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ABSTRACTS 245 Arms Control, Negotiations and the Korean Peninsula Ronald F. Lehman II For most of the world, the Cold War is over. The empire that was the Soviet Union has collapsed with most of the resulting fifteen independent republics seeking ties to the West and exploring paths to its values-democracy, free markets, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. World security has been enhanced further by the strengthening of human rights, international trade, and the rule of law. The Korean Peninsula is not barred from the opportunities pre- sented in this new era, nor free from the necessity to respond to its challenges. Until recent months, North Korea was perhaps the one country least likely to respond positively to these new possibilities. Two agreements between North and South Korea concluded in December 1991 on reconciliation and cooperation, and on establish- ment of a denuclearized peninsula, however, are significant. The signature by North Korea on January 30, 1992, of a nuclear safe- guards agreement with the IAEA and its ratification of that agreement on April 10 also represents a step in the right direction. Concluding agreements, however, is only a first step; they must also be im- plemented fully both in letter and in spirit. The Korean peninsula’s participation in a new security environment will be guaranteed only through actual implementation of effective and credible inspections in North Korea under both the bilateral inspection regime and the IAEA agreement. Early implementation of bilateral inspections, under the non- nuclear agreement, is important to complement and strengthen IAEA inspections. The bilateral inspection regime should provide additional confidence that North Korea is not continuing to pursue a nuclear weapons program to conclusion. 246 THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEFENSE ANALYSIS Today’s picture of the Korean peninsula is a challenging one. Much work has been done that could improve the chances for stability and security in this historically tense region. Agreements reached by the North and South, coupled with numerous other multilateral and bilateral efforts, have paved the way for improved relations and a safer, more promising environment for the Koreas. Progress by the two Koreas on the issue of proliferation could provide an important precedent for South Asia and the Middle East and set the stage for a more secure and prosperous Korean peninsula with great regional and global influence. Failure could increase the dangers feared by every nation. RONALD F. LEHMAN II 11 Arms Control, Negotiations and the Korean Peninsula Ronald F. Lehman II For most of the world, the Cold War is over. The empire that was the Soviet Union has collapsed with most of the resulting fifteen independent states seeking ties to the West and exploring paths to its values-democracy, free markets, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. The Warsaw Pact has been dissolved. Its former members, today no longer communist, have joined with its former Cold War adversaries to form a North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) to enhance security and stability. A once-divided Germany is now a united Germany within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The reduction of nuclear weapons by the two great Cold War powers (one of which is now many states), to include the elimination of an entire class of weapons, has accelerated. Political transformation and the need for economic growth have spurred cooperation even in the face of considerable turmoil. Arms Control Movement The Korean peninsula has not been immune to these new trends. In the last decade, the Republic of Korea (ROK), an increasingly self-confident democracy, has made extraordinary economic ad- vances. Seoul’s diplomacy has built upon its political and economic success. Relations with the Russian Federation have been normal- ized, and interchange with China has grown. South Korea has become an influential participant in global political and economic 12 THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEFENSE ANALYSIS affairs. Pundits are already speculating about the major role a united Korea could play on the world scene. On the northern half of the Korean peninsula, however, the communist Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has only begun to exhibit to the outside world even small changes. For almost half a century, the Marxist dictatorship in Pyongyang has derived its “raison d’etre” from the cult of one individual, Kim II Sung-the same Kim II Sung whose invasion of the South was resisted by US-led United Nations forces during the Korean War. North Korea, one of the world’s most militarized regimes, remains capable of striking south even today. The DPRK continues to introduce ballistic missiles into the Middle East and, worse, has sought the capability to produce nuclear weapons. Despite its partly self-imposed isolation, the DPRK has become more visible as a threat to international security. The end of the superpower confrontation and the defeat of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in the Gulf War have increased the international community’s unwillingness to abide aggression and state support of terrorism, as the recent sanctions against Libya for failure to cooperate in the investigation of the bombing of the Pan Am 103 airliner demonstrate. In this rapidly evolving international environment, few regimes re- main willing to stand firmly alongside Pyongyang. Fear of the con- sequences of nearly complete isolation probably helped lead the DPRK to accept the two-seat approach to Korean membership in the United Nations. A seat in the UN has, however, only underlined the irony of North Korea’s continuing to operate outside international efforts at cooperation. Sadly, the DPRK has failed to recognize that its frequently confrontational posturing stands in contrast to the predominant security trends of recent years. The risk of a global war has been reduced greatly. World security has been enhanced further by the strengthening of human rights, f international trade, and the rule o law. Fewer and fewer nations accept initiation of the use of military force as legitimate. Peacemak- ing in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia has been facilitated. International peacekeeping in such troubled areas as El Salvador and Cambodia is making headway. Many nations have shared in these achievements. Multilateral fora such as the UN, the RONALD F. LEHMAN II 13 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and NATO have also made invaluable contributions towards ensuring that the transforma- tion from the old world order to the new continues. Yet optimism should not be excessive. The transformations under- way, leading to a reshaped international order, do not have a guaranteed outcome. The challenges posed by the end of the Cold War and the victory in the Gulf remain great. Equally challenging are the threats posed by the continued pursuit of weapons of mass destruction-nuclear, chemical, and biological-and the means to deliver them, by numerous countries around the world. In the Middle East and South Asia, as well as on the Korean peninsula, time to prevent the emergence of new nuclear powers may be running out. The disintegration of the nuclear-armed empire that was the Soviet Union adds another, new dimension to the nuclear proliferatian danger by threatening the uncontrolled spread of nuclear technology and materials around the world. The Korean peninsula is not barred from the opportunities pre- sented in this new era, nor free from the necessity to respond to its challenges. Until recent months, North Korea was perhaps the one country least likely to respond positively to these new possibilities. Two agreements between North and South Korea concluded in December 1991 on reconciliation and cooperation, and on establish- ment of a denuclearized peninsula, however, are significant. The signature by North Korea on January 30, 1992, of a nuclear safe- guards agreement with the IAEA and its ratification of that agreement on April 10 also represent a step in the right direction. Concluding agreements, however, is only a first step; they must also be im- plemented fully both in letter and in spirit. The Korean peninsula’s participation in a new security environment will be guaranteed only through actual implementation of effective and credible inspections in North Korea under both the bilateral inspection regime and the IAEA agreement. Such concrete actions help the world determine whether or not obligations are being met. Although North Korea has sought to avoid or delay inspections, they are committed to them under both the IAEA agreement and their bilateral agreement with the South. The obligations undertaken late last year by North and 14 THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEFENSE ANALYSIS South Korea in their two important agreements are significant. The first, on “Reconciliation, Non-aggression, and Exchanges and Coop- eration,” was produced at the fifth round of North-South Korean talks, which took place from December 10-1 3, 1991, between Chung Won-Shik, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea and Yon Hyong Muk, Premier of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In this joint accord, the North and the South pledge to resolve political and military confrontation and achieve national reconciliation. A pledge to “transform the present armistice regime into a firm state of peace” is included. They agree to establish a joint political subcommittee to discuss the means by which these aims will be reached and im- plemented. The parties also pledge not to use armed force against each other and to respect the North-South military demarcation line specified in the 1953 Military Armistice Agreement. They agree to establish a joint military committee to discuss and implement steps to achieve military confidence-building measures and arms reduc- tions. The agreement names such steps as: “mutual notification and control of major movements of military units and major military exercises, the peaceful utilization of the Demilitarized Zone, ex- changes of military personnel and information, phased reductions in armaments including the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and surprise attack capabilities and verification thereof.” The two sides also agree to establish a telephone hotline between their military authorities to prevent “accidental armed clashes and avoid their escalation.” A joint military subcommittee is to be established to assist in implementation of the provisions on non-aggression and resolution of military confrontation. The agreement’s provisions for mutual exchange and cooperation are no less significant. They call for economic, scientific and cultural exchanges between the sides; free inter-Korean travel, correspon- dence and contracts; and joint domestic and international economic undertakings. Once again, committees are to be established to oversee and implement the arrangements. Equally important as, and an essential complement to, the recon- ciliation agreement is the second agreement, the “Joint Declaration for Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Concluded during the third round of nuclear talks in Panmunjom on December 31, 1991, RONALD F. LEHMAN II 15 this agreement states that the North and South will not test, manu- facture, produce, possess, store, deploy, receive or use nuclear weapons. Perhaps the most important aspect of the agreement is that it also prohibits possession of. nuclear reprocessing and uranium enrichment facilities. In addition, for the purposes of verification, North and South agree to conduct inspections “of objects chosen by the other side and agreed to by both parties.” As in the case of the December 13 accord, the parties agree to establish a committee, in this case on nuclear control, to ensure implementation of the decla- ration. This Joint Nuclear Control Commission has met several times, but has not yet agreed to a verification regime. If this agreement is fully implemented and the DPRK complies with its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations (as the ROK is doing), nuclear suspicions in the region will be greatly reduced. These two agreements are the first official bilateral accords be- tween the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since the two states were founded in 1945. This alone would be a major milestone. As bilateral accords they also signal that the two countries desire to address their differences, in greater part, by themselves. This is a responsible approach and one that needs to be encouraged. In order to see real progress, the two states must build an atmosphere of trust and confidence where little has existed before. Because of its subject matter and global implications, however, the declaration for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula will undoubtedly receive wider attention. For those with arms control experience in Europe, the content and structure of the reconciliation accord appear familiar in many as- pects. Many of the steps identified in the agreement have been undertaken by other states, particularly those participating in the CSCE. Many of them are considered regularly in the framework of the UN. At the same time, some measures and steps of the Korean accord are unique. They appear well tailored to the situation on the peninsula. Military confidence-building measures, such as those contained in the December 13 accord between North and South Korea, are also integral to the CSCE process. Since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975, the CSCE states have been negotiating and adopting 16 THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEFENSE ANALYSIS confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs). The CSCE began, as North and South Korea have proposed to do, with such measures as notification of military maneuvers. Later, the CSCE states adopted the 1986 Stockholm Document which included im- proved notification provisions, annual forecasts of military activities, mandatory observation programs of certain military activities and, for the first time, a CSBM inspection regime. In the 1990 Vienna Document, the CSCE states agreed to such CSBMs as information exchanges on military budgets, military forces and equipment; an evaluation regime to check force and equipment data; an air base visitation program; and consultation mechanisms regarding unusual military activities and hazardous military incidents. The Vienna Doc- ument was updated and improved in early 1992. There is now a computer-based CSCE communications network to assist in the implementation of agreed measures. Non-aggression declarations in the European context have also been included as part of a negoti- ated package. For example, building on a 1986 CSCE non-use of force declaration, the nations of NATO and the then Warsaw Pact Treaty Organization agreed in 1990 to a joint declaration on friendly relations. In the past decade, Europe has been the focus of a sizeable share of bilateral and multilateral arms control. The 1987 Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF) and the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) were historic breakthroughs for the US and the former Soviet Union, with lasting effects for European and global security. In the conventional field, the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), negoti- ated within the framework of the CSCE, represents a foundation stone for building a new architecture of stability and security for Europe. It should be noted that agreements in Europe did not come easily or quickly. The CSCE includes agreements on human rights and political and economic freedom as well as security matters. The CFE Treaty, for example, had its origins in the Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions Talks, which began in 1973 but did not produce an agreement. The climate in which these security agreements were negotiated was rarely positive; the artificial and hostile division of RONALD F. LEHMAN ti 17 Europe cast a constant and dark shadow over the negotiations for nearly two decades. Yet, ultimately, efforts to produce a conventional arms control agreement were successful. Much of the European success is owed to a careful, broad, step-by-step process. In CSCE, participating states continue to adopt new measures on security, human rights and economic cooperation and have en- hanced the process through institutionalization and regular high-level meetings. New CSCE bodies include a Conflict Prevention Center in Vienna, a Warsaw-based Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and a CSCE Secretariat in Prague. In addition, CSCE Economic Forum will convene periodically in Prague as well. This is not to say that the Koreas should choose the European model or the model established by the US-Soviet experience. They appear to be charting a course relevant to the Korean situation and consistent with other regional and international security efforts. The main objective is for the Koreas to continue making steady progress on implementation of their joint accords. Nevertheless, some elements drawn from the European experi- ence, such as the military activity notification measure, appear suitable for implementation on the Korean peninsula. The provision to discuss improving use of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) grows naturally out of the Korean experience. As a conflict prevention or crisis management tool, the creation of an accidents hotline between the DPRK and ROK militaries reflects a history that began even before the US-Soviet “Hotline” Agreement of 1963 and has continued after the US-Soviet Dangerous Military Activities Agreement of 1989. The provision to consider “phased reductions in armaments, includ- ing the elimination of weapons of mass destruction” included in the December 13 accord is particularly ambitious. The December 31 agreement to denuclearize the peninsula seeks to address the question of nuclear arms, but concerns remain about chemical and biological weapons. The Republic of Korea and the DPRK may find bilateral measures necessary to complement international efforts to eliminate non-nuclear weapons of mass destruction, including chem- ical and biological weapons. Considering the great imbalance of forces (in favor of the North) and the number and proximity of forward-deployed DPRK forces, 18 THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEFENSE ANALYSIS conventional arms negotiations may be worth pursuing. Satisfactory agreements in this realm, especially with respect to conventional forces, will have to be based on a detailed mutual understanding of the force balance in all its aspects (not just numbers), a precise identification of objectives, and a comprehensive package to secure them, including effective verification measures. In covering the spheres of economics, hurhan rights and security, these joint Korean accords represent a balanced approach to ad- dressing security problems between the states. Arms control, confi- dence- and security-building measures, and dialogue can help manage confrontation, but the elimination of military confrontation on the Korean peninsula will require fundamental political change, which can be promoted only by this broader approach to security. The last six months have seen remarkable developments in the dialogue between North and South Korea. Active dialogue between the two sides can serve to generate measures of cooperation and provide milestones to measure achievement. As with the nuclear agreement, however, the fact of dialogue should not be an accept- able alternative to the results of dialogue. Talk must be transformed into positive action. Nuclear Issues The North-South nuclear accord, which calls for a peninsula free of nuclear weapons should be considered on its own merits. The importance of the new Korean bilateral accord is more clearly appreciated if it is viewed in connection with: (1) the North Korean nuclear program and Pyongyang’s long delay in meeting its NPT safeguards obligations; (2) international efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation, particularly on the peninsula; and (3) its relationship to North Korea’s January 30 signature and April 10 ratification of an IAEA safeguards agreement. North Korea has sought to accumulate nuclear expertise for more than two decades. North Korea is also nearing completion of an unsafeguarded facility that appears to be a reprocessing plant. Although it had denied any unsafeguarded nuclear activities for many years, the DPRK recently acknowledged that it completed one RONALD F. LEHMAN II 19 reactor in 1986, and has two others under construction. Available information further indicates that the first reactor is well suited for the production of plutonium, and began operation in 1987. These facili- ties could constitute the essential elements of a nuclear weapons program. In December of 1985, North Korea acceded to the NPT. This established Pyongyang’s obligation to place all of its nuclear material under IAEA safeguards within eighteen months. It signed such a safeguards agreement only in January of 1992, and the agreement was ratified only in April. North Korea’s past failure to meet its freely assumed obligations fueled growing suspicion about its unsafeguarded nuclear activities. North Korea has been the only NPT party with a significant nuclear program that did not implement a full-scope safeguards agreement in a timely way as required by the NPT. For example, North Korea has an agreement with Russia to construct four nuclear power reactors. The Soviet Union had made fulfillment of that arrangement conditional on North Korean implementation of IAEA safeguards as required by Pyongyang’s adherence to the NPT. Russia continues to follow this policy. The more other nations have learned about North Korean nuclear activities, the more concerned they have become. The North Korean nuclear program is perhaps the greatest emerging threat to security in Northeast Asia today and carries with it the danger of export of nuclear materials and/or technology by the North to other areas of the world. Over several years, many counties, e.g., the United States, Japan, China, the Soviet Union (and now Russia), have registered their concerns about North Korean nuclear activity and the risks posed by it for nuclear proliferation on the peninsula and for serious instability in Northeast Asia and elsewhere. At the same time, many of these countries, through single or combined efforts, have contrib- uted to the welcome thaw in North-South relations. An international consensus is emerging, specifically in multilateral organizations such as the UN and the IAEA, on taking further steps for curbing prolif- eration of weapons of mass destruction. This consensus includes preventing proliferation on the Korean peninsula. 20 THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEFENSE ANALYSIS The United States has been active in securing peace and stability in the region and in challenging nuclear proliferation everywhere. The US military presence and its defense ties with South Korea and other Asian-Pacific nations are widely viewed as a bedrock of Asia’s security structure. Although elements of the US-South Korean mili- tary alliance may be changing, the US commitment to the security of South Korea remains firm. In an effort to transform and strengthen this alliance, the US launched, in coordination with South Korea, its “East Asia Strategy Initiative” in 1990. This initiative entailed, among other things, some reductions in US troops based on South Korean territory and began the transition of the US Forces in Korea from a leading to a supporting role in ROK defense matters. A 1991 assessment of the security situation on the Korean peninsula led Washington after consultation with Seoul to freeze future reductions pending clarification of North Korean activities in the nuclear area. This move strengthened confidence within the US-ROK alliance and provided a clear message to the DPRK. In addition to its continued security commitment, the US engages in intensive arms control consultations with the ROK, including on the issue of nuclear proliferation on the peninsula. The results of these consultations, together with a series of US and ROK policy initiatives, contributed to the achievement of the North-South agree- ments, including the denuclearization accord between the ROK and the DPRK. On September 27, 1991, President Bush announced a new global policy halting deployment of ground-launched and sea-based tactical nuclear weapons under normal circumstances. In November, South Korean President Roh Tae Woo announced his non-nuclear policy as follows: he committed the ROK not to “test, produce, possess, store, deploy or use” nuclear weapons and to forego possession of any nuclear reprocessing or enrichment facilities. The content of this policy is clearly visible in the DPRK-ROK accord. In December and January, both South Korea and the US made important statements regarding the issue of nuclear weapons. On December 18, 1991, President Roh declared that there were no such weapons in the Republic of Korea. In Seoul on January 6, 1992, President Bush, mindful that the US has a “neither-confirm-nor-deny” policy, said that RONALD F. LEHMAN II 21 in response to anyone who doubted President Roh’s declaration, South Korea, with President Bush’s full support, had offered to open to inspection all of its civilian and military installations, including US facilities. As the bilateral effort to deal with the nuclear question continues, a parallel multilateral effort has been underway. North Korea took six years to sign its nuclear safeguards agreement with the IAEA even though the NPT obligated them to do so in 18 months. Implementa- tion of that agreement is the next step. As this is written, inspections of suspect facilities in the DPRK have still not occurred. These inspections must be conducted in a timely and cooperative manner to remove international suspicions about the North’s activities. Early implementation of bilateral inspections, under the denucle- arization agreement, is important to complement and strengthen IAEA inspections. IAEA inspections will be essential in dealing with the accountability of fissile materials and could contribute to detect- ing undeclared nuclear activities. While IAEA safeguards have proven themselves to be an effective deterrent against the diversion of nuclear material, the specific conditions on the peninsula and the provisions of the bilateral accord make an effective bilateral inspec- tion regime essential. The bilateral inspection regime should provide additional confidence that North Korea is not continuing to pursue a nuclear weapons program to conclusion. On February 17, 1992, President Roh signed the two December 1991 accords for the Republic of Korea. In doing so, he warned that the agreements would be “meaningless if not translated into action.” On February 19, 1992, the ROK and DPRK Prime Ministers ex- changed signed copies of the accords and proclaimed their entry into force. Then agreement was reached to establish the Joint Nuclear Control Commission and to have its first meeting on March 19, 1992. On March 14, the North and South issued a joint statement that called for “joint efforts” to establish an inspection regime within “around” two months and to implement inspections 20 days thereafter. Although IAEA inspection of a small reactor has occurred, given the grave concern in the international community over North Korea’s nuclear weapons ambitions, heightened again by Iraq’s recent efforts to defy UN Security Council resolutions, early movement on bilateral 22 THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEFENSE ANALYSIS and multilateral inspections would serve the DPRK well in its efforts to reduce its isolation. The incentives are there. Japan has made clear that it will not normalize relations until the nuclear question is resolved. The United States has explained that higher level contacts and a path toward greater interchange is blocked so long as the North does not allay the concerns of the international community that it is seeking nuclear weapons. Parallel progress on economic and political issues with South Korea is dependent on progress in resolving nuclear concerns. It is the North alone that has ability to decide which direction to go-toward nuclear weapons and further isolation or away from them and toward increased participation in the international community. In the next few months, we will know whether the DPRK will permit the necessary multilateral and bilateral inspections to give us greater confidence that the North is complying with its agreements. Unfortu- nately, until there is fundamental political change in the North, we will never be absolutely certain that the DPRK is not continuing a smaller, covert nuclear weapons program hidden from inspectors. Today’s picture of the Korean peninsula is a challenging one. Much work has been done that could improve the chances for stability and security in this historically tense region. Agreements reached by North and South, coupled with numerous other multilat- eral and bilateral efforts, have paved the way for improved relations and a safer, more promising environment for the Koreas. The next step is implementation and confirmation through effective inspections and greater openness that obligations are being fulfilled. Progress by the two Koreas on the issue of proliferation could provide an important precedent for South Asia and the Middle East and set the stage for a more secure and prosperous Korean peninsula with great regional and global influence. Failure could increase the dangers feared by every nation.
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