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North Korea Factsheet( Ploughshares Fund )

by gino's 2020. 12. 10.

 

FACTSHEET: THE 2018 INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT

On April 27, 2018, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet for the first time. It will be the third inter-Korean summit in Korean history and the first to occur in South Korea. The summit comes amid a detente on the Korean peninsula that began with the North’s participation in the Winter Olympics. As a US-North Korea summit is slated to occur in early June, the inter-Korean summit will lay the groundwork for negotiations about denuclearization and set the tone for talks between President Trump and Kim Jong Un.

What to Expect

  • A North-South joint declaration. President Moon’s Chief of Staff announced that the framework for a joint declaration is complete and “final revisions and agreements will be made at the summit.” Previous inter-Korean summits have resulted in formal statements that commit both sides to address issues of reunification, divided families, military hostilities, and economic cooperation.
  • A pledge to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. South Korea has coordinated closely with the United States to broker the longstanding issue of North Korea’s growing nuclear capabilities. An official statement in which Kim Jong Un commits to take steps toward the permanent denuclearization of the Korean peninsula would go a long way to ensure that a meeting with President Trump takes place. President Moon has tied the prospects for a successful inter-Korean summit to a US-North Korea agreement on denuclearization.
  • A commitment to formally end the Korean War. The Korean War (1950-1953) did not come to a formal end, but a negotiated Armistice Agreement that established the military division between North and South Korea. The United States (representing the United Nations Command), North Korea, and China are signatories to the agreement. South Korea is not a signatory; then-President Syngman Rhee sought to unify the peninsula and therefore opposed the terms for an armistice. Beyond establishing a “complete cessation of all hostilities in Korea by all armed force,” the armistice was intended to address the repatriation of prisoners of war, the withdrawal of foreign forces, and a peaceful settlement. Now approaching its 65th year, the armistice remains in effect. One of President Moon’s top policy goals for the Korean peninsula has been “to substitute the past sixty years of an unstable armistice with a permanent peace regime.” Recently, his National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong confirmed that such a prospect is being discussed ahead of the inter-Korean summit. In an unprecedented endorsement by a US president, Trump remarked that North and South Korea “have my blessing to discuss the end to the war.” Given that North Korea has, historically, sought a peace treaty as a precondition to denuclearization, the prospects for exploring a formal end to the Korean War during the summit are high.

What’s New

The third inter-Korean summit features key differences from the previous two initiatives led by Presidents Kim Dae Jung (2000) and Roh Moo Hyun (2007).

  • Location. Holding the summit in South Korea breaks with precedent as previous summits were held in Pyongyang, North Korea. The Peace House at Panmunjom holds symbolic significance; it is the site where the Korean War Armistice was signed. It will also be the first time that a North Korean leader sets foot in the South.
  • Players. On the North Korean side, Kim Jong Il participated in the last two summits. Under the new leadership of his son Kim Jong Un, there may be greater incentive for North Korea to ensure that this summit is a success. On the South Korean side, President Moon comes in with decades of experience on inter-Korean reconciliation, having been chief of staff for former president Roh Moo Hyun.
  • Timing. The previous two summits occurred late in each South Korean president’s term. That the upcoming summit is happening in President Moon’s first year allows both sides to make substantial headway on agreements.

The Lead Up

Jan. 1, 2018 In a New Year’s address, Kim Jong Un states the completion of North Korea’s nuclear status and expresses a desire to improve inter-Korean relations.
Jan. 4, 2018 President Trump and President Moon agree to postpone joint military exercises until after the Winter Olympics.
Jan. 9, 2018 Inter-Korean high-level talks are held at Panmunjom. North Korea agrees to participate in the Winter Olympics.
Feb. 9, 2018 North and South Korea march together under a unified flag at the Olympic Opening Ceremony.
Feb. 10, 2018 Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong invites President Moon to visit North Korea.
March 5, 2018 A South Korean delegation meets with Kim Jong Un in North Korea.
March 6, 2018 South Korea announces an inter-Korean summit will be held at Panmunjom in late April.
March 9, 2018 President Trump agrees to meet with Kim Jong Un in May.

Past Inter-Korean Agreements

 

FACTSHEET: SINGAPORE SUMMIT

On June 12, 2018, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will hold an historic summit in Singapore. The summit, first announced in March, was temporarily canceled by Trump after North Korea criticized US insistence on the “Libya model.” Despite these setbacks, the United States, North Korea, and South Korea proceeded with a series of diplomatic meetings that have helped to set realistic conditions for the summit. 

Prospects

An Historic First Step. Breaking with tradition, this high-level summit marks the start of talks instead of the culmination of negotiations. As such, it is likely that both sides will agree to a set of principles that outline the contours of an agreement going forward. The following issues are expected to be included:

  • Denuclearization. Kim Jong-un has expressed a willingness to denuclearize, but questions about his sincerity and expectations about the process and trade-offs remain. Unlike prior negotiations, however, this summit offers an unprecedented opportunity to discuss the prospects for denuclearization, including concessions on the US-side, at the highest level. 
  • Security assurances. North Korea has long asserted that its nuclear weapons are a necessary deterrent against the United States. As former Secretary of Defense William Perry said, “If I learned anything dealing with [North Koreans], it’s that their security is pre-eminent. They know we have the capability to defeat them, and they believe we have the intent to do so.” Credible security assurances may come in the form of a non-aggression pact or a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War. 
  • Economic benefits. The Trump administration has floated the promise of economic aid and investment as one incentive for North Korea to denuclearize, possibly in response to Kim Jong Un’s pivot to focus on the economy as part of his “byungjin” (or dual-track nuclear weapons and economic development) policy.

A Down Payment. The Trump administration has insisted on achieving a deal with North Korea where past US administrations have failed. Officials such as Acting Assistant Secretary of State Susan Thornton have suggested that the North could “front-load” a major concession-- such as relinquishing a handful of nuclear weapons or missiles-- as one way to test Kim Jong-un’s sincerity to denuclearize. 

A Non-Summit or "Blown Up" Summit. Given the unpredictable track records of President Trump and Kim Jong Un, it is still possible that the summit will not occur -- or even the summit abruptly ends in acrimony. If there is little appetite for rescheduling talks, the challenge for both sides will be to resist the hostilities and military threats of the previous year. However, this scenario is unlikely given that the U.S., North Korea, China and South Korea very much want the summit to be viewed as a success.

The Lead Up

March 9, 2018 President Trump agrees to meet with Kim Jong Un.

March 13, 2018 President Trump ousts Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

April 1, 2018 CIA Director Pompeo secretly meets Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang.

April 26, 2018 The Senate confirms Pompeo to be Secretary of State.

April 27, 2018 South Korean President Moon and Kim Jong Un hold their first inter-Korean summit.

April 29, 2018 National Security Advisor John Bolton discusses Libya as a model for North Korean denuclearization on CBS.

May 10, 2018 Secretary of State Pompeo secures the release of three US detainees in North Korea.

May 15, 2018 North Korea cancels high-level talks with South Korea over the joint US-ROK "Max Thunder" military exercise; North Korean official Kim Kye Gwan issues a statement rejecting the “Libya mode of nuclear abandonment,” citing John Bolton.

May 22, 2018 President Trump and South Korean President Moon hold a summit at the White House.

May 24, 2018 North Korean official Choe Sun Hui issues a statement criticizing Vice President Pence’s remarks “that North Korea might end up like Libya;" North Korea demolishes its Punggye-ri nuclear test site; President Trump cancels the summit in a letter to Kim Jong Un.

May 26, 2018 South Korean President Moon and Kim Jong Un hold a second emergency inter-Korean summit.

June 1, 2018 North Korea’s top envoy Kim Yong Chol visits the White House with a letter from Kim Jong Un. President Trump says the summit is back on.

 

Resources

For additional information on the latest US-North Korea developments, check out these resources:

 

FACTSHEET: HISTORY OF US NEGOTIATIONS WITH NORTH KOREA, 1992-PRESENT 

At the end of the Cold War, President George H.W. Bush authorized the withdrawal of most US tactical nuclear weapons deployed abroad, including approximately 100 nuclear weapons based in South Korea (September 1991). Shortly after, the two Koreas signed the South-North Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which opened a path for dialogue between the United States and North Korea. Though the negotiation record is uneven, diplomacy, combined with pressure and incentives, has succeeded at key times to curb the North’s nuclear and missile capabilities.

The Agreed Framework (1994-2003)

In 1993, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requested special inspections of suspected North Korean nuclear facilities. In response, North Korea rejected the IAEA, declared its withdrawal from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and announced its intention to produce weapons-grade plutonium. The United States was prepared to conduct surgical strikes on North Korea’s nuclear facilities, but the risks of precipitating a second Korean War compelled the Clinton Administration to find a diplomatic solution.

In April 1994, former President Jimmy Carter visited North Korean leader Kim Il Sung to broker dialogue between the two countries. Carter’s efforts paved the way for sustained talks that, despite Kim Il Sung’s untimely death, culminated with the Agreed Framework in October 1994. North Korea agreed to freeze and eventually dismantle its graphite-moderated reactors in exchange for two proliferation-resistant light-water reactors and fuel. For the next eight years, the agreement successfully froze North Korea’s plutonium production, during which time the North could have produced enough plutonium for more than 100 nuclear warheads.

Implementation of the Agreed Framework was subject to difficulties on both sides. Soon after the Clinton Administration brokered the deal, Republicans gained control of the US Congress, resulting in “a lack of political will,” according to chief US negotiator Robert Gallucci, and contributed to significant delays in the delivery of US obligations. In 1998, Congressional opposition peaked amid concerns that the North was hiding an underground nuclear facility at Kumchang-ri. The Administration, seeking to salvage the agreement, negotiated a new deal that permitted the United States multiple inspections of the suspected site, where no evidence of nuclear activity was found.

In 2001, the newly installed Bush Administration received intelligence on a secret uranium enrichment program in North Korea. As then-Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton stated, “This was the hammer I had been looking for to shatter the Agreed Framework.” After a bilateral meeting on the matter, the United States alleged that a North Korean official confirmed the existence of such a program. The admission, which North Korea denied, led to back-and-forth accusations that each side was in violation of the Agreed Framework. By 2002, the agreement had largely fallen apart.

The Perry Process (1999-2000)

In 1998, North Korea made progress in its missile program that raised new concerns for the United States and countries in the region. After North Korea’s launch of a long-range ballistic missile over Japan, the Clinton Administration tasked a small team of inside and outside government experts with a North Korea Policy Review that would ultimately address the goals outlined in the Agreed Framework.

Former Secretary of Defense William Perry collaborated with the governments of North Korea, South Korea, China, and Japan in what would become known as the “Perry Process.” Several rounds of negotiations culminated in 1999 with a report that presented recommendations for the United States to pursue a verifiable suspension and eventual dismantlement of the North’s nuclear and long-range missile activities. In turn, the policy review team found that the United States must take steps to address the North’s security concerns and establish normal relations.

North Korea responded positively by pledging in September 1999 to freeze its missile testing for the duration of talks. In October 2000, North Korea’s senior military advisor visited Washington to discuss the details of Perry’s proposal with President Clinton, resulting in the US-DPRK Joint Communiqué that would set the tone for future negotiations. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright reciprocated the North’s visit by traveling to Pyongyang for a meeting with Kim Jong Il later that month.

However, momentum for the proposal stalled in the following month with the presidential election of George W. Bush. Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, who stated that North Korea policy would continue where President Clinton left off, retracted his remarks following President Bush’s decision to cancel all negotiations with North Korea for the next two years.

The Six Party Talks (2003-2008)

In 2003, the Bush Administration resumed negotiations with North Korea following intelligence reports of a secret uranium enrichment program. The United States joined China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and North Korea in a process called the Six Party Talks.

By September 2005, the Six Parties reached a Joint Statement that pledged the North to abandon “all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.” Negotiations on how to implement the Joint Statement amounted to a second-phase agreement in October 2007, committing the North to “a complete and correct declaration of all its nuclear programs” in exchange for energy aid, sanctions relief, and the removal of North Korea from the US State Sponsor of Terrorism list.

Negotiations were hamstrung in each phase. In September 2005, the US Treasury froze North Korean assets in a Macau-based bank, Banco Delta Asia. According to chief US negotiator to the Six Parties Ambassador Christopher Hill, the timing of the incident “sidetrack[ed] the negotiations entirely.” It was not until the United States lifted the freeze in 2007 that the Six Parties were able to move forward, readmit IAEA inspectors into North Korea, and disable the Yongbyon nuclear reactor. However, disputes over the October 2007 agreement terms, which did not include a provision on verification, stalled efforts to move into the final phase of dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

The Leap Day Agreement (2011-2012)

In July 2011, the Obama Administration attempted to restart denuclearization talks with North Korea. After a brief hiccup in negotiations following the death of Kim Jong Il, the United States and North Korea announced a “Leap Day” deal in February 2012. North Korea agreed to a moratorium on its long-range missile and nuclear tests in exchange for 240,000 metric tons of food aid.

The United States soon scrapped the deal over a dispute regarding North Korea’s right to conduct a satellite launch. Despite the US view that a space launch would violate the Leap Day agreement, North Korea proceeded to conduct a rocket launch under the new leadership of Kim Jong Un. These discrepancies are difficult to clarify as the Leap Day deal has not been made public.

In the past, negotiations with North Korea have provided unprecedented access into the country, clarified intentions between aggrieved parties, and laid the groundwork for tangible steps toward peace on the Korean Peninsula. Sanctions pressure, isolation campaigns, and military buildup alone have failed to achieve similar success. As the negotiation record shows, sustained dialogue between the United States and North Korea can yield positive results.

 

FACTSHEET: US-ROK MILITARY EXERCISES

Updated: June 15, 2018

On June 12, 2018, the United States and North Korea held a historic summit in Singapore. Both sides signed a joint statement in which President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to North Korea, and Kim Jong Un committed to work toward the “complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.” In the press conference to follow, President Trump, responding to questions about what specific assurances he would give to Kim, said “We will be stopping the war games.”

The announcement has reignited a debate about the merits of suspending joint US-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises in exchange for concessions from North Korea. According to President Trump, “[U]nder the circumstances that we are negotiating a very comprehensive, complete deal, I think it’s inappropriate to be having war games.” Admiral Harry Harris echoed those remarks at his confirmation hearing to be US ambassador to South Korea, stating, “I think the whole landscape has shifted and I believe that we should give exercises, major exercises, a pause, to see if Kim Jong Un in fact is serious.” Similarly, South Korea’s President Moon expressed a willingness to suspend exercises as part of the country’s need “to flexibly change its military pressure against the North in the spirit of building mutual trust as agreed in the Panmunjom Declaration.”

The Trump administration’s current position marks a shift from its opposition to the “freeze-for-freeze” proposal— or suspension of joint military exercises in exchange for a pause on North Korea’s nuclear and missile testing— one year ago. North Korea has long viewed US-ROK war drills as a threat and precursors to invasion. China and Russia promoted the freeze as one diplomatic option to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table.

The Trump administration initially opposed the proposal on the basis that military exercises are both a necessary deterrent and strictly routine. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called the freeze-for-freeze proposal “insulting.” Likewise, South Korean Ambassador Cho Tae-yul said it would be inappropriate to link defensive exercises with provocations by North Korea.

However, history shows that suspending US-ROK military exercises can be an important factor in a successful diplomatic approach to the North. In 1992, the United States suspended Team Spirit, an annual field exercise involving hundreds of thousands of US-ROK troops. The Bush administration’s decision to suspend the 1992 exercises was a key part of a diplomatic strategy to encourage North Korea to cooperate on nuclear inspections. Team Spirit exercises were suspended again between 1994-1996, after which they were permanently cancelled. (Modified exercises resumed in 1997.)

The suspension of Team Spirit in 1994 was essential for preventing a military conflict with North Korea. Following North Korea’s announcement that it would produce weapons-grade plutonium, the United States was prepared to conduct surgical strikes on North Korea’s nuclear facilities. However, the risks of provoking a North Korean military response compelled the Clinton Administration to find a diplomatic solution.

The United States was able to avert a second Korean War by negotiating the 1994 Agreed Framework. This agreement froze North Korea’s plutonium production for eight years (1994 to 2002), during which time the North could have produced enough plutonium for more than 100 nuclear warheads. Suspending Team Spirit was a moderate, impactful adjustment to US-ROK military exercises that at no time undermined the alliance’s ability to mount an effective defense.

There are many options the Trump administration could consider to scale back or suspend military exercises as it explores negotiations with the North. In fact, the administration has demonstrated flexibility this year. In the spirit of the Winter Olympics in South Korea, the joint military exercises Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, which typically take place in March and involve more than 300,000 US-ROK troops, were postponed, shortened, and devoid of nuclear strategic assets. Foal Eagle is a large-scale Field Training Exercise, or a rehearsal of actual military maneuvers involving ground, air, and naval forces. It runs parallel to Key Resolve, a Command Post Exercise that does not typically involve large-scale field exercises. These exercises include scenarios that assume the deployment of THAAD, a US missile defense system that China has stated “gravely harms the strategic security interests” of countries in the region.

Ulchi Freedom Guardian is another Command Post Exercise that typically occurs in August. Although the exercises are largely computerized, they involve tens of thousands of US-ROK troops. According to one South Korean defense official, the last exercise included “a nuclear war game” for the first time. On June 18, 2018, the US announced the suspension of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise-- "[c]onsistent with President Donald J. Trump's commitment to North Korea and in concert with South Korea." 

Absent a peace settlement to formally end the Korean War, the United States and South Korea have been conducting military exercises under the auspices of the 1953 Mutual Defense Treaty. US military officials assert that joint exercises are carried out in the Treaty’s spirit of collective defense, but changes to the US-ROK exercise program’s size, scope, and purpose are consistent with the agreement.

As has happened before, US-ROK military exercises can be adapted to meet diplomatic and security objectives. There are several options that may mitigate tensions and lay the groundwork for dialogue:

  • Suspend. The US and South Korea could suspend major military exercises on the peninsula for as long as North Korea refrains from staging nuclear or missile tests. To address concerns that a suspension would compromise combat readiness, modified exercises could be held outside of South Korea.
  • Scale down. A special advisor to South Korean President Moon Jae-in has proposed that South Korea “scale down deployment of American strategic weapons over the Korean peninsula” in exchange for a freeze on North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities.
  • Redesign. US-ROK exercises could be redesigned to omit provocative scenarios, such as those described in OPLAN 5015. This newly adopted wartime plan includes strikes against nuclear facilities and the top North Korean leadership. So-called “decapitation” raids undermine the administration’s stated policy against regime change and reinforce North Korea’s narrative of US hostility.
  • Reassure. Another option is to offer North Korea forms of reassurance during US-ROK exercises. This could include inviting outside observers, such as China and Russia, to monitor the drills.

As history has shown, the adjustment or suspension of military exercises can foster a more favorable environment for dialogue between the United States and North Korea. These options should be considered in light of their past successes, and future prospects, to de-escalate crisis and promote dialogue on the Korean Peninsula.

US-ROK MILITARY EXERCISES
Name Date Size Range Purpose Notes
Team Spirit 1976-1993 100,000 – 200,000 Field Suspended in 1992, 1994, 1995, and 1996.
Foal Eagle 2007-Present 50,000-300,000 Field Replaced Team Spirit. 
Key Resolve Command
Ulchi Freedom Guardian 1976-Present 70,000-75,000 Command Resumes August 2018.

 

US-ROK military exercises can be adapted to meet diplomatic and security objectives.

Contact: Catherine Killough, ckillough@ploughshares.org(link sends e-mail)

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