What does the Initial Phase Agreement regulate and where does it fail?

Statement by Hans-Joachim Schmidt on the proceeding of the Six-party Talks

The second agreement of the Six-party Talks primarily aims at the first phase of the implementation of the Joint Statement to “shut down” the most dangerous nuclear program for global non-proliferation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK): the plutonium program. The shut down should be monitored and verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The ongoing plutonium program enables the leadership of the DPRK to reprocess enough Plutonium for one nuclear explosive device per year. It is estimated that North Korea possesses enough Plutonium for at least 6 to 8 nuclear explosives. After the initial phase of a freeze, a second phase should immediately follow in order to begin with the disablement of the 5 MW Yongbyon reactor and the reprocessing facility. But for the second phase, only some insufficient rules exist. Nevertheless, the price has been determined for both phases with one million tons of heavy fuel oil, and the U.S. is willing to suspend its unilateral financial sanctions of the Chinese Banco Delta Asia in Macao within 30 days.

But the following problems remain solved after this agreement:

1.the final abandonment of all nuclear facilities,
2.the abandonment of the existing nuclear explosives,
3.the treatment and the final disposal of weapons grade plutonium,
4.the shut down of the nuclear test area and
5.the status and the abandonment of the assumed uranium enrichment program.

The planned information exchange on the nuclear programs and nuclear facilities of the DPRK are a necessary basis to discuss and decide about the following measures of the disablement phase. The immediate establishment of the five working groups is esential for getting the implementation done in time during the first phase. The two bilateral working groups that are supposed to normalise the relationship between the U.S. and DPRK as well as between Japan and DPRK, they might be able to create important additional incentives for a successful nuclear disarmament of North Korea.

At PRIF, Dr Schmidt conducts research on conventional arms control and military confidence building in Europe and Korea. Schmidt’s earlier on Six-party talks can be found at this web archive (in German only).

Journalists can contact Dr. Hans-Joachim Schmidt
by phone: + 49 (0) 69 / 95 91 04 - 33
or by e-mail: schmidth @hsfk .de