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North Korea Walking Out of Non-Proliferation Treaty

Posted January. 10, 2003 22:36,   


North Korea announced on Jan.10 that it would withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Through the government statement, it stressed, “With the withdrawal from the NPT, it declares that it is fully free from the obligation to comply with nuclear safeguards, pertaining to the NPT`s provision 3 with the International Atomic Energy Agency,” which was quoted by the North’s Central News Agency, the Central Broadcasting Station and the Pyongyang Broadcasting Station.

With the latest provocative action of the withdrawal from the NPT, leading to the abrogation of all the previous nuclear agreements with the international community, which was followed by the announcement of reactivating its frozen nuclear facilities last December, the nuclear standoff between the U.S. and North Korea is entering a new phase.

“The U.S. unilaterally violated its commitment to the suspension of nuclear threats and renunciation of aggressive intention against the North in accordance with the June, 11, 1993 joint statement issued by Washington and Pyongyang. Accordingly, the DPRK declares that the Republic`s withdrawal from the NPT is now automatically and immediately coming into force,” the statement said. The North made it clear through the announcement that it would ignore a provision of the NPT stipulating 90 days of a grace period before the full effectuation of the withdrawal from the treaty.

However, the North showed its intention to solve the U.S.-North nuclear standoff through direct talks with the U.S. by saying, “Although we decided to walk out of the treaty, we have no intention to make nuclear weapons. If the U.S. stops threatening the survival of the people in the Korean Peninsular with nuclear bombs, North Korea will not build any nuclear weapons, and which can be guaranteed in a verifiable manner.”

In response to the North’s announcement, the South Korean government convened at the afternoon an emergency meeting of the National Security Committee presided over by Unification Minister Jung Se-hyun and discussed following actions to deal with the issue. In the meeting, the Seoul government urged the North to solve the nuclear standoff with the U.S. through dialogue by reversing its decision to walk out of the treaty and restart its nuclear weapons development programs.

“The North`s withdrawal from the NPT has been fully expected since it moved to reactivate its mothballed nuclear facilities,” a government official said. He also analyzed, “It seems that the North sent an ultimatum in the form of its withdrawal from the NPT in order to bring the U.S. to the negotiating table.”

The government official stressed, “Pyongyang should seek ways to address the nuclear issue first through dialogue with the international community by scrapping its enriched uranium-based nuclear weapons programs, which touched off the latest nuclear standoff between the U.S. and the North, instead of proceeding with a risky gamble of the withdrawal from the NPT.”

Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com