK and to adjust the pace of the six-party talks. At the same time, however, it was emphasized that humanitarian projects should be continued regardless of the status of the disarmament negotiations.
The South Korean newspaper Joongang Ilbo reported on January 8th about the planned reorganization of North Korea policy and the associated dissolution of the reunification ministry, which is being planned by the government team of the newly elected president, Lee Myung-bak. Officials from the ministry threatened with closure asserted, however, that despite the little progress that has been made in the past five years, the continuation of the ministry is essential for the peaceful reunification of the two states.
Agence France-Presse reported on January 9th on the meeting between US chief negotiator, Christopher Hill, and the South Korean chief negotiator, Chun Yung-Woo in Soul, at which both parties agreed to resume the six-party talks as soon as possible. Following his visit to South Korea, Hill will continue to travel to Russia and the PRC.
According to the New York Times, Russia regrets the slow progress of the six-party negotiations. In order not to slow down diplomatic efforts any further, Russia will honor its commitments by supplying the DPRK with heating oil this month.
The Russian press agency RIA Novosti reported on January 15 that, in accordance with the agreement of the six-party talks on April 20-21, Russia would January will deliver 50,000 tons of heating oil to the DPRK. Russia has also offered the DPRK additional energy supplies and the option to write off Soviet debts if Pyöngyang fulfills its nuclear disarmament commitment.
Joongang Ilbo reported on January 18 that a number of politicians, civil society groups and North Korea experts criticized the decision of the newly elected President Lee Myung-bak to dissolve the Ministry of Unification and to assign relations with the DPRK to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Associated Press quoted the North Korean daily Minju Joson on January 22 as condemning the US for failing to keep its pledge to remove the DPRK from its list of terrorist supporters by December 31, 2007. Under these circumstances, Pyongyang could not fulfill his duty either.
Interfax confirmed on January 24th that Russia had fulfilled its obligation and delivered heating oil to the DPRK.
South Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-soon announced in the Korea Times on January 28 that there would be no movement in the six-party talks for the time being. In order to overcome the problem of the failure to disclose the North Korean respiratory programs, all parties involved have been contacted. However, the talks have so far been unsuccessful.
Agence France-Presse reported on January 31 that the North Korean head of state, Kim Jong-il, informed a Chinese delegation during an official reception that his country would not change his country's stance on the stalled disarmament negotiations.
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