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Arms Control Today November 2006

North Korean Test Provokes Widespread Condemnation

Paul Kerr

North Korea conducted an explosive test of a nuclear device Oct. 9, provoking widespread international condemnation. Five days later, the UN Security Council approved a resolution imposing additional sanctions on North Korea.

Although the test, Pyongyang’s first, was likely only partially successful, North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency announced the test as a success. An Oct. 16 statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence partly confirmed North Korea’s claims, stating that an “analysis of air samples” collected two days after the test “detected radioactive debris,” confirming that North Korea had “conducted an underground nuclear explosion.” However, the statement added that the “explosion yield was less than a kiloton,” suggesting that the test fell short of the yield North Korean officials had anticipated.

An Oct. 11 statement from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, as well as several North Korean officials, indicated that Pyongyang might conduct additional tests. According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Jianchao, however, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told a Chinese envoy that the country is not planning to take such action. But North Korea may do so in response to “unfair external pressure,” Liu told reporters Oct. 24.

Six days prior to the test, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry pledged to refrain from the first-use of nuclear weapons and “strictly prohibit any…nuclear transfer.”

In the wake of the test, Pyongyang and its negotiating partners all claimed that they remained committed to six-party talks designed to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis. The six parties, which also include China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States, began negotiations in 2003 but have not met since November 2005. However, following an Oct. 31 “informal meeting” of representatives from China, North Korea, and the United States, China’s Foreign Ministry announced that the talks would resume “soon at a time convenient to the six parties.”

The test marked the second time in approximately three months that North Korea has defied warnings from the international community. In July, North Korea tested several ballistic missiles, prompting Security Council Resolution 1695. (See ACT, September 2006.)

North Korea Acts

Explosive testing is widely regarded as necessary for developing reliable, lighter-weight, and more-advanced nuclear warheads, such as one that could be delivered by a longer-range ballistic missile. (See ACT, December 2005.) For some time, the U.S. intelligence community has estimated that North Korea likely has at least one or two nuclear weapons from plutonium it extracted prior to 1994. Since early 2003, Pyongyang is believed to have extracted plutonium that could be used for several additional weapons. North Korea also is suspected of having a uranium-enrichment program, which could also produce fissile material for weapons.

The CIA had previously assessed in 2003 that North Korea had “validated” simpler nuclear weapons designs without conducting yield-producing nuclear tests.

North Korea had issued signals for more than a year that it might conduct a nuclear test. (See ACT, June 2005.) Its most definitive pronouncement came on Oct. 3, when North Korea’s Foreign Ministry announced that Pyongyang would “in the future conduct a nuclear test.” In the statement, North Korea denounced what it says is Washington’s threat to attack North Korea with nuclear weapons and efforts to otherwise undermine its government through a variety of means, such as constraining its financial transactions with other countries. North Korea’s test was in response to this policy, according to an Oct. 11 statement from its Foreign Ministry.

Following the test, President George W. Bush denounced North Korea’s actions and pushed for a quick UN Security Council sanctions resolution. Bush later dispatched Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Asia in an attempt to manage the test’s aftermath and bolster support for the UN action.

In his Oct. 9 statement, Bush said that he had “reaffirmed to… South Korea and Japan, that the United States will meet the full range of our deterrent and security commitments.” These commitments include provisions that the United States could, under certain circumstances, use nuclear weapons to defend either country if they are attacked.

Bush added that Washington would hold North Korea “fully accountable” for the “transfer of nuclear weapons or material…to states or non-state entities.” North Korean officials have previously implied that it might transfer such material, a possibility that has been a major source of concern both for U.S. officials and outside experts.

The UN Security Council

On Oct. 14, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1718. Stating that the council is “taking measures under” Article 41 of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the resolution requires countries to take a variety of measures to restrict certain goods and materials from entering North Korea. Article 41 describes measures short of military force that can be employed “to give effect” to Security Council decisions.

The final resolution was adopted after several days of debate. The United States initially supported a stronger resolution that, for example, would have banned the transfer of all conventional weapons to North Korea and did not include the reference to Article 41. However, China and Russia disagreed with these provisions.

During debates over Security Council resolutions concerning Iran’s nuclear program, both Beijing and Moscow have expressed that a resolution referring to Chapter VII without Article 41 could provide a legal justification for military action. (See ACT, September 2006.) Beijing also articulated reservations about the resolution’s inspection provisions.

The Oct. 14 resolution reiterates several demands contained in the July resolution. For example, it calls upon North Korea to return “immediately” to the six-party talks and “abandon” its nuclear weapons. The resolution demands that Pyongyang refrain from conducting any further ballistic missile tests. It further requires countries to curtail some transactions related to North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

The October resolution also demands that Pyongyang refrain from conducting any further nuclear tests and prohibits a wider range of transactions with North Korea than the July resolution.

Resolution 1718 further imposes some new obligations that go beyond Resolution 1695 and North Korea’s commitments under a September 2005 joint statement in which Pyongyang agreed in principle to dismantle its nuclear programs in return for incentives from other participants in the six-party talks.

For example, it says that North Korea “shall abandon” its ballistic missile program as well as “all other existing weapons of mass destruction (WMD)” programs, such as its suspected chemical and biological weapons programs.

The resolution demands that Pyongyang give the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “access to individuals, documentation, equipments and facilities” that the agency deems necessary to obtain a full picture of North Korea’s nuclear activities.

The resolution sets up a committee comprised of all Security Council members to monitor compliance with the council’s demands. The panel is further tasked with specifying which transactions are prohibited, as well as which North Korean entities and people are subject to the resolution’s restrictions. Relevant entities also can be designated by the Security Council.

According to the resolution, the committee is to report to the council on its work “at least every 90 days.” The committee is chaired until the end of December by Peter Burian, Slovakia’s permanent representative to the UN. Burian said Oct. 27 that the committee had nearly reached agreement on which weapons-related items are to be controlled, according to Kyodo News Service.

The resolution embargoes trade with North Korea in several areas. For example, it requires countries to “prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer” to North Korea of certain defense-related items, such as attack helicopters and combat aircraft. Countries are also to refrain from supplying North Korea with items that could “contribute” to its nuclear, ballistic missile, or other WMD programs. The committee can designate additional items as prohibited.

States are required to freeze and prevent the transfer of financial assets belonging to “persons or entities…engaged in or providing support for” Pyongyang’s WMD or ballistic missile programs. States must also block the entry of individuals associated with these programs.

The resolution says that states are to prevent the transfer of “luxury goods” to North Korea but does not define what those are.

In order to enforce the Security Council’s resolution, countries are to take “cooperative action including through inspection of cargo to and from” North Korea “as necessary” and “in accordance with their national authorities and legislation.”

Restrictions on North Korean travel and financial resources do not apply to a variety of transactions for non-WMD-related purposes, such as food and medicine. The committee must approve such transactions.

The resolution also calls on states to report to the Security Council within 30 days “on the steps they have taken” to implement the trade restrictions. It adds that the council “shall be prepared” to lift or modify the sanctions if North Korea complies with its demands.

Debate over implementing the resolution seems likely. For example, a Washington-based diplomat familiar with the North Korean nuclear issue told Arms Control Today Oct. 25 that other countries could well disagree with the United States regarding the number of North Korean entities subject to the resolution’s restrictions.

Although the resolution’s sanctions are aimed at Pyongyang’s weapons programs, the United States has argued that most if not all transactions with North Korea would be suspect because of the difficulty in distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate North Korean economic activity.

After the Resolution

Since the resolution’s adoption, Washington has focused on persuading the international community to enforce it. Indeed, a mid-month trip by Rice was partly for the purpose of persuading China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea to take action.

All of those countries have stated their willingness to enforce the resolution but are still formulating specific implementation plans.

For example, a South Korean diplomat told Arms Control Today Oct. 27 that Seoul is “considering additional domestic measures to be taken to support” the resolution. Similarly, Liu told reporters the previous day that Beijing has “developed an effective mechanism and mature practice” for implementing the resolution, although he did not elaborate.

For its part, Tokyo is “still working on” plans to implement the resolution’s inspection provisions, a Japanese diplomat told Arms Control Today Oct. 25.

Japan also has taken unilateral action against Pyongyang, announcing Oct. 11 that it would impose sanctions, including a ban on all North Korean goods and ships. North Korean citizens also will be barred from entering the country, except under “special circumstances,” the diplomat said. These actions supplement sanctions that Japan imposed after the July missile tests.

Rice’s trip also was aimed at reassuring South Korea and Japan that the United States would protect them from a North Korean attack by shielding them with its nuclear umbrella.

Many observers have long feared that a North Korean nuclear arsenal could cause those countries, fearing for their own security, to reconsider their commitments to refrain from developing nuclear weapons.

Indeed, Shoichi Nakagawa, chairman of the Policy Research Council of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, raised eyebrows Oct. 15 by suggesting that Japan should “have thorough discussions” about its current non-nuclear-weapon status. However, Prime Minster Shinzo Abe told reporters the next day that Japan does not intend to pursue nuclear weapons, Agence France Presse reported.

Washington Versus Pyongyang

Although North Korea has denounced the Security Council resolution, Pyongyang says that it is still willing to eliminate its nuclear weapons programs. North Korea has pledged to do so on several occasions, including the September 2005 joint statement.

In the meantime, however, Pyongyang continues to operate its nuclear reactor and reprocessing facility at Yongbyon. North Korea expert Selig Harrison told reporters that Pyongyang intends to unload spent fuel rods from the reactor for reprocessing by the end of the year, the Associated Press reported Sept. 23. According to North Korean officials, Pyongyang last unloaded the reactor during the spring of 2005. Pyongyang restarted the reactor in June 2005 and finished reprocessing the fuel rods several months later.

Although the United States had said that it wants North Korea to return to the six-party talks, there was no indication that it will take any measures to induce Pyongyang to return.

Pyongyang has repeatedly said that it would not return to the talks until Washington lifts what North Korea calls “financial sanctions” on the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia, arguing that those measures indicated the Bush administration’s unwillingness to negotiate in good faith.

These “sanctions” refer to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s September 2005 designation of the bank as a “money laundering concern.” The United States asserts that the bank provided financial services to North Korean government agencies and front companies engaged in illicit activities, such as drug trafficking. Since the U.S. designation, Banco Delta Asia has frozen North Korea’s accounts, and other financial institutions have curtailed their dealings with Pyongyang. (See ACT, September 2006.)

The United States appears to be committed to continuing its unilateral efforts to persuade other countries to halt or decrease their financial transactions with North Korea.

The Washington diplomat said that these efforts appear to be aimed at preventing both legitimate and illegitimate financial transactions, adding that previous such efforts likely have deterred at least some financial institutions from doing legitimate business with Pyongyang.

These efforts also feed “North Korean perceptions that the United States is not serious about negotiating” and is instead pursuing a policy of regime change, the diplomat said.

Indeed, U.S. officials have recently sent mixed signals as to whether the ultimate aim of U.S. policy is to change the regime in Pyongyang or persuade it to eliminate its nuclear programs. Asked about the regime-change option, Rice told reporters Oct. 17 that the U.S. “goal...is to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.”

However, John Bolton, U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, indicated during an Oct. 24 FOX News interview that the “United States and its friends should be pursuing” regime change in North Korea “because that is our ultimate objective,” adding that the UN sanctions will put “pressure” on Pyongyang.

 


 

Statement From Pyongyang: Rationale for a Nuclear Test

Two days after its Oct. 9 nuclear test, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), issued a statement. The Foreign Ministry said it was issuing the statement in response to “The U.S. ill-boding moves in the wake of the nuclear test in the DPRK” and noted that it had declared earlier that it had “successfully conducted an underground nuclear test under secure conditions on Oct. 9 as a new measure for bolstering its war deterrent for self-defense.” The statement read:

The DPRK’s nuclear test was entirely attributable to the U.S. nuclear threat, sanctions, and pressure.

The DPRK has exerted every possible effort to settle the nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations, prompted by its sincere desire to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The Bush administration, however, responded to our patient and sincere efforts and magnanimity with the policy of sanctions and blockade.

The DPRK was compelled to substantially prove its possession of nukes to protect its sovereignty and right to existence from the daily increasing danger of war from the U.S.

Although the DPRK conducted the nuclear test due to the U.S., it still remains unchanged in its will to denuclearize the peninsula through dialogue and negotiations.

The denuclearization of the entire peninsula was President Kim Il Sung’s last instruction and an ultimate goal of the DPRK.

The DPRK’s nuclear test does not contradict the September 19 joint statement under which it committed itself to dismantle nuclear weapons and abandon the existing nuclear program. On the contrary, it constitutes a positive measure for its implementation.

The DPRK clarified more than once that it would feel no need to possess even a single nuke when it is no longer exposed to the U.S. threat after it has dropped its hostile policy toward the DPRK and confidence has been built between the two countries.

No sooner had the DPRK, which had already pulled out of the NPT and, accordingly, is no longer bound to international law, declared that it conducted a nuclear test than the U.S. manipulated the UN Security Council to issue a resolution pressurizing Pyongyang, an indication of the disturbing moves to impose collective sanctions upon it.

The DPRK is ready for both dialogue and confrontation.

If the U.S. increases pressure upon the DPRK, persistently doing harm to it, it will continue to take physical countermeasures, considering it as a declaration of a war.

 

 


 

CHRONOLOGY: The North Korean Nuclear Crisis 2002-2006

2002

October 3-5, 2002: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James Kelly visits North Korea. The highest-ranking Bush administration official to visit Pyongyang, Kelly reiterates U.S. concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, exports of missile components, conventional force posture, human rights violations, and humanitarian situation. Kelly informs North Korea that it could improve bilateral relations through a “comprehensive settlement” addressing these issues. No future meetings are announced. Referring to Kelly’s approach as “high-handed and arrogant,” North Korea argues that the U.S. policy “compels” the country “to take all necessary countermeasures.”

October 16, 2002: The United States claims that North Korea admitted to having a clandestine program to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons after Kelly confronted representatives from Pyongyang earlier that month. Kelly later explains that the North Koreans’ admission came the day after he informed them that the United States was aware of the program. North Korea has denied several times that it admitted to having this program.

November 14, 2002: The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) announces that it is suspending heavy-fuel oil deliveries to North Korea, which are part of the 1994 Agreed Framework between the United States and North Korea, in response to Pyongyang’s October 4 acknowledgement that it has a uranium-enrichment program. The last shipment reaches North Korea November 18.

The United States and North Korea concluded the Agreed Framework to resolve an earlier North Korean nuclear crisis. North Korea agreed to freeze its graphite-moderated nuclear reactor at Yongbyon and place its spent fuel, as well as the related facilities, under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitoring. In return, Washington agreed to several measures, which included establishing KEDO to provide heavy-fuel oil and two proliferation-resistant nuclear reactors to North Korea.

December 22-24, 2002: North Korea cuts all seals and disrupts IAEA surveillance equipment on its nuclear facilities and materials. An IAEA spokesperson says December 26 that North Korea has started moving fresh fuel rods into the reactor, suggesting that it might be restarted soon.

December 27, 2002: North Korea orders IAEA inspectors out of the country. They leave on December 31.

2003

January 10, 2003: North Korea announces its withdrawal from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), effective January 11. Although Article X of the NPT requires that a country give three months’ notice in advance of withdrawing, North Korea argues that it has satisfied this requirement because it originally announced its decision to withdraw March 12, 1993, and suspended the decision one day before it was to become legally binding. NPT states-parties have not decided whether North Korea is still bound by the treaty.

April 23-25, 2003: The United States, North Korea, and China hold trilateral talks in Beijing. Kelly goes to Pyongyang with strict instructions not to have any bilateral contact with the North Koreans.

The North Korean delegation, however, still manages to tell the U.S. delegation that it possesses nuclear weapons—the first time that Pyongyang makes such an admission. In addition, North Korea threatens to transfer the weapons to other countries or “display them,” Secretary of State Colin Powell tells the Senate Appropriations Committee April 30. The North Koreans also tell the U.S. delegation that they have completed reprocessing the spent nuclear fuel from the five-megawatt reactor frozen under the 1994 Agreed Framework, Powell adds.

August 27-29, 2003: The first round of six-party talks is held in Beijing. The talks achieve no significant breakthroughs.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi states August 29 that the participants “share a consensus” on several items: a “peaceful settlement” of the crisis through dialogue, the need to address North Korea’s security concerns, the continuation of dialogue and the six-party talks, the need to avoid actions that would escalate the situation, and a plan to solve the nuclear issue “through synchronous and parallel implementation.” The same day, North Korea issues an explicit denial for the first time that it has a uranium-enrichment program.

North Korea proposes a step-by-step solution, calling for the United States to conclude a “non-aggression treaty,” normalize bilateral diplomatic relations, refrain from hindering North Korea’s “economic cooperation” with other countries, complete the reactors promised under the Agreed Framework, resume suspended fuel-oil shipments, and increase food aid. Pyongyang states that, in return, it will dismantle its “nuclear facility” as well as end missile testing and exporting missiles and related components.

October 16, 2003: North Korea suggests that it may test nuclear weapons, stating that it will “take a measure to open its nuclear deterrent to the public as a physical force” if the United States refuses to change its negotiating stance.

November 21, 2003: KEDO’s executive board announces that it will suspend construction of two light-water nuclear reactors for one year beginning December 1.

2004

February 25-28, 2004: A second round of six-party talks takes place in Beijing. Little progress is made, although both sides agree to hold another round of talks before the end of June, as well as a working group meeting to be held beforehand.

June 23-26, 2004: A third round of six-party talks is held in Beijing. The United States for the first time presents a detailed proposal for resolving the crisis.

The proposal calls for a two-phase process in which North Korea would receive fuel oil from China, South Korea, and Russia after agreeing first to freeze, then dismantle its nuclear programs. The United States and the other parties to the talks would also draft a multilateral security agreement and begin surveying North Korea’s energy needs. Additionally, Washington would begin bilateral discussions with North Korea on the removal of U.S. sanctions. The benefits spelled out in the proposal could be withdrawn if North Korea did not comply.

According to a June 28 North Korean Foreign Ministry statement, North Korea counters by proposing to “refrain from” producing, testing, or transferring nuclear weapons and to freeze “all the facilities related to nuclear weapons and products churned out by their operation.”

2005

February 10, 2005: North Korea’s Foreign Ministry announces that Pyongyang has “produced nuclear weapons.” This is Pyongyang’s most definitive public claim to date on the status of its nuclear arsenal.

July 26, 2005: A new round of six-party talks begins in Beijing. The talks are, by all accounts, “businesslike” in tone and include an unprecedented number of U.S.-North Korean bilateral talks.

September 15, 2005: The Department of the Treasury designates Macau-based Banco Delta Asia as a “primary money laundering concern” under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act. The department also issues a proposed rule that if adopted, “will prohibit U.S. financial institutions from directly or indirectly establishing, maintaining, administering or managing any correspondent account in the United States for or on behalf of” the bank.

September 19, 2005: The participants in the six-party talks conclude a joint statement of principles to guide future negotiations.

The statement commits the participants to achieving “the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner” and says that the parties agree “to take coordinated steps to implement” the agreed-on obligations and rewards “in a phased manner in line with the principle of ‘commitment for commitment, action for action.’”

According to the statement, North Korea commits “to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning, at an early date,” to the NPT and “to IAEA safeguards.” It also calls for the 1992 Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which forbids the two Koreas from possessing uranium-enrichment and plutonium-separation facilities, to be “observed and implemented.”

The statement also addresses several long-standing North Korean concerns. For example, the statement signals that Washington will not try to overthrow the North Korean government, stating that the United States commits to “respect” Pyongyang’s “sovereignty” and “exist peacefully together” with North Korea.

Additionally, the statement indicates that North Korea will “take steps” to normalize its relations with the United States and Japan. It also says that the parties will “promote economic cooperation in the fields of energy, trade and investment” but contains few specifics.

In what is perhaps its most controversial provision, the statement says that North Korea “stated that it has the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy” and that the other parties “expressed their respect and agreed to discuss, at an appropriate time, the subject of the provision” of a light-water nuclear power reactor to Pyongyang.

The reactor issue had been controversial during the negotiations. North Korea insisted that the statement recognize its right to a peaceful nuclear energy program and commit the other participants to provide it with light-water reactors. For its part, the Bush administration had argued that North Korea should not receive nuclear reactors at all.

The issue continues to be contentious after the talks’ conclusion. After the joint statement is made public, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher R. Hill both make statements the same day suggesting that the United States may not seriously consider providing a reactor to North Korea.

September 20, 2005: Apparently refuting part of the joint statement, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry states that it is “essential” for the United States to provide light-water reactors to Pyongyang “as early as possible,” adding that Washington “should not even dream” that North Korea will dismantle its “nuclear deterrent” before receiving the reactors. However, a speech from North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon two days later appears to back away from this formulation.

The Foreign Ministry statement, as well as subsequent North Korean statements, implies that the reactors would both provide a tangible sign that the United States recognizes North Korea’s sovereignty and prevent Washington from backing out on its commitments.

November 9-11, 2005: The next round of the six-party talks takes place in Beijing. Differences between the United States and North Korea, however, continue to block progress. According to knowledgeable Department of State officials, the North Korean delegation focuses almost exclusively on the Banco Delta Asia designation.

2006

June 1, 2006: KEDO‘s executive board announces that it has formally terminated its project to build two light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea.

July 4-5, 2006: North Korea test-fires seven ballistic missiles, including the supposed longer-range Taepo Dong-2. The other tests are a combination of short- and medium-range Scud-C and Nodong ballistic missiles, apparently launched from the Kittaraeyong test site. Although the tests of the six short-range missiles appear to be successful, the Taepo Dong-2 fails less than a minute after launch.

July 15, 2006: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1695, which condemns North Korea’s missile launches, calls on Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks and “demands” that the country suspend its ballistic missile activities and re-establish a 1999 flight-testing moratorium.

The resolution also requires states to prevent missiles and related “items, materials, goods and technology” from being transferred to North Korea’s missile or weapons of mass destruction programs. It requires countries to prevent the procurement of such items from Pyongyang and the transfer of any “financial resources in relation to” North Korea’s weapons programs.

October 3, 2006: North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issues a statement asserting that Pyongyang “will in the future conduct a nuclear test under the condition where safety is firmly guaranteed.” Apparently signaling a degree of restraint, the statement also says that North Korea will refrain from the first use of nuclear weapons, “strictly prohibit any…nuclear transfer,” and also “do its utmost to realize the denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula.

October 9, 2006: North Korea successfully conducts “an underground nuclear test under secure conditions,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency reports.

October 14, 2006: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1718. The measure demands that North Korea refrain from further nuclear tests and calls on Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks and abandon its nuclear weapons. The resolution puts additional sanctions on commerce with Pyongyang, widening the range of prohibited transactions beyond those banned under Resolution 1695.

October 16, 2006: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence states that an “analysis of air samples” collected two days after the test “detected radioactive debris which confirms that North Korea conducted an underground nuclear explosion in the vicinity of P’unggye,” adding that the “explosion yield was less than a kiloton.”

 

 


 

UN Security Council Resolution 1718 on North Korea

The United Nations Security Council Oct. 14 unanimously adopted Resolution 1718 “expressing the gravest concern” that North Korea claimed to have tested a nuclear weapons. The resolution deplores Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and its refusal to return without preconditions to six-party talks on its nuclear program.

The resolution calls on North Korea and other states to carry out several mandatory steps but shies away from threats of military action. The Security Council states that the resolution was passed by the Security Council “acting under Chapter VII of the charter of the United Nations and taking measures under its article 41.” Chapter VII of the UN Charter empowers the council to take action “to maintain or restore international peace and security.” Under Article 41, the council “may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to employed to give effect to its decisions.” In particular, the resolution states:

1. Condemns the nuclear test proclaimed by the Democratic People Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 9 October 2006 in flagrant disregard of its relevant resolutions, in particular Resolution 1695 (2006), as well as of the statement of its President of 6 October 2006 (S/PRST/2006/41), including that such a test would bring universal condemnation of the international community and would represent a clear threat to international peace and security;

2. Demands that the DPRK not conduct any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile;

3. Demands that the DPRK immediately retract its announcement of withdrawal from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons;

4. Demands further that the DPRK return to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, and underlines the need for all States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to continue to comply with their Treaty obligations;

5. Decides that the DPRK shall suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program and in this context re-establish its pre-existing commitments to a moratorium on missile launching;

6. Decides that the DPRK shall abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, shall act strictly in accordance with the obligations applicable to parties under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the terms and conditions of its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards Agreement (IAEA INFCIRC/403) and shall provide the IAEA transparency measures extending beyond these requirements, including such access to individuals, documentation, equipment and facilities as may be required and deemed necessary by the IAEA;

7. Decides also that the DPRK shall abandon all other existing weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner;

8. Decides that:

(a) all Member States shall prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK, through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in their territories, of:

(i) any battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems as defined for the purpose of the United Nations Register on Conventional Arms, or related materiel including spare parts, or items as determined by the Security Council or the Committee established by paragraph 12 below (the Committee);

(ii) all items, materials, equipment, goods and technology as set out in the lists in documents S/2006/814 and S/2006/815, unless within 14 days of adoption of this resolution the Committee has amended or completed their provisions also taking into account the list in document S/2006/816, as well as other items, materials, equipment, goods and technology, determined by the Security Council or the Committee, which could contribute to DPRK’s nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programs;

(iii) luxury goods;

(b) the DPRK shall cease the export of all items covered in subparagraphs (a) (i) and (a) (ii) above and that all Member States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from the DPRK by their nationals, or using their flagged vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in the territory of the DPRK;

(c) all Member States shall prevent any transfers to the DPRK by their nationals or from their territories, or from the DPRK by its nationals or from its territory, of technical training, advice, services or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of the items in subparagraphs (a) (i) and (a) (ii) above;

(d) all Member States shall, in accordance with their respective legal processes, freeze immediately the funds, other financial assets and economic resources which are on their territories at the date of the adoption of this resolution or at any time thereafter, that are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the persons or entities designated by the Committee or by the Security Council as being engaged in or providing support for, including through other illicit means, DPRK’s nuclear-related, other weapons of mass destruction-related and ballistic missile-related programs, or by persons or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, and ensure that any funds, financial assets or economic resources are prevented from being made available by their nationals or by any persons or entities within their territories, to or for the benefit of such persons or entities;

(e) all Member States shall take the necessary steps to prevent the entry into or transit through their territories of the persons designated by the Committee or by the Security Council as being responsible for, including through supporting or promoting, DPRK policies in relation to the DPRK’s nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related and other weapons of mass destruction-related programs, together with their family members, provided that nothing in this paragraph shall oblige a state to refuse its own nationals entry into its territory;

(f) in order to ensure compliance with the requirements of this paragraph, and thereby preventing illicit trafficking in nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, their means of delivery and related materials, all Member States are called upon to take, in accordance with their national authorities and legislation, and consistent with international law, cooperative action including through inspection of cargo to and from the DPRK, as necessary;

9. Decides that the provisions of paragraph 8 (d) above do not apply to financial or other assets or resources that have been determined by relevant States:

(a) to be necessary for basic expenses, including payment for foodstuffs, rent or mortgage, medicines and medical treatment, taxes, insurance premiums, and public utility charges, or exclusively for payment of reasonable professional fees and reimbursement of incurred expenses associated with the provision of legal services, or fees or service charges, in accordance with national laws, for routine holding or maintenance of frozen funds, other financial assets and economic resources, after notification by the relevant States to the Committee of the intention to authorize, where appropriate, access to such funds, other financial assets and economic resources and in the absence of a negative decision by the Committee within five working days of such notification;

(b) to be necessary for extraordinary expenses, provided that such determination has been notified by the relevant States to the Committee and has been approved by the Committee; or

(c) to be subject of a judicial, administrative or arbitral lien or judgment, in which case the funds, other financial assets and economic resources may be used to satisfy that lien or judgment provided that the lien or judgment was entered prior to the date of the present resolution, is not for the benefit of a person referred to in paragraph 8 (d) above or an individual or entity identified by the Security Council or the Committee, and has been notified by the relevant States to the Committee;

10. Decides that the measures imposed by paragraph 8 (e) above shall not apply where the Committee determines on a case-by-case basis that such travel is justified on the grounds of humanitarian need, including religious obligations, or where the Committee concludes that an exemption would otherwise further the objectives of the present resolution;

11. Calls upon all Member States to report to the Security Council within thirty days of the adoption of this resolution on the steps they have taken with a view to implementing effectively the provisions of paragraph 8 above;

12. Decides to establish, in accordance with rule 28 of its provisional rules of procedure, a Committee of the Security Council consisting of all the members of the Council, to undertake the following tasks:

(a) to seek from all States, in particular those producing or possessing the items, materials, equipment, goods and technology referred to in paragraph 8 (a) above, information regarding the actions taken by them to implement effectively the measures imposed by paragraph 8 above of this resolution and whatever further information it may consider useful in this regard;

(b) to examine and take appropriate action on information regarding alleged violations of measures imposed by paragraph 8 of this resolution;

(c) to consider and decide upon requests for exemptions set out in paragraphs 9 and 10 above;

(d) to determine additional items, materials, equipment, goods and technology to be specified for the purpose of paragraphs 8 (a) (i) and 8 (a) (ii) above;

(e) to designate additional individuals and entities subject to the measures imposed by paragraphs 8 (d) and 8 (e) above;

(f) to promulgate guidelines as may be necessary to facilitate the implementation of the measures imposed by this resolution;

(g) to report at least every 90 days to the Security Council on its work, with its observations and recommendations, in particular on ways to strengthen the effectiveness of the measures imposed by paragraph 8 above;

13. Welcomes and encourages further the efforts by all States concerned to intensify their diplomatic efforts, to refrain from any actions that might aggravate tension and to facilitate the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks, with a view to the expeditious implementation of the Joint Statement issued on 19 September 2005 by China, the DPRK, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States, to achieve the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in north-east Asia;

14. Calls upon the DPRK to return immediately to the Six-Party Talks without precondition and to work towards the expeditious implementation of the Joint Statement issued on 19 September 2005 by China, the DPRK, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States;

15. Affirms that it shall keep DPRK’s actions under continuous review and that it shall be prepared to review the appropriateness of the measures contained in paragraph 8 above, including the strengthening, modification, suspension or lifting of the measures, as may be needed at that time in light of the DPRK’s compliance with the provisions of the resolution;

16. Underlines that further decisions will be required, should additional measures be necessary;

17. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.