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How to Handle North’s Current Nukes?

Posted February. 14, 2007 07:57,   


The six-party talks on ending North Korea`s nuclear programs have paved the way for regulation of North Korea’s nuclear development and nuclear experiments as negotiators reached an agreement in Beijing, China on February 13.

However, because an agreement on how to handle the nuclear weapons that the North has already developed was not reached, the issue of the North’s past nuclear program still remains unsolved.

As the North declared its possession of nuclear weapons after executing nuclear experiments on October 9, 2006, the issue will remain until its nuclear weapons are disposed of.

However, as the international community has not figured out how many nuclear weapons the North has, it is expected to take long time and money to deal with all of the North’s nuclear weapons.

The six-way talks in Diauyutai, Beijing adopted “An agreement for preliminary execution of the 9.19 joint statement” which states that energy equivalent to 50,000 tons of heavy oil would be sent to the North in exchange for the shutting down of the Yongbyon nuclear facility and allowing inspectors to enter the North within 60 days.

The agreement says that an additional 950,000 tons of heavy oil, economic and humanitarian aid will be provided to the North if they take steps such as disabling nuclear facilities and reporting all nuclear programs after shutting down their nuclear facilities. The aid includes rice, fertilizer, electricity and gas.

North Korea could receive energy aid equivalent to one million tons of heavy oil, putting together the initial 50,000 tons and the additional 950,000 tons in exchange for nuclear disarmament. However, the time limit on disabling and reporting its nuclear programs was not set, so the amount of aid to the North will be adjusted by how fast the North carries out their end of the bargain.

A government official said, “South Korea, the U.S., Japan, China and Russia agreed to evenly share the costs of the energy aid. The South will pay for the initial 50,000 tons of aid.” The current international price of one million tons of heavy oil is about 41 billion won. South Korea, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia would share the cost of about 8.2 billion won each.

The participants also decided to set up five groups to discuss economic and energy aid to the North, the normalization of North-U.S. relations, the normalization of North-Japan relations, and Northeast Asian peace and security structures within a month.

According to the agreement, the North and the U.S. will discuss plans to exclude the North from the list of terror assisting countries and ease the regulation of trade and investment on the North in a working-level meeting on the normalization of North-U.S. relations within 60 days.

The participants agreed to discuss perpetual peace on the Korean peninsula after holding a forum, apart from the six-way talks.

Also, they will hold a meeting attended by chief representatives, to discuss steps regarding North Korea’s additional denuclearization on March 19 based on the outcomes of a working-level meeting, and hold a meeting attended by the participants’ foreign ministers at a proper time.

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