The Situation in the Korean Peninsula
United Nations Security Council Study Guide
This document is the result of transcribing the original UN document from Microsoft Word text to HTML. This transcribed version of the UN document contains exactly the same text and illustrations as the original. While the NKhumanitarian Editors have also tried to faithfully reproduce the typography and structure of the original document, some changes in structure are inevitable as HTML documents do not contain pages as such. However the reader benefits from being able to navigate the transcribed document more easily by clicking on highlighted links in the text. Except for this note, all other text and illustrations are as found in the original document.
Study Guides are, contradictory to popular belief, not supposed to contain all the information on a certain topic. A good study guide consists of information that a delegate can use to gain basic information on the issue at hand and the links for further research that they must use to prepare for the final conference. All the information given in this guide is from an unbiased perspective and we have refrained from making judgments as much as possible if none has been made by the United Nations.
This study guide is divided into sections to permit a delegate to comfortably understand the implications of various aspects of the issue. The first section is about the Security Council and most probably the most fundamental of all. The functions and powers of all councils and committees are outlined by their mandate, which also defines the scope of debate in council. The mandate also defines what kind of actions can be taken by the Security Council and how it is separate from the actions taken by other councils.
The second section is a very practical and integral aspect of being a delegate in this Security Council. It will also help you in future MUNs. It clearly marks out the sources that will be accepted as proof/evidence in Council. There are two important things to be kept in mind regarding this section. Firstly, that in situations where the Executive Board asks a delegate for proof/evidence to back up their statements, no other sources will be accepted as credible besides those mentioned here. Secondly, these are the only sources which will provide you with correct facts as they themselves follow strict monitoring and checking while reporting or collaborating data. Research can be done from any source as such, but make sure you cross-check your statements and speeches with these sources to be on a safe side.
The major chunk of this guide is its substantive section which begins with a historical brief on the Korean War to provide the delegates with a historical perspective of the situation in the Korean Peninsula. From this section onwards, comprehensive footnotes have been added, giving links to the original news reports or the texts of any documents that have been mentioned. Delegates are urged to explore these footnotes for strengthening their research and understanding. The next part of the substantive section is divided into pre- and post-2009 and is given in the form of timelines which are summarized at the end. This has been done because a timeline helps to identify patterns and changes in foreign policy, their causes and consequences. The last part of the substantive section consists of the Briefs on certain topics central to the issue.
The category titled ‘Important Topics for discussion’ outlines the scope of debate in the council. What a delegate must understand is that this issue is not being discussed in the United Nations Security Council for the first time, and therefore, debate must take place on current problems rather than historical incidents and issues.
The last category provides links for further research that cannot be used as proof/evidence in council, but explain some issues better than the verified sources can because they are more analytical or use simpler language.
An advised pattern of research is the following:
- Understanding of the UN and the Committee – Mandate, etc.
- Research on the allotted country, especially with respect to the agenda, past policies or actions taken
- Understanding the Foreign Policy of the allotted country by studying past actions, their causes and consequences
- Reading the Study Guide
- Researching further upon the Agenda using the footnotes and links given in the guide
- Prepare topics for moderated caucuses and their content
- Assemble proof/evidence for any important piece of information/allegation you are going to use in committee
- Keep your research updated using news websites given in the Proof section.
Under the Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 Members, and each Member has one vote. Under the Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.
The Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.
The Security Council also recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and the admission of new Members to the United Nations. And, together with the General Assembly, it elects the judges of the International Court of Justice.
You are also advised to look into the Practice of the UN Security Council and how the Charter affects the same. This will be highly informative as to the inner workings of the SC and hence, debate on it.
Evidence or proof is acceptable from sources:
A. News Sources:
- REUTERS – Any Reuters article which clearly makes mention of the fact or is in contradiction of the fact being stated by a delegate in council. (http://www.reuters.com/)
- State operated News Agencies – These reports can be used in the support of or against the State that owns the News Agency. These reports, if credible or substantial enough, can be used in support of or against any country as such but in that situation, they can be denied by any other country in the council. Some examples are,
B. Government Reports: These reports can be used in a similar way as the State Operated News Agencies reports and can, in all circumstances, be denied by another country. However, a nuance is that a report that is being denied by a certain country can still be accepted by the Executive Board as credible information. Examples are,
- Government Websites like the State Department of the United States of America http://www.state.gov/index.htm or the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation http://www.eng.mil.ru/en/index.htm
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of various nations like India (http://www.mea.gov.in/ ), People’s Republic of China (http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/), France (http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/), Russian Federation (http://www.mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/main_eng)
- Permanent Representatives to the United Nations Reports http://www.un.org/en/members/ (Click on any country to get the website of the Office of its Permanent Representative.)
- Multilateral Organizations like the NATO (http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/index.htm ), ASEAN (http://www.aseansec.org/), OPEC (http://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/), etc.
C. UN Reports: All UN Reports are considered are credible information or evidence for the Executive Board of the Security Council.
- UN Bodies: Like the SC(http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/), GA(http://www.un.org/en/ga/ ), HRC(http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/HRCIndex.aspx) etc.
- UN Affiliated Bodies like the International Atomic Energy Agency (http://www.iaea.org/), World Bank (http://www.worldbank.org/), International Monetary Fund (http://www.imf.org/external/index.htm), International Committee of the Red Cross (http://www.icrc.org/eng/index.jsp), etc.
- Treaty Based Bodies like the Antarctic Treaty System (http://www.ats.aq/e/ats.htm), the International Criminal Court (http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ICC)
Under no circumstances will sources like Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.org/), Amnesty International (http://www.amnesty.org/), Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org/) or newspapers like the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/), Times of India (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/), etc. be accepted.
The Korean War of 1950–53 was the first military action of the Cold War. During World War II, the Allies discussed the future of Korea in the postwar period. The United States, Great Britain, and the Republic of China had met at Cairo in 1943, where they agreed that after its defeat, Japan would be stripped of all of its colonies, including Korea. As the war drew to a close in August of 1945, it was decided that the Soviet Union take responsibility for accepting the surrender of Japanese troops in the part of the Korean peninsula north of the 38th parallel, whereas U.S. troops would receive the surrender south of that line.
At the Potsdam Conference (July–August 1945), the Allies unilaterally decided to divide Korea in contradiction to the Cairo Declaration. In December 1945, Korea was administered by a United States–Soviet Union Joint Commission, as agreed at the Moscow Conference (1945). The Koreans were excluded from the talks. The commission decided the country would become independent after a five-year trusteeship action facilitated by each régime sharing its sponsor’s ideology. South Korea convoked its first national general elections on 10 May, 1948, which the Soviet Union first opposed, then boycotted. The Republic of Korea was established on 15 August 1948 while North Korea held parliamentary elections on 25 August, 1948.
In 1948, under a UN agreement, the Soviet Union withdrew their military forces from Korea, while the United States did the same in 1949, but both left large numbers of advisors on the peninsula. The two sides were to continue negotiations over elections to reunify the country.
The war formally began when the DPRK crossed the demarcation line and attacked the ROK on June 25, 1950. Upon hearing news of the attack, the United States immediately called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, which the Soviet Union was then boycotting over the issue of Chinese representation. On 25 June 1950, the United Nations Security Council unanimously condemned the North Korean invasion of the Republic of Korea, with United Nations Security Council Resolution 82. After further debating the matter, the Security Council, on 27 June 1950, published Resolution 83 recommending member states provide military assistance to the Republic of Korea.
By mid-1950, North Korean forces numbered between 150,000 and 200,000 troops. In contrast, the ROK Army defenders were vastly unprepared. However, with the intervention of the UN Mandated forces (88% of which belonged to the United States of America), the outcome changed and on September 25, Seoul was recaptured and on 29 September, General Douglas MacArthur re-established the government of Republic of Korea. By 1 October 1950, the UN Command repelled the KPA northwards, past the 38th parallel; the ROK Army crossed after them, into North Korea. Six days later, on 7 October, with UN authorization, the UN Command forces followed the ROK forces northwards, resulting in the capture of Pyongyang City, North Korea’s capital, on 19 October 1950.
Mao Zedong, with the promise of air and material support from Stalin, ordered Chinese troops to intervene in the Korean War and the first offensive was launched on 25 October 1950. Following the combined KPA and PVA offensives, Seoul was recaptured on 4 January 1951, but was taken by the UN and South Korean forces on 7 March 1951. Fighting ended on 27 July 1953, with an armistice that approximately restored the original boundaries between North and South Korea.
More information can be sought on the topic from the following links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_War – ONLY FOR GENERAL INFORMATION. The facts on Wikipedia is not verified/credible, therefore, this article is only for knowledge purposes and should not be quoted in Council. This applies to ALL Wikipedia articles.
Timeline of the Korean War according to United States of America (Official Website for the State of New Jersey) – http://www.nj.gov/military/korea/timeline_1950.html
December 12, 1985: North Korea accedes to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) but does not complete a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Under Article III of the NPT, North Korea has 18 months to conclude such an arrangement. In coming years, North Korea links adherence to this provision of the treaty to the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from South Korea.
September 27, 1991: President George Bush announces the unilateral withdrawal of all naval and land-based tactical nuclear weapons deployed abroad. Approximately 100 U.S. nuclear weapons had been based in South Korea. Eight days later, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev reciprocates.
November 8, 1991: In response to President Bush’s unilateral move, President Roh Tae Woo of South Korea announces the Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, under which South Korea promises not to produce, possess, store, deploy, or use nuclear weapons. In addition, the declaration unilaterally prohibits South Korea from possessing nuclear reprocessing or uranium enrichment facilities. These promises, if enacted, would satisfy all of North Korea’s conditions for allowing IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities.
December 31, 1991: The two Koreas sign the South-North Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Under the declaration, both countries agree not to “test, manufacture, produce, receive, possess, store, deploy or use nuclear weapons” or to “possess nuclear reprocessing and uranium enrichment facilities.” They also agree to mutual inspections for verification.
January 30, 1992: More than six years after signing the NPT, North Korea concludes a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
April 9, 1992: North Korea ratifies the safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
May 4, 1992: North Korea submits its nuclear material declarations to the IAEA, declaring seven sites and some 90 grams of plutonium that could be subject to IAEA inspection. Pyongyang claims that the nuclear material was the result of reprocessing 89 defective fuel rods in 1989. The IAEA conducted inspections to verify the completeness of this declaration from mid-1992 to early 1993.
September 1992: IAEA inspectors discover discrepancies in North Korea’s “initial report” on its nuclear program and ask for clarification on several issues, including the amount of reprocessed plutonium in North Korea.
February 9, 1993: The IAEA demands special inspections of two sites that are believed to store nuclear waste. The request is based on strong evidence that North Korea has been cheating on its commitments under the NPT. North Korea refuses the IAEA’s request.
March 12, 1993: Amid demands for special inspections, North Korea announces its intention to withdraw from the NPT in three months, citing Article X provisions that allow withdrawal for supreme national security considerations.
April 1, 1993: The IAEA declares that North Korea is not adhering to its safeguards agreement and that it cannot guarantee that North Korean nuclear material is not being diverted for non-peaceful uses.
June 11, 1993: Following talks with the United States in New York, North Korea suspends its decision to pull out of the NPT just before the withdrawal would have become legally effective. North Korea also agrees to the full and impartial application of IAEA safeguards.
For its part, the United States grants assurances against the threat and use of force, including nuclear weapons. Washington also promises not to interfere with North Korea’s internal affairs.
July 19, 1993: After a second round of talks with the United States, North Korea announces in a joint statement that it is “prepared to begin consultations with the IAEA on outstanding safeguards and other issues” and that it is ready to negotiate IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities. The joint statement also indicates that Pyongyang might consider a deal with the United States to replace its graphite nuclear reactors with light-water reactors (LWRs), which are proliferation resistant.
February 15, 1994: North Korea finalizes an agreement with the IAEA to allow inspections of all seven of its declared nuclear facilities, averting sanctions by the United Nations Security Council.
March 1, 1994: IAEA inspectors arrive in North Korea for the first inspections since 1993.
March 21, 1994: Responding to North Korea’s refusal to allow the inspection team to inspect a plutonium reprocessing plant at Yongbyon, the IAEA Board of Governors approves a resolution calling on North Korea to “immediately allow the IAEA to complete all requested inspection activities and to comply fully with its safeguards agreements.”
May 19, 1994: The IAEA confirms that North Korea has begun removing spent fuel from its 5-megawatt nuclear research reactor even though international monitors were not present. The United States and the IAEA had insisted that inspectors be present for any such action because spent fuel can potentially be reprocessed for use in nuclear weapons.
June 13, 1994: North Korea announces its withdrawal from the IAEA. This is distinct from pulling out of the NPT–North Korea is still required to undergo IAEA inspections as part of its NPT obligations. The IAEA contends that North Korea’s safeguards agreement remains in force. However, North Korea no longer participates in IAEA functions as a member state.
June 15, 1994: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter negotiates a deal with North Korea in which Pyongyang confirms its willingness to “freeze” its nuclear weapons program and resume high-level talks with the United States. Bilateral talks are expected to begin, provided that North Korea allows the IAEA safeguards to remain in place, does not refuel its 5-megawatt nuclear reactor, and does not reprocess any spent nuclear fuel.
July 9, 1994: North Korean President Kim Il Sung dies and is succeeded by his son, Kim Jong Il.
August 12, 1994: An “agreed statement” is signed that establishes a three-stage process for the elimination of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. In return, the United States promises to move toward normalized economic and diplomatic relations and assures North Korea that it will provide assistance with the construction of proliferation-resistant LWRs to replace North Korea’s graphite-moderated reactors.
October 21, 1994: The United States and North Korea conclude four months of negotiations by adopting the “Agreed Framework” in Geneva. To resolve U.S. concerns about Pyongyang’s plutonium-producing reactors and the Yongbyon reprocessing facility, the agreement calls for North Korea to freeze and eventually eliminate its nuclear facilities, a process that will require dismantling three nuclear reactors, two of which are still under construction. North Korea also allows the IAEA to verify compliance through “special inspections,” and it agrees to allow 8,000 spent nuclear reactor fuel elements to be removed to a third country.
In exchange, Pyongyang will receive two LWRs and annual shipments of heavy fuel oil during construction of the reactors. The LWRs will be financed and constructed through the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), a multinational consortium.
Calling for movement toward full normalization of political and economic relations, the accord also serves as a jumping-off point for U.S.-North Korean dialogue on Pyongyang’s development and export of ballistic missiles, as well as other issues of bilateral concern.
April 21-22, 1996: The United States and North Korea meet in Berlin for their first round of bilateral missile talks. The United States reportedly suggests that North Korea should adhere to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a voluntary international agreement aimed at controlling sales of ballistic missile systems, components, and technology. North Korea allegedly demands that the United States provide compensation for lost missile-related revenue.
May 24, 1996: The United States imposes sanctions on North Korea and Iran for missile technology-related transfers. The sanctions prohibit any imports or exports to sanctioned firms and to those sectors of the North Korean economy that are considered missile-related. The pre-existing general ban on trade with both countries makes the sanctions largely symbolic.
June 11-13, 1997: The second round of U.S.-North Korean missile talks takes place in New York, with U.S. negotiators pressing North Korea not to deploy the Nodong missile and to end sales of Scud missiles and their components. The parties reach no agreement but reportedly lay the foundation for future talks.
April 17, 1998: The United States imposes sanctions on North Korea and Pakistan in response to Pyongyang’s transfer of missile technology and components to Pakistan’s Khan Research Laboratory.
June 16, 1998: The official Korean Central News Agency reports that Pyongyang will only end its missile technology exports if it is suitably compensated for financial losses.
July 15, 1998: The bipartisan Rumsfeld Commission concludes that the United States may have “little or no warning” before facing a long-range ballistic missile threat from “rogue states,” such as North Korea and Iran.
August 31, 1998: North Korea launches a three-stage Taepo Dong-1 rocket with a range of 1,500-2,000 kilometers that flies over Japan. Pyongyang announces that the rocket successfully placed a small satellite into orbit, a claim contested by U.S. Space Command. Japan suspends signature of a cost-sharing agreement for the Agreed Framework’s LWR project until November 1998. The U.S. intelligence community admits to being surprised by North Korea’s advances in missile-staging technology and its use of a solid-rocket motor for the missile’s third stage.
October 1, 1998: The third round of U.S.-North Korean missile talks begins in New York but makes little progress. The United States repeats its request for Pyongyang to terminate its missile programs in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. North Korea rejects the U.S. proposal on the grounds that the lifting of sanctions is implicit in the 1994 Agreed Framework.
September 7-12, 1999: During talks in Berlin, North Korea agrees to a moratorium on testing any long-range missiles for the duration of talks with the United States. The United States agrees to a partial lifting of economic sanctions on North Korea. The two parties agree to continue high-level discussions. (Sanctions are not actually lifted until June 2000.)
December 15, 1999: Five years after the Agreed Framework was signed, KEDO officials sign a turn-key contract with the Korea Electric Power Corporation to begin construction on the two LWRs in Kumho, North Korea. KEDO officials attribute the delay in signing the contract to complex legal and financial challenges and the tense political climate generated by the North Korean Taepo Dong-1 test in August 1998.
June 15, 2000: Following a historic summit, North and South Korea sign a joint declaration stating they have “agreed to resolve” the question of reunification of the Korean Peninsula. The agreement includes promises to reunite families divided by the Korean War and to pursue other economic and cultural exchanges. No commitments are made regarding nuclear weapons or missile programs or military deployments in the Demilitarized Zone.
June 19, 2000: Apparently encouraged by the North-South summit, the United States relaxes sanctions on North Korea, allowing a “wide range” of trade in commercial and consumer goods, easing restrictions on investment, and eliminating prohibitions on direct personal and commercial financial transactions. Sanctions related to terrorism and missile proliferation remain in place. The next day, North Korea reaffirms its moratorium on missile tests.
July 12, 2000: The fifth round of U.S.-North Korean missile talks in Kuala Lumpur end without resolution. During the meeting, North Korea repeats its demand for compensation, stated as $1 billion per year, in return for halting missile exports. The United States rejects this proposal but says that it is willing to move toward “economic normalization” in return for addressing U.S. concerns.
November 1-3, 2000: A seventh round of missile talks between Pyongyang and Washington ends without an agreement in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The failure to build upon the momentum derived from Secretary Albright’s recent meeting with Kim Jong-Il diminished hopes of a presidential trip to North Korea before the end of President Clinton’s term.
June 6, 2001: In a press release, President Bush announces the completion of his administration’s North Korea policy review and its determination that “serious discussions” on a “broad agenda” should be resumed with Pyongyang. Bush states his desire to conduct “comprehensive” negotiations, including “improved implementation of the Agreed Framework,” “verifiable constraints” on North Korea’s missile programs, a ban on North Korea’s missile exports, and “a less threatening conventional military posture.”
August 4, 2001: During a meeting in Moscow with President Putin, Kim Jong Il reaffirms his pledge to maintain a moratorium on ballistic missile flight-tests until 2003.
January 29, 2002: In his State of the Union address, President Bush criticized North Korea for “arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.” Bush characterized North Korea, along with Iraq and Iran, as constituting an “axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.”
August 7, 2002: KEDO holds a ceremony to mark the pouring of the concrete foundation for the first LWR that the United States agreed to provide North Korea under the Agreed Framework. Jack Pritchard, the U.S. representative to KEDO and State Department special envoy for negotiations with North Korea, attends the ceremony. Pritchard is the most senior U.S. official to visit North Korea since former Secretary of State Albright in October 2000.
The United States urges North Korea to comply with IAEA safeguarding procedures for all its nuclear facilities as soon as possible, but Pyongyang states that it will not do so for at least three years. A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman also states that delays in completing the reactor project might motivate Pyongyang to pull out of the agreement.
August 16, 2002: The United States imposes sanctions on Changgwang Sinyong Corporation of North Korea and on the North Korean government itself for transferring missile technology to Yemen. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer states August 23 that the sanctions were a “pro forma requirement under the law for the State Department” and that Washington remains willing to “talk with North Korea any time, any place.”
September 17, 2002: North Korea announces that it will indefinitely extend its moratorium on missile testing as part of the North Korea-Japan Pyongyang Declaration signed during a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
A portion of the North Korea-Japan declaration references nuclear weapons, saying that the two countries “affirmed the pledge to observe all the international agreements for a comprehensive solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.” It is unclear whether this statement simply affirms a commitment to existing agreements or signals support for additional arms control measures.
October 3-5, 2002: James Kelly, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, visits North Korea. The highest-ranking administration official to visit Pyongyang, Kelly reiterates U.S. concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, export 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 DPRK to take all necessary countermeasures, pursuant to the army-based policy whose validity has been proven.”
October 16, 2002: The United States announces that North Korea admitted to having a clandestine program to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons after James Kelly, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, confronted representatives from Pyongyang during an October 3-5 visit. Kelly later explained that the North Korean 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.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher states that “North Korea’s secret nuclear weapons program is a serious violation of North Korea’s commitments under the Agreed Framework as well as under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, its International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards agreement, and the Joint North-South Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Boucher also says that the United States wants North Korea to comply with its nonproliferation commitments and seeks “a peaceful resolution of this situation.”
November 5, 2002: North Korea threatens to end its moratorium on ballistic missile tests if North Korea-Japan normalization talks do not achieve progress.
November 14, 2002: KEDO announces that it is suspending heavy-fuel oil deliveries to North Korea in response to Pyongyang’s October 4 acknowledgement that it has a uranium-enrichment program. The last shipment reached North Korea November 18.
November 29, 2002: The IAEA adopts a resolution calling upon North Korea to “clarify” its “reported uranium-enrichment program.” North Korea rejects the resolution, saying the IAEA’s position is biased in favor of the United States.
December 9, 2002: Spanish and U.S. forces intercept and search a ship carrying a shipment of North Korean Scud missiles and related cargo to Yemen. The United States allows the shipment to be delivered because it lacks the necessary legal authority to seize the cargo. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says that Washington had intelligence that the ship was carrying missiles to the Middle East and was concerned that its ultimate destination might have been Iraq.
December 12, 2002: North Korea sends a letter to the IAEA announcing that it is restarting its one functional reactor and is reopening the other nuclear facilities frozen under the Agreed Framework. The letter requests that the IAEA remove the seals and monitoring equipment from its nuclear facilities. A North Korean spokesman blames the United States for violating the Agreed Framework and says that the purpose of restarting the reactor is to generate electricity-an assertion disputed by U.S. officials.
A November 27 Congressional Research Service report states that the reactor could annually produce enough plutonium for one bomb. The CIA states in a 2002 report to Congress that the spent-fuel rods “contain enough plutonium for several more [nuclear] weapons.”
U.S. estimates on North Korea’s current nuclear status differ. A State Department official said January 3, 2003 that the U.S. intelligence community believes North Korea already possesses one or two nuclear weapons made from plutonium produced before the negotiation of the Agreed Framework. The CIA publicly estimates that Pyongyang “has produced enough plutonium” for one or two weapons.
December 14, 2002: North Korea states in a letter to the IAEA that the status of its nuclear facilities is a matter between the United States and North Korea and “not pursuant to any agreement” with the IAEA. The letter further declares that North Korea will take unilateral action to remove seals and monitoring cameras if the IAEA does not act.
December 22-24, 2002: North Korea cuts all seals and disrupts IAEA surveillance equipment on its nuclear facilities and materials. An IAEA spokesman says December 26 that North Korea 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.
January 6, 2003: The IAEA Board of Governors adopts a resolution condemning North Korea’s decision to restart its nuclear reactor and resume operation of its related facilities. The resolution “deplores” North Korea’s action “in the strongest terms” and calls on Pyongyang to meet “immediately, as a first step” with IAEA officials. It also calls on North Korea to re-establish the seals and monitoring equipment it dismantled, comply fully with agency safeguards, clarify details about its reported uranium-enrichment program, and allow the agency to verify that all North Korea’s nuclear material is “declared and…subject to safeguards.”
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 that 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.
February 12, 2003: Responding to North Korea’s rejection of the November 2002 and January 2003 IAEA resolutions, the IAEA Board of Governors adopts a resolution declaring Pyongyang in “further non-compliance” with its obligations under the NPT. The board decides to report the matter to the UN Security Council, in accordance with agency mandates.
February 27, 2003: U.S. officials confirm North Korea has restarted the five-megawatt nuclear reactor that had been frozen by the Agreed Framework.
March 19, 2003: North Korea again signals that it might not adhere to its moratorium on testing long-range missiles, asserting in a KCNA statement dated March 19, that it has the “sovereign right” to have a “peaceful” missile program. North Korea conducted missile tests February 24 and March 10, but both tests involved short-range missiles that did not violate the moratorium.
April 23-25, 2003: The United States, North Korea, and China hold trilateral talks in Beijing. North Korea tells the U.S. delegation that it possesses nuclear weapons, according to Boucher on April 28. This constitutes the first time that Pyongyang has made such an admission.
North Korea also tells the U.S. delegation that it has completed reprocessing the spent nuclear fuel from the five-megawatt reactor frozen under the Agreed Framework, according to Secretary of State Colin Powell during an April 30 hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Boucher adds that the North Korean delegation told the U.S. officials that Pyongyang “might get rid of all their nuclear programs…[and] stop their missile exports.” Powell states April 28 that North Korea expects “something considerable in return” for this effort.
August 27-29, 2003: The first round of six-party talks is held in Beijing. The talks achieve no significant breakthroughs. 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 export of missiles and related components. North Korea issues an explicit denial for the first time that it has a uranium-enrichment program.
The North Korean delegation, however, also threatens to test nuclear weapons or “demonstrate the means that they would have to deliver” them, according to a senior State Department official.
November 6, 2003: North Korean ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ri Yong Ho, tells Reuters that North Korea possesses a workable nuclear device.
November 21, 2003: The KEDO Executive Board announces that it will suspend construction of two light-water nuclear reactors for one year beginning December 1. The Board adds that the project’s future “will be assessed and decided by the Executive Board before the expiration of the suspension period.” Department of State spokesperson Adam Ereli said November 5, however, that Bush administration believes there is “no future for the project.”
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 2004, as well as a working group meeting to be held beforehand.
South Korea’s deputy foreign minister, Lee Soo-hyuck, issues a proposal–which China and Russia both support–to provide energy assistance to the North in return for a freeze of its nuclear program, along with a promise to dismantle it.
Wang Yi, China’s envoy to the six-party talks, states afterwards that “sharp” differences remain between Washington and Pyongyang. According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, two specific issues divide North Korea and other participants. The first is that the United States, Japan, and South Korea want all of North Korea’s nuclear programs to be dismantled, but North Korea wishes to be allowed to retain one for “peaceful purposes.” The second is that Washington and the other two governments want Pyongyang to acknowledge that it has a uranium-enrichment program.
June 23-26, 2004: A third round of six-party talks is held in Beijing. The United States 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 to first 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 Pyongyang 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.” According to the Foreign Ministry, the length of the freeze depends on “whether reward is made or not.”
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.
March 2, 2005: North Korea’s Foreign Ministry states that Pyongyang is no longer bound by its more than five-year-old moratorium on flight-testing longer-range missiles. Pyongyang, however, does not say it will resume such testing.
Early April, 2005: The United States sends an urgent diplomatic message to allies notifying them of U.S. concerns that North Korea might conduct a nuclear test.
July 9, 2005: After a meeting between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill and North Korean Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, North Korea announces its return to the six-party talks. According to a KCNA statement, the “U.S. side clarified its official stand to recognize [North Korea] as a sovereign state, not to invade it and hold bilateral talks within the framework of the six-party talks.”
July 26, 2005: A new round of six-party talks begins in Beijing. The talks include an unprecedented number of U.S.-North Korean bilateral talks. North Korea continued to deny that it has a “uranium-based nuclear weapons program”. Pyongyang suggested that it would “clarify” any relevant, “credible information or evidence” presented by the United States in that regard.
The participants agree August 7 to recess for several weeks. The talks resume September 13.
September 15, 2005: The Department of the Treasury designates a Macau bank, Banco Delta Asia, as a “primary money laundering concern” under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act, freezing about $25 million in North Korean funds. A department press release states that the bank has provided services to North Korean “government agencies and front companies,” adding that “[e]vidence exists that some of these agencies and front companies are engaged in illicit activities,” such as drug trafficking. The bank also has also circulated North Korean-produced counterfeit U.S. currency, the press release alleges.
September 19, 2005: The participants in the six-party talks conclude a joint statement of principles to guide future negotiations.
According to the statement, North Korea commits “to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons 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.” Washington affirms in the statement that it has no intention to attack or invade North Korea.
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-upon obligations and rewards “in a phased manner in line with the principle of ‘commitment for commitment, action for action.'”
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. This issue had been controversial during the negotiations and the final agreement was the result of a compromise between Washington and Pyongyang. 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 while the United States argued that North Korea should not receive any nuclear reactors.
November 9-11, 2005: The fifth round of the six-party talks begins in Beijing.
South Korea and Japan present concrete plans for implementing the September statement. Both countries propose that the participants separate outstanding issues into three categories: the dismantlement of Pyongyang’s nuclear program, provision of economic and energy assistance to North Korea, and Pyongyang’s bilateral issues with Washington and Tokyo.
Disagreements between Washington and Pyongyang continue to block progress. The North Korean delegation focuses almost exclusively on the funds frozen by the September Banco Delta Asia designation.
December 19, 2005: North Korea announces that it will “pursue” the construction of larger “graphite-moderated reactors,” an apparent reference to the two reactors whose construction had been frozen under the Agreed Framework in Pyongyang’s most definitive public statement on the matter.
April 13, 2006: North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan tells reporters that Pyongyang would return to the talks if the United States lifted the freeze of Banco Delta Asia’s funds, which total approximately $25 million.
June 1, 2006: The KEDO Executive Board announces that it has formally terminated its project to build two light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea.
The board says its decision was based on the “continued and extended failure” of North Korea to comply with its relevant obligations under the 1994 Agreed Framework.
According to South Korea’s Unification Ministry, KEDO’s executive board adopted a resolution the previous day saying that Seoul is to “cover the costs arising from the liquidation process,” of the KEDO assets, such as resolving compensation claims from subcontractors. In return, the government-owned Korea Electric Power Corp., the prime contractor for the reactor project, would gain ownership over reactor “equipment and materials” located outside of North Korea. The fate of assets remaining in North Korea, such as vehicles and construction equipment, is unclear.
July 4-5, 2006: North Korea test fires seven ballistic missiles, including its longest-range missile, the Taepo Dong-2. The other six tests include a combination of short- and medium-range Scud-C and Nodong ballistic missiles, 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.
A July 4 State Department press statement describes the launches as a “provocative act” that violated North Korea’s voluntary moratorium on flight-testing longer-range missiles, which Pyongyang had observed since September 1999.
Japan and South Korea punish North Korea for conducting the tests, with Tokyo imposing sanctions on Pyongyang and Seoul halting food and fertilizer assistance.
July 15, 2006: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1695 condemning North Korea’s missile launches. The resolution calls on Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks and “demands” that the country suspend its ballistic-missile activities and re-establish its 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. In addition, 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.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry states the next day that Pyongyang will “not be bound” by the resolution.
September 19, 2006: Japan and Australia announce that they have adopted sanctions targeting multiple foreign entities tied to North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs in response to resolution 1695.
The two countries each punish the same 12 organizations, as well as a Swiss citizen. All entities are already subject to similar U.S. sanctions. Japan also sanctions three additional institutions.
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 “do its utmost to realize the denuclearization of the [Korean] peninsula.”
October 9, 2006: North Korea conducts an underground nuclear test near the village of P’unggye. Most early analyses of the test based on seismic data collected by South Korean, Japanese, and U.S. institutes estimates the yield to be below one kiloton. Russian estimates differed significantly, and Foreign Minister Sergei Ivanov said that the estimated yield was between 5 and 15 kilotons.
October 11, 2006: North Korea’s Foreign Ministry states that its “nuclear test was entirely attributable to the US nuclear threat, sanctions and pressure,” adding that North Korea “was compelled to substantially prove its possession of nukes to protect its sovereignty.” The statement also indicates that North Korea might conduct further nuclear tests if the United States “increases pressure” on the country.
However, the Foreign Ministry also says that North Korea remains committed to implementing the September 2005 joint statement, arguing that the test “constitutes a positive measure for its implementation.” Additionally, Pyongyang “still remains unchanged in its will to denuclearize the peninsula through dialogue and negotiations,” the Foreign Ministry statement says, adding that the “denuclearization of the entire peninsula was President Kim Il Sung’s last instruction and an ultimate goal” of North Korea.
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. It also imposes additional sanctions on commerce with Pyongyang, widening the range of prohibited transactions beyond those banned under Resolution 1695.
November 28-December 1, 2006: The Chinese, North Korean, South Korean, and U.S. envoys to the six-party talks hold consultations in Beijing to discuss resuming the fifth round of talks. During the consultations, North Korean envoy Kim Gye Gwan states that North Korea is ready to implement the September 19, 2005 joint statement and abandon its nuclear program, but would not do so “unilaterally.”
December 18-22, 2006: The fifth round of six-party talks resumes in Beijing. The United States presents a multistage denuclearization plan, but the talks make no progress towards implementing the September 19, 2005 joint statement—in part due to continued disagreements regarding the North Korean funds frozen by the United States in Banco Delta Asia. The parties agree to meet again “at the earliest opportunity.”
February 8-13, 2007: The six-party talks concludes its fifth round with an agreed “action plan” of initial steps to implement the September 19, 2005 joint statement on North Korea’s denuclearization.
According to the action plan, North Korea is to halt the operation of its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon during a 60-day initial phase in return for an initial shipment of 50,000 tons of heavy-fuel oil.
The action plan also establishes five working groups to “discuss and formulate specific plans” regarding: economic and energy cooperation; denuclearization; implementation of a “Northeast Asia Peace and Security Mechanism;” North Korean relations with the United States; and North Korean relations with Japan.
The statement indicates that, following the shutdown of North Korea’s nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, Pyongyang is to provide a complete declaration of all of its nuclear programs and disable all of its existing nuclear facilities in return for an additional 950,000 tons of heavy-fuel oil or its equivalent.
In addition to helping to provide energy aid to North Korea, the United States agrees to begin the process of removing Pyongyang from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and to stop the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act toward North Korea.
March 13-14, 2007: IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei visits North Korea and meets with three officials, including the head of the North Korean General Department of Atomic Energy, Ri Je Son. During the meetings, ElBaradei invites North Korea to return to the IAEA as a member state and discusses the agency’s monitoring and verification role during the implementation of a February 13 six-party talks agreement.
March 19-22, 2007: The sixth round of six-party talks begins in Beijing. The discussions are suspended when North Korean negotiators fly home after four days, explaining that they will not participate until the United States transfers $25 million in frozen North Korean funds held in Banco Delta Asia.
On March 19, Treasury Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Daniel Glaser announces that the two countries had “reached an understanding” regarding the frozen funds, with Washington accepting a North Korean proposal that the funds would be transferred to a North Korean account in the Bank of China in Beijing. North Korea also pledges that the funds “will be used solely for the betterment of the North Korean people, including for humanitarian and educational purposes.”
June 25, 2007: A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman confirms that the Banco Delta Asia funds were transferred to Pyongyang and that North Korea would begin shutting down its Yongbyon nuclear facilities. An IAEA delegation led by Deputy Director-General for safeguards Ollie Heinonen arrives in Pyongyang the following day to discuss the verification procedures for the shutdown.
July 16, 2007: The IAEA confirms the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities.
July 18-20, 2007: The six-party talks reconvene its sixth round in Beijing. The meeting concludes with a joint communiqué indicating that the five working groups will all meet by the end of August in preparation for another round of plenary talks in September.
September 27-October 3, 2007: The sixth round of six-party talks meets to discuss how to proceed with the second phase of the February 13 agreement. On October 3, the participants issue a joint statement in which North Korea agrees that, by December 31, it would provide a “complete and correct declaration of all its nuclear programs – including clarification regarding the uranium issue,” and disable its Yongbyon nuclear facilities. Pyongyang also agrees to disable all other nuclear facilities subject to the September 2005 joint statement and not to transfer nuclear material or technology abroad.
In return, the six-parties agree that North Korea would receive the remaining 900,000 tons of heavy-fuel oil or its equivalent pledged in the February 13 agreement.
The United States also agrees that it will fulfill its commitments to begin removing North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and “advance the process of terminating the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act” toward North Korea “in parallel with” North Korea’s denuclearization actions.
October 2-4, 2007: South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun travels to Pyongyang to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to discuss prospects for reconciliation and economic cooperation. It is the second time in history that such summit-level discussions have been held.
The summit concludes with an eight-point joint declaration in which both sides agree to take steps toward reunification, ease military tensions, expand meetings of separated families, and engage in social and cultural exchanges. The declaration also expresses a “shared understanding” by the two countries “on the need for ending the current armistice mechanism and building a permanent peace mechanism.”
February 25, 2008: South Korean President-elect Lee Myung-bak is inaugurated.
June 26, 2008: Pyongyang delivers a declaration of its nuclear programs to China, the six-party talks chair. The declaration reportedly indicates that North Korea separated a total of about 30 kilograms of plutonium, and used about 2 kilograms for its 2006 nuclear test.
In return for North Korea’s declaration, President George W. Bush rescinds the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act toward Pyongyang, and notifies Congress of his intention to remove North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism after 45 days, in accordance with U.S. law.
July 12, 2008: The participants in the six-party talks issue a statement outlining broadly the process for verifying North Korea’s nuclear programs. The six parties agree that experts from those countries will be involved in visits to nuclear facilities, the review of documents related to North Korea’s nuclear program, and the interview of technical personnel. The statement also establishes a timeline for completing the disablement of North Korea’s key nuclear facilities and the energy assistance being provided to Pyongyang in return, stating that both processes would be “fully implemented in parallel.”
September 24, 2008: The IAEA issues a press statement indicating that, at Pyongyang’s request, the agency completed removing seals from North Korea’s reprocessing facility. The statement also said that North Korea informed the agency that it would begin introducing nuclear material at that facility “in one week’s time” and that inspectors would no longer have access to the plant.
October 11, 2008: U.S. officials hold a State Department press briefing to announce a preliminary agreement with Pyongyang on measures to verify North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs. The agreement consists of a written joint document and verbal understandings which they say must be approved by the other four six-party talks participants. According to a State Department summary, the new agreement gives inspectors access to all 15 declared sites related to North Korea’s plutonium production program as well as undeclared sites “by mutual consent.” It also allows inspectors to carry out “scientific procedures” such as sampling.
In response to the verification agreement, the United States removes North Korea from the State Department’s terrorism list.
October 13, 2008: KCNA issues a North Korean Foreign Ministry statement indicating that, following its removal from the State Department’s terrorism list, Pyongyang will resume disabling its key nuclear facilities at the Yongbyon nuclear complex.
February 24, 2009: KCNA states that “preparations for launching [an] experimental communications satellite…are now making brisk headway.” The United States, Japan, and South Korea later warn North Korea that its planned satellite launch would be in violation of a UN Security Council resolution 1718 and indicate that the council would consider the issue for further action, should North Korea go through with the launch.
March 11, 2009: North Korean authorities inform the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization that they will launch a satellite launch vehicle between April 4 and 8. North Korea provides these agencies with information regarding expected “dangerous area coordinates” where two of the rocket’s three stages are expected to fall.
March 13, 2009: South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan tells reporters that South Korea may need to review the possibility of formally joining the Proliferation Security Initiative in response to the upcoming North Korean rocket launch.
April 5, 2009: North Korea launches the three-stage Unha-2 rocket, widely believed to be a modified version of its long range Taepo Dong-2 ballistic missile. Although North Korea claims the rocket placed a satellite into orbit, U.S. Northern Command reports that the first stage landed in the Sea of Japan, and that the remaining stages, along with the payload fell into the Pacific Ocean.
April 13, 2009: The UN Security Council issues a presidential statement condemning North Korea’s April 5 rocket launch, and declaring it “in contravention of Security Council resolution 1718.” The statement also calls for strengthening the punitive measures under that resolution.
April 14, 2009: In response to UN Security Council statement, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry indicates that Pyongyang is withdrawing from the six-party talks and “will no longer be bound” by any of its agreements. North Korea also says that it will reverse steps taken to disable its nuclear facilities under six-party agreements in 2007 and will “fully reprocess” the 8,000 spent fuel rods from its Yongbyon reactor in order to extract plutonium for nuclear weapons.
April 16, 2009: North Korea ejects IAEA and U.S. monitors from the Yongbyon nuclear complex.
May 25, 2009: North Korea conducts its second underground nuclear test a few kilometers from its 2006 test site near the village of P’unggye. Following the test North Korea announces that “the results of the test helped satisfactorily settle the scientific and technological problems arising in furthering increasing the power of nuclear weapons and steadily developing nuclear technology.” Early yield estimates range from 2-8 kilotons, although the Russian Defense Ministry initially suggests a yield of 15-20 kilotons.
The UN Security Council convenes an emergency meeting and releases a presidential statement condemning the test as a violation of UN Security Council resolution 1718. The council also announces that it will meet to pass a new resolution dealing with the test.
May 26, 2009: South Korea officially announces that it will participate in the Proliferation Security Initiative.
May 27, 2009: KCNA carries a statement indicating that Pyongyang considers Seoul’s participation in PSI to be an act of war and that North Korea’s Korean People’s Army will no longer be bound by the 1953 Armistice Agreement which brought an end to hostilities during the Korean War.
June 12, 2009: In response to North Korea’s May 25 nuclear test, the UN Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 1874, which expands sanctions against Pyongyang. The resolution intensified inspection regime to prevent proliferation to and from North Korea, calls for enhanced financial restrictions against North Korea and North Korean firms, a nearly comprehensive arms embargo on the country, and strengthened council oversight over the implementation of the resolution. It also bars North Korea from carrying out any further missile tests.
In 1994, faced with North Korea’s announced intent to withdraw from the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), which requires non-nuclear weapon states to forswear the development and acquisition of nuclear weapons, the United States and North Korea signed the Agreed Framework. Under this agreement, Pyongyang committed to freezing its illicit plutonium weapons program in exchange for aid. In 1999, North Korea declared a moratorium to testing long range ballistic missiles.
Following the collapse of the Agreed Framework in 2002, North Korea claimed that it had withdrawn from the NPT in January 2003 and once again began operating its nuclear facilities. It also conducted short and medium range ballistic missile tests in 2003 that prompted United States of America and People’s Republic of China to hold trilateral talks with North Korea.
The second major diplomatic effort were the Six-Party Talks initiated in August of 2003 which involved China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, and the United States. In between periods of stalemate and crisis, those talks arrived at critical breakthroughs in 2005, when North Korea pledged to abandon “all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs” and return to the NPT, and in 2007, when the parties agreed on a series of steps to implement that 2005 agreement.
In July 2006, North Korea conducted seven ballistic missile tests, including their longest range ballistic missile, the Taepo Dong II, violating their voluntary moratorium on long range ballistic missile testing. Following this, UNSC adopted Resolution 1695 which North Korea stated it will not be bound by. In October, they conducted an underground nuclear test which caused the adoption of UNSC Resolution 1718.
The situation reached a critical point and talks broke down in 2009 following disagreements over verification and an internationally condemned North Korea rocket launch. The UNSC convened an emergency meeting and declared that they would be ‘increasing punitive measures that were provided for in Resolution 1718’, North Korea reacted strongly to this statement and withdrew from their 1953 Armistice Agreement in response to Republic of Korea joining the Proliferation Security Initiative, which they considered as an ‘act of war’. Pyongyang has since stated that it would never return to the talks and is no longer bound by their agreements. The other five parties state that they remain committed to the talks, and have called for Pyongyang to recommit to its 2005 denuclearization pledge.
February 29, 2012: Following a Feb. 23-24 meeting between the United States and North Korea in Beijing, the two countries announce in separate statements an agreement by North Korea to suspend operations at its Yongbyon uranium enrichment plant, invite IAEA inspectors to monitor the suspension, and implement moratoriums on nuclear and long-range missile tests. The United States says that it would provide North Korea 240,000 metric tons of food aid under strict monitoring.
March 16, 2012: North Korea announces it will launch a satellite in mid-April to celebrate the centennial birthdate of the country’s founder Kim Il Sung. The United States says that the launch would violate a Feb. 29 agreement in which North Korea pledged not to launch any long-range missiles and would undermine Pyongyang’s credibility regarding the monitoring of food aid and other commitments.
March 29, 2012: Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs Peter Lavoy tells the House Armed Services Committee that the United States has suspended arrangements to deliver food aid to North Korea under a Feb. 29 agreement due to the North’s announced satellite launch.
April 13, 2012: North Korea attempts to launch a weather satellite using the Unha-3, a three-stage liquid-fueled rocket, from its Sohae Satellite Launching Station in the southwest corner of the country. During the first stage, after approximately 90 seconds, the rocket falls apart after veering slightly east from its intended course. The first stage appeared to be comprised of a cluster of four Nodong medium-range ballistic missiles engines. The second stage, which appeared to be based on a BM-25 Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile, did not ignite. It is unclear what caused the rocket launch to fail. Analysts speculate that there may have been a structural failure in the second stage, or that not all four of the engines in the first stage fired correctly. North Korea admits that the launch is a failure, which it did not do after the April 2009 launch, when the North Korean public was told that the satellite successfully entered orbit. The US officially halts its plans to send food aid to North Korea.
April 15, 2012: In a parade honoring the 100th birthday of North Korea founder Kim Il-Sung, North Korea reveals six road-mobile ICBMs in a military parade, the KN-08, although most experts conclude that the missiles are mock-ups based on imagery analysis that reveals significant abnormalities in the design features.
April 16, 2012: The United Nations Security Council condemns North Korea’s satellite launch because of applicability to ballistic missile development, declaring that it acted in violation of Security Council Resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009), and calls upon North Korea to comply with the provisions under the resolutions or face a tightening of sanctions.
December 1, 2012: North Korea announces it will attempt another satellite launch using a long-range rocket between the dates of December 10-22. The rocket, also called the Unha-3, will be launched from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station and follow the same trajectory as the April 13, 2012 launch. In response, the United States Department of State issues a statement saying that it would view a satellite launch as a “highly provocative act” that would threaten the peace and security of the region.
December 9, 2012: North Korea detects a deficiency in the first stage of the rocket, after it has been assembled at Sohae, and announces an extension of the launch window through December 29.
December 12, 2012: North Korea launches the Unha-3. Shortly after the launch the North Korean Central News Agency reports that the launch was a success and the satellite entered orbit. Japanese and South Korean officials confirm the launch and report that debris splashed down in the areas that North Korea indicated for the first and second stages. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) also confirms the launch and says that an object appears to have achieved orbit.
January 22, 2013: The United Nations Security Council passes Resolution 2087 in response to North Korea’s Dec. 12 satellite launch, which used technology applicable to ballistic missiles in violation of resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009). Resolution 2087 strengthens and expands existing sanctions put in place by the earlier resolutions and freezes the assets of additional North Korean individuals and people.
January 24, 2013: The North Korean National Defense Commission announces its intentions to conduct another nuclear test and continue rocket launches and releases a statement where they call United States ‘sworn enemy of the Korean people’ and pledge to target them with their ballistic missile and nuclear programme.
February 12, 2013: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) detects seismic activity near North Korea’s nuclear test site. CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Toth says that the activity has “explosion-like characteristics” and confirms that the activity comes from the area of the 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests. The South Korean Defense Ministry estimated the yield at 6-7 kilotons in the immediate aftermath and called for a UN Security Council Meeting.
March 7, 2013: The United Nations Security Council unanimously passes Resolution 2094 in response to North Korea’s nuclear test on February 12, 2013. Resolution 2094 strengthens existing sanctions by expanding the scope of materials covered and adds additional financial sanctions, including blocking bulk cash transfers. Additional individuals and entities also are identified for asset freezes.
8 March, 2013: The North Korean government announces that it is withdrawing from all non-aggression pacts with South Korea in response to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2094. The announcement says it is closing its joint border crossing with South Korea and cutting off the hotline to the South.
11 March, 2013: The United States and South Korea begin military drills amid high tensions and Pyongyang strongly condemns the exercises.
13 March, 2013: North Korea confirms that the 1953 Armistice is no longer valid and declares that North Korea “is not restrained by the North-South declaration on non-aggression.”
15 March, 2013: United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announces that the U.S. will add 14 more Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) missiles, one of the key components of the Ground-based Midcourse (GMD) ballistic missile defense system, at Fort Greely, Alaska, boosting the total number of GBI missiles from 30 back to the 44 planned by the Bush administration.
Admiral James Winnefeld, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also expresses his concern over the threat of North Korea’s KN-08 ICBMs, telling reporters in The Pentagon that this ICBM has emerged as a threat “a little bit faster than we expected”. In addition, Secretary Hagel says that the U.S. is planning to deploy an additional unit of the AN/TPY-2 radar, a part of GMD ballistic missile defense system in Japan. This second radar will provide improved early warning and tracking of any missile launched from North Korea at the U.S. or Japan.
20 March, 2013: There is a cyber-attack against South Korea which adds to tensions. It is later confirmed by the South Korean government that North Korea was behind the attack.
26 March, 2013: The U.S. dispatches B-52 bombers from Guam to overfly South Korean territory as part of the ongoing Foal Eagle exercise. These flights are, according to US Department of Defense sources, routine flights intended to demonstrate America’s capability of maintaining a “continuous bomber presence” in the region. Following this incident, North Korea puts its forces on ‘combat ready’ status.
28 March, 2013: Two U.S. Air Force B-2A Spirit stealth bombers fly roundtrip from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to the skies over the Korean Peninsula where they unloaded inert munitions on a South Korean bombing range. Flying nonstop with the assistance of in-flight refuelers, Pentagon officials call this mission a clear demonstration of “the United States’ ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will”. A flight of seven B-1B Lancer bombers is also deployed to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
30 March, 2013: North Korea declares a ‘state of war’ against South Korea. A North Korean statement promises “stern physical actions” against “any provocative act”. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declares that rockets are ready to be fired at American bases in the Pacific. This is in response to two nuclear-capable American B-2A stealth bombers flying over the Korean peninsula on March 28. The day before North Korea’s declaration, the United States Department of Defense said, “The United States is fully capable of defending itself and our allies against a North Korean attack. We are firmly committed to the defense of South Korea and Japan.”
31 March, 2013: The U.S. Air Force F-22A Raptor stealth fighters are deployed to Osan Air Base, the main U.S. Air Force base in South Korea, from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan.
1 April, 2013: “The aircraft are on static display at Osan Air Base as part of the Foal Eagle exercise to provide bilateral training for the US and the Republic of Korea military and to provide South Korean senior leaders with an orientation to the aircraft, which are an advanced capability available for the defense of South Korea,” says Pentagon spokesman George Little.
2 April, 2013: The IT webzine BGR carries an article stating that the hacker group Anonymous had started Operation North Korea, calling for ‘controversial leader Kim Jong-un [to] resign’, ‘install free democracy’ ‘abandon its nuclear ambitions’, ‘uncensored Internet access’, etc. The hackers also proclaim that if North Koreans do not accede to their demand, they will wage “Cyber War.”
U.S. Department of Defense spokesman George Little denies reports that a Sea-Based X-band radar (SBX radar), a floating radar used to track an adversary’s missiles as part of a Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) ballistic missile defense system, is being deployed to the waters off Japan, saying no decisions have been made about what would be done with the radar once at-sea testing in the region was finished.
North Korea says it would restart a nuclear reactor capable of producing plutonium at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, which was closed after six-party talks in 2007.
3 April, 2013: The hacker group Anonymous claims it has stolen all 15,000 user passwords as part of a cyber-war against the DPRK. A few days later, Anonymous claims to have hacked into the Uriminzokkiri main website, and the Twitter and Flickr pages representing the website.
North Korea closes entry to the Kaesong Industrial Region to South Koreans. The South Koreans already there were allowed to leave (most stayed voluntarily to continue working). The Kaesong Industrial Region remaining open had previously been seen as a sign that the crisis was not as serious as the rhetoric suggested. Kaesong was briefly closed three times in 2009.
The Pentagon orders a U.S. Army Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) advanced ballistic missile defense battery to be deployed to Guam within the next few weeks. U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke class guided-missiles destroyer USS Decatur (DDG-73) equipped with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system (Aegis BMD) is sent to the Western Pacific near the Korean Peninsula, to join another destroyer, the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), to perform a ballistic missile defense mission in response to growing threats. A third warship, the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62), is also available.
The North Korean military says it has “ratified” a merciless attack against the United States, potentially involving a “cutting-edge” nuclear strike, and that war can break out “today or tomorrow”.
4 April, 2013: North Korea moves what is believed to be a BM25 Musudan mobile intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) to its east coast, possibly in preparation for a drill or test-firing. Many nations, specifically Japan, South Korea, and the United States, view this move as a continuation of North Korea’s attempts to provoke confrontation throughout the beginning of 2013.
5 April, 2013: Multiple countries, including the United Kingdom, Russia, and Sweden (who provides limited consular services for the United States in North Korea), are warned that they should evacuate their embassies by April 10. The UK embassy states they have no plans to do so.
South Korea dispatches two Sejong the Great class guided-missile destroyers equipped with Aegis combat system to watch both sides of the peninsula for a possible North Korean missile launch. With North Korea preparing for launching missiles and South Korea placing naval destroyers on its coasts, tensions in the Korean peninsula remain at a heightened state.
6 April, 2013: The Foreign Ministry of Germany states that their embassy in Pyongyang will continue working, but it will be evaluated regularly for security and exposure. The United Kingdom issues reassurance that they are staying and Sweden and France have also state that they have no plans for evacuation. However Russia considers the evacuation of staff due to the tensions.
The Pentagon announces that the Minuteman III missile test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, which was planned for April 9, would be postponed. The test was not associated with the North Korea crisis, but the United States decided to hold off “given recent tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” says a Department of Defense official.
8 April, 2013: North Korea plans to withdraw all of its workers from the Kaesong Industrial Region. South Korea suspects that North Korea is preparing for a fourth nuclear test in Punggye-ri.
Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera orders their military to shoot down any North Korean missile headed towards its territory, which will see these destroyers deployed in the Sea of Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposes that the government change its interpretation of the Constitution so Japan can intercept a missile fired at the U.S., but an advisory panel to Abe is still discussing relevant issues and the government has maintained its current interpretation. Shooting down a missile aimed at the U.S. would fall within the category of collective self-defense as defined by the United Nations Charter. The government interprets the war-renouncing Constitution as prohibiting the exercise of the right of collective defense.
9 April, 2013: The North Korean Government removes 50,000 workers from the Kaesong industrial park, which effectively shuts down all activities. North Korea warns all foreign companies and tourists in South Korea to evacuate, stating that the two nations were on the verge of nuclear war.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says that Japan has deployed Patriot PAC-3 missile units to 3 Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) installations: the Defense Ministry’s headquarters in Ichigaya in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force’s Camp Asaka in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward, and Camp Narashino in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture. They have been deployed apparently to defend the ministry’s headquarters and key JSDF units as well as the heart of the capital, given the limited range of the missile, which is about 30 km. PAC-3 missiles are designed to intercept ballistic missiles that evade the defense layer established by already deployed Aegis BMD system equipped guided-missiles destroyers.
Officials from Seoul reveal that North Korea is likely planning to launch missiles on or after April 10, a date which has already been warned about.
10 April, 2013: North Korea shuts down tourism from China. Business travel, however, is allowed to continue.
The United States Army War College plays a war game in which they have to secure the nuclear stockpile of the fallen “North Brownland”, a fictional country which acts as an alias for North Korea. In the end, in the game it takes a force of 90,000 troops and 56 days to secure North Brownland’s nuclear weapons.
11 April, 2013: One of the North Korean missiles is put in the upright position, and is believed to be ready for launch. During the night, North Korean forces move the missiles several times in an attempt to disguise them. Later, an U.S. official says that the missile has been tucked back to its launcher.
A U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report is also made public which concludes that North Korea had achieved the technical knowledge necessary to create nuclear weapons capable of being delivered by ballistic missiles.
12 April, 2013: South Korea’s Defense Minister, Kim Kwan-jin doubts that North Korea has the ability to launch a nuclear-armed ballistic missile as claimed in a report by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency.
North Korea vows to annihilate Japan if it is believed a threat to the country. Japanese officials state that the country is ready to defend itself from any attack and that the PATRIOT missiles deployed in Okinawa Island will be permanent.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits South Korea, Japan and China and says that the United States will protect its allies with all its strength.
13 April, 2013: The Philippines offers the United States its military bases, if a war against North Korea were to break out.
The United States and China agree that North Korea must be denuclearized and that peaceful negotiations with Kim Jong-un must be made.
South Korean police stop North Korean defectors and a Seoul-based civic organization from posting anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the Korean border. North Korea had stated that South Korea would face a “catastrophic situation” if this were to occur, since the event was planned to happen on Kim Il-sung’s birthday.
17 April, 2013: North Korea blocks a delegation of South Korean businessmen from delivering food and supplies to 200 of their staff inside the closed Kaesong Industrial Region.
18 April, 2013: North Korea for the first time in the crisis openly sets its stated conditions for the resumption of talks – The United Nations must lift the sanctions against North Korea and that joint US-South Korean military exercises are to be halted.
John Kerry said that the US rejects North Korean preconditions for the resumption of talks.
20 April, 2013: North Korea accepts China’s offer for dialogue.
North Korea moves two mobile missile launchers for short-range Scud missiles to the coast in South Hamgyeong province.
23 April, 2013: North Korea demands recognition as a nuclear state as prerequisite for dialogue, which the United States rejected. The CTBTO announces that its international monitoring system detected radioactive gases at stations in Japan and Russia. The CTBTO concludes that the gases were likely released during an event approximately 50 days prior to the April 9 detection, which coincides with North Korea’s February 13 nuclear test.
26 April, 2013: South Korea announces that it will withdraw its remaining workers from the Kaesong Industrial Region to protect their safety after the North Korean government rejects talks.
27 April, 2013: A group of German experts say that the missiles displayed by North Korea in its April celebration are ‘fake’.
29 April, 2013: American Kenneth Bae held in North Korea could face the death penalty for allegedly conspiring to overthrow the government.
All but seven South Korean workers leave the Kaesong Industrial Region.
30 April, 2013: The annual Foal Eagle joint military drills between South Korea and the United States come to a close with both nations continuously monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula.
2 May, 2013: North Korea’s Supreme Court sentences Bae to 15 years hard labor for “committing hostile acts”. North Korea provides no evidence against Bae but it is reported by multiple news organisations that he had taken pictures of starving North Korean children. The U.S. State Department’s deputy acting spokesman, Patrick Ventrell, demands the immediate release of Kenneth Bae.
3 May, 2013: The remaining seven South Korean workers at Kaesong Industrial Region leave. The Kaesong Industrial Complex, the last symbol of inter-Korean relations, is technically shut down for the moment amid high tensions in the Korean Peninsula. North Korea states that South Korea is to be blamed for the shutting down of the Kaesong Complex, and claims that any finished products left at the Kaesong Complex will belong to the North.
Chinese envoy tells Seoul that they will not accept North Korea as a ‘nuclear-armed state’. Meanwhile, South Korea delays the decision about whether to continually give support of electricity to Kaesong or not.
6 May, 2013: North Korea withdraws the two Musudan missiles from its launch site.
7 May, 2013: The Bank of China halts business with a North Korean bank accused by the United States of financing Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programs.
United States President Barack Obama states that “The days when North Korea could create a crisis and elicit concessions, those days are over”.
By 2012, the status quo maintained was that North Korea had withdrawn from the NPT (2003) and from the Six Party Talks (2009). After their 2009 satellite launches and underground nuclear test, Republic of Korea joined the Proliferation Security Initiative of the United States of America, which DPRK declared to be ‘an act of war’ and withdrew from the 1953 Armistice Agreement. However, early in 2012, bilateral talks between United States and DPRK bore fruits and it decided to suspend its operations and allow access to IAEA inspectors in return for food aid. However, after a failed attempt to launch a satellite in April, DPRK conducted a successful satellite launch in December 2012 that resulted in widespread international condemnation.
In February 2013, DPRK conducted another nuclear test, which was detected by CTBTO, and prompted the UN Security Council to pass Resolution 2094. In response to Resolution 2094, Pyongyang closed the border and severed the North-South hotline. In March, the United States took several military measures to counter DPRK’s aggressive stance, including a strengthening of their missile defense and shows of air-supremacy. Following one such show including B-2A Spirit bombers flying over South Korean territory and dropping inert bombs on a bombing range, DPRK entered ‘a state of war’ with Republic of Korea and also restarted their Yongbyon Scientific Research Centre. Another aspect to this situation was the hacker group Anonymous declaring ‘cyber war’ against DPRK.
April saw heightened tensions in the Korean peninsula as several defense measures were taken in response to North Korean threats by United States, Republic of Korea and Japan. Philippines offered its military bases to United States for use if a war with DPRK was to break out. DPRK also closed down the Kaesong Industrial Complex, and South Korean workers were fully removed only by 3 May. On 18 April, for the first time, DPRK put forward its prerequisites for talks – removal of UN sanctions, halting the ongoing Foal Eagle military exercises between USA and ROK, and being accepted as a ‘nuclear weapon state’. These prerequisites were rejected by United States of America and Chinese envoys told Seoul that they were not going to accept DPRK as a ‘nuclear-armed state’.
Tensions scaled down slightly in May after the Foal Eagle exercises ended on 30 April and DPRK withdrew its Musudan missile launchers from the border.
The six-party talks are a series of multilateral negotiations held intermittently since 2003 and attended by China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, and the United States for the purpose of dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program. The talks are hosted in Beijing and chaired by China.
Prior to the present crisis, North Korea and the United States were responsible for implementing the 1994 Agreed Framework, whereby North Korea pledged to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for energy aid, including two proliferation-resistant light-water reactors. Japan, South Korea, and the European Union (EU) assisted in the implementation of the agreement, but were not involved in its original negotiation.
The Agreed Framework collapsed in October 2002 after Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly confronted North Korea with evidence of a secret uranium enrichment program. North Korea admitted to the program, according to Kelly, but later publicly denied confessing to being in breach of the Agreed Framework. In the following months the United States initiated the halting of energy assistance to North Korea and Pyongyang expelled international monitors. In January 2003, North Korea declared its withdrawal from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
U.S., Chinese, and North Korean officials resumed talks on the nuclear issue in April 2003. North Korea had previously insisted on pursuing negotiations with the United States on a bilateral basis. The administration of George W. Bush, on its part, preferred a multilateral approach that was in explicit contrast with the strategy adopted by the Clinton administration that had led the Agreed Framework. In early August 2003, North Korea declared its willingness to attend six-party talks to be held in Beijing after reviewing a proposal from the United States.
The First Round of talks began August 27, 2003 in Beijing. The initial North Korean position called for a normalization of relations and a non-aggression pact with the United States, without which, Pyongyang maintained, a dismantling of its nuclear program would be out of the question. The United States had previously rejected a non-aggression pact proposal earlier that summer and remained firm on that point during the talks; this stumbling block precluded any substantive agreement in the First Round. On the second day of talks, the North Korean delegate, Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Yong Il stated that North Korea would test a nuclear weapon soon to prove that it had acquired that ability.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi outlined six points of consensus that had been reached by the end of the round. These included a commitment to work to resolve the nuclear issue through peaceful means and dialogue, pursuing a nuclear-free Korean peninsula while bearing in mind the security of North Korea, and avoiding acts that would aggravate the situation further.
While China called for a return to the forum, South Korea, Japan and the United States met separately to discuss joint strategies for the next round and possibilities for a verifiable inspection system. In late October 2003, China secured an agreement from North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to return to the six-party talks, after U.S. President George W. Bush expressed an openness to providing informal security assurances short of a non-aggression pact or peace treaty. The United States however, still would not allow its diplomats to hold direct talks with North Korean negotiators and demanded unilateral concessions on the part of Pyongyang. The central U.S. demand was that North Korea should declare its willingness to the “complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement” of its nuclear programs, a policy that had come to be known as CVID.
The Second Round of talks began February 25, 2004. On the second day of talks, the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Russian lead negotiator, Vice Foreign Minister Alexander Losiukov, both reported that North Korea had offered to destroy its nuclear weapons program, but would not discontinue its peaceful nuclear activities. This represented a partial reversal from its January offer. While both China and Russia supported an agreement on this new basis, the United States, Japan, and South Korea insisted that the North eliminate all of its nuclear facilities and programs. U.S. officials believed that the North Korean civil nuclear program was impractical for economic use and was likely a front for other activities.
The Chairman’s paper that was eventually circulated at the end of the discussions in lieu of a joint statement did not include any initial steps agreements, but reaffirmed all parties’ commitment to a nuclear-weapons-free Korean peninsula.
On June 23, 2004, the six states reconvened to begin the Third Round of negotiations. Expectations were muted by uncertainties generated by the Presidential election in the United States later that year.
In the run up to the talks, the United States circulated its first set of formal proposals for a step-by-step dismantling of the North Korean nuclear program. The proposal granted North Korea a three month preparatory period to freeze its programs, and also requested the transmittal of a full account of activities. South Korea presented a similar proposal that largely adhered to the base U.S. demand for CVID. At the opening ceremony of the Third Round, North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan reiterated that his country was willing to accept a “freeze for compensation” program that would lead to renunciation of its nuclear weapons program.
Again lacking the consensus necessary for a joint statement, a Chairman’s statement was issued instead. In addition to reaffirming commitments made previously, the parties stressed the need for a “words for words” and “action for action” process towards resolution of the crisis.
Nearly a year of uncertainty divided the Third and Fourth Rounds of the six-party talks. In part, this was due to the Presidential election in the United States, which took place in early November 2004 and resulted in a second term of office for George W. Bush. North Korea stated that it intended to wait for a restatement of the second Bush administration’s policies before deciding on whether to attend the next round of talks.
In early February 2005, North Korea declared itself in possession of nuclear weapons and said it would not attend future six-party talks. It accused the United States of attempting to overthrow its government and referred to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s statement in her confirmation hearing that North Korea was an “outpost of tyranny.” Finally, following a July 2005 meeting in Beijing with the new U.S. lead negotiator Christopher Hill, North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan announced that his country would be willing to attend a new round of talks during the week of July 25, 2005.
One of the inducements which drew North Korea back to the negotiating table was a U.S. recognition of North Korea as a sovereign state coupled with a statement that it had no intention to invade North Korea. These were reiterated on the first day of negotiations. The resulting talks were considerably longer than previous rounds, lasting a full 13 days. The United States softened its opposition to a North Korean civil energy program, while a joint statement based on resurrection of a 1992 Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula that barred the testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons was discussed. The U.S. also engaged in lengthy bilateral discussions with the North Korean delegation, lifting prior restrictions prohibiting U.S. negotiators from engaging the North Koreans directly.
On September 19, 2005, the six parties achieved the first breakthrough in resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis, issuing a joint statement on agreed steps toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula “in a phased manner in line with the principle of commitment for commitment, action for action.”
North Korea committed itself to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing programs, returning to the NPT and accepting IAEA inspections. In return, the other parties expressed their respect for North Korea’s assertion of a right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and agreed to discuss the provision of a light water nuclear reactor “at an appropriate time.” The United States and South Korea both affirmed that they would not deploy nuclear weapons on the peninsula, and stated, along with Russia, China, and Japan, their willingness to supply North Korea with energy aid. The United States and Japan, further, committed themselves to working to normalizing relations with North Korea.
The day after the Joint Statement was agreed, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry declared that the United States should provide a light water reactor “as early as possible.” Although Pyongyang appeared to back away from that demand in the following days, disagreements over the timing of discussions on the provision of such a reactor remained.
The next round of talks began on November 9, 2005 and lasted three days. The Six Parties expressed their views on how the Joint Statement should be implemented, but no new achievements were registered and substantial negotiations were neither attempted nor envisioned. U.S. lead negotiator Christopher Hill said “we were not expecting to make any major breakthroughs.” The meeting concluded without setting a date for the next round of talks.
Following the end of the first session, the negotiating climate deteriorated significantly. U.S. sanctions on North Korean trading entities as well as Banco Delta Asia of Macau provoked strong condemnation from Pyongyang. North Korea boycotted the six-party talks once again, and conducted multiple missile tests in July and its first nuclear test on October 9, 2006.
In response, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1718 on October 14, requiring North Korea to refrain from further nuclear or missile testing, abandon its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missile programs, and immediately rejoin the six-party talks.
Further discussions resumed in February 2007 which concluded in an agreement on initial steps to implement the 2005 Joint Statement. The February 13 agreement called for steps to be taken over the next 60 days in which North Korea committed to shutting down and sealing the Yongbyon nuclear facilities and to discussing a list of its nuclear-related activities with the other parties. The United States and Japan committed to engaging in talks to normalize relations, while all parties would work to provide 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil, all within the 60 day period. The United States also agreed to begin the process of removing North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and terminating the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act with regards to North Korea. The agreement set a March 19 date for a Sixth Round of talks and outlined a framework for follow-on actions by the six parties to implement the September 2005 Joint Statement.
The next round of talks began on time but came to no substantive agreement in its initial sessions after the North Korean delegation walked out over delays in the release of funds from the sanctioned Banco Delta Asia. Diplomats had been optimistic that issues surrounding the bank had been temporarily resolved, but a technical delay in the transmittal of funds led to the announcement of another adjournment.
The IAEA confirmed in June 2007 that the 5 megawatt Yongbyon nuclear reactor had been shut down and sealed. When talks resumed in September-October 2007, a second phase implementation plan was agreed upon which called for the disablement of three key nuclear facilities at the Yongbyon complex and the provision of a list of North Korean nuclear activities, both by the end of the year. North Korea further committed to not transferring nuclear materials, technology, or know-how to other parties. The other parties agreed to increase aid to North Korea to a total of 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil or fuel oil equivalents and to a continuation of the diplomatic normalization processes.
Following numerous delays in implementation, U.S. and North Korean negotiators met in Singapore in April 2008 and agreed on three steps through which North Korea would detail or address its nuclear activities: a declaration provided by North Korea regarding its plutonium program, the publication of a U.S. “bill of particulars” detailing Washington’s suspicions of a North Korean uranium-enrichment program and Pyongyang’s nuclear proliferation to other countries, and a North Korean understanding of the U.S. concerns.
Further six-party talks continued in June 2008, ending with the transmittal of North Korea’s declaration of nuclear activities. At the same time, U.S. President Bush announced that he had removed North Korea from the Trading with the Enemy Act and had notified Congress of the country’s removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Difficulties in agreeing on a verification system delayed the second action until October 11. The need for a verification system had been reaffirmed in a July 12 joint communiqué issued by the six parties. An August 11 proposal from the U.S. to allow verification inspections at sites throughout North Korea was rejected emphatically. Insisting that inspections be limited to Yongbyon, North Korea announced that it was reversing disablement actions and said it would restart its reprocessing plant. A verbal agreement was established after Hill visited Pyongyang in early October. The agreement allowed for inspections outside of Yongbyon when China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States agreed by consensus.
Progress again foundered in November when North Korea denied that it had committed in the verbal agreement to allowing the collection of samples at Yongbyon. Another session of six-party talks in December yielded no new consensus. North Korea maintained that if sampling were to take place, it would not be during second phase implementation.
On April 5, 2009, after repeated warnings from the United States, Japan and South Korea, Pyongyang test-fired a modified Taepo Dong-2 three-stage rocket, ostensibly as part of its civilian space program. The UN Security Council issued a presidential statement April 13 calling the test a violation of Resolution 1718, and expanded sanctions on North Korean firms shortly afterwards. North Korea responded on April 14, declaring that it would no longer participate in the six-party talks and that it would no longer be bound by any of the previous agreements reached in the discussions.
On May 25, North Korea conducted a second nuclear test which immediately drew condemnation from the six-party talks participants According to experts, the explosive yield was larger than that of the October 2006 test. The UN Security Council responded with further sanctions including an arms embargo in Resolution 1874 of June 12. The following day, North Korea admitted for the first time that it had a uranium enrichment program and that it would use enriched fuel to power a planned light-water reactor.
Links for further Research –
Official News Page on Xinhua Net, PRC’s State News Agency (This will be considered a verified source as People’s Republic of China chaired the Six Party Talks) – http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/6dprk/index.htm
Council on Foreign Relations – http://www.cfr.org/proliferation/six-party-talks-north-koreas-nuclear-program/p13593
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-party_talks
President George W. Bush announced May 31, 2003 that the United States would lead a new effort, the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), to interdict shipments of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and related goods to terrorists and countries of proliferation concern. The initiative’s aim would be “to keep the world’s most destructive weapons away from our shores and out of the hands of our common enemies,” Bush declared.
Participants: Ten countries originally joined with the United States to shape and promote the initiative. These countries are Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In total, 100 countries have publicly committed to the initiative. U.S. officials have courted China to join the regime, but so far it has kept its distance, citing concerns about the legality of interdictions.
Mission: The initiative aims to stop shipments of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, as well as missiles and goods that could be used to deliver or produce such weapons, to terrorists and countries suspected of trying to acquire WMD. Initiative participants intend to carry out cargo interdictions at sea, in the air, or on land. For some countries this is not a new practice but an enshrinement and expansion of current operations. The United States and other countries have long records of intercepting illegal trade and smuggling activities, including illicit weapons transactions.
Still, the initiative is designed to make it more costly and risky for proliferators to acquire the weapons or materials they seek. By doing so, members hope that other countries will be dissuaded from pursuing weapons in the first place or experience significant delays in their acquisition efforts.
PSI is limited to stopping shipments of WMD and dual-use goods-items that have both civilian, peaceful purposes and that can be used to make weapons-to those countries and non-state actors viewed as threats by PSI participants. Then-Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, a chief architect of PSI, indicated in November 2003 that participants will not be targeting the trade of countries perceived as U.S. allies or friends, such as India, Israel, and Pakistan-all three of which possess WMD arsenals, including nuclear weapons.
Principles: The 11 original PSI participants released a set of principles September 4, 2003. The principles call on PSI participants, as well as other countries, to not engage in WMD-related trade with countries of proliferation concern and to permit their own vessels and aircraft to be searched if suspected of transporting such goods. The principles further urge, that information on suspicious activities should be shared quickly to enable possible interdictions and that all vessels “reasonably suspected” of carrying dangerous cargo should be inspected when passing through national airports, ports, and other transshipment points.
Legal Authority: The initiative does not empower countries to do anything that they previously could not do. Most importantly, PSI does not grant governments any new legal authority to conduct interdictions in international waters or airspace. Such interdictions may take place, but they must be confined to what is currently permissible under international law. For example, a ship can be stopped in international waters if it is not flying a national flag or properly registered. It cannot be stopped simply because it is suspected of transporting WMD or related goods. PSI is primarily intended to encourage participating countries to take greater advantage of their own existing national laws to intercept threatening trade passing through their territories and where they have jurisdiction to act. In situations where the legal authority to act may be ambiguous, Bolton said participants might go to the UN Security Council for authorization.
PSI participants are working to expand their legal authority to interdict shipments by signing bilateral boarding agreements with select countries to secure expedited processes or pre-approval for stopping and searching their ships at sea. The United States has concluded such agreements with Belize, Croatia, Cyprus, Liberia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, and Panama. Liberia and Panama possess the largest fleets of registered ocean-going vessels in the world.
Structure: PSI is an informal arrangement among countries. To date, there is no list of criteria by which interdictions are to be made (except that the cargo is destined for a recipient that might use it to harm the United States or other countries). There is also no secretariat or formal organization that serves as a coordinating body. Instead, participants aim to readily share information among one another as appropriate and to act when necessary to help seize or thwart dangerous trade.
Status: PSI participants have conducted nearly 30 interdiction exercises since the initiative’s inception. The exercises, including mock-ship boarding, are intended to increase the participants’ capabilities to cooperate with one another. They are also intended to put a public face on the initiative and act as a deterrent to potential proliferators.
U.S. officials claim that there have been successful interdictions since the initiative’s launch. In a June 2006 speech, then-Undersecretary of State Robert Joseph claimed that between April 2005 and April 2006 the United States had cooperated with other PSI participants on “roughly two dozen” occasions to prevent transfers of concern. Ulrik Federspiel, Denmark’s ambassador to the United States asserted at a May 2005 event that “the shipment of missiles has fallen significantly in the lifetime of PSI.”
Top U.S. officials had previously claimed that an October 2003 operation to seize centrifuge components aboard the German-owned BBC China destined for Libya was a successful PSI operation. For example, Condoleezza Rice, then-national security adviser, said in February 2004, “PSI has already proven its worth by stopping a shipment of centrifuge parts bound for Libya last fall.” But U.S. and foreign government officials now say the operation was separate from PSI.
Links for further research –
PSI Official Page on the website of the US Department of State – http://www.state.gov/t/isn/c10390.htm
Nuclear Threat Initiative – http://www.nti.org/treaties-and-regimes/proliferation-security-initiative-psi/
EU Non-proliferation Consortium (group of European Non-governmental Think Tanks) – http://www.sipri.org/research/disarmament/eu-consortium/publications/nonproliferation-paper-16
Council on Foreign Relations – http://www.cfr.org/port-security/proliferation-security-initiative/p11057
A comprehensive list of sanctions on North Korea can be found at http://www.sanctionswiki.org/North_Korea. The official links are provided in the same page.
UNSC Resolution 1695 (2006) – http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sc8778.doc.htm
UNSC Resolution 1718 (2006) – http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sc8853.doc.htm
UNSC Resolution 1874 (2009) – http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2009/sc9679.doc.htm
UNSC Resolution 2087 (2013) – https://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2013/sc10891.doc.htm
UNSC Resolution 2094 (2013) – http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2013/sc10934.doc.htm
- Legality of DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme
- Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty
- Other bilateral and multilateral treaties like the 1953 Armistice or the Agreed Framework
- “Nuclear-armed state” status
- Removal of UN and other sanctions
- Economic – Sanctions, trade restrictions, etc.
- Military – Necessity, legality, pros and cons
Official Page – http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/iaeadprk/index.shtml
Factsheet on DPRK Nuclear Safeguards – http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/iaeadprk/fact_sheet_may2003.shtml
IAEA Resolutions – http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/iaeadprk/iaea_resolutions.shtml
Arms Control Association – http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/northkoreaprofile
Nuclear Threat Initiative – http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/north-korea/
Arms Control Association – http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/dprkchron
Disclaimer – No information given on Wikipedia can be used as proof in the council.
North Korea – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea
North Korea’s Nuclear Programme – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_North_Korea
North Korea and Weapons of Mass Destruction – “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction
Foreign Relations of North Korea – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_relations_of_North_Korea
China – North Korea Relations – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China%E2%80%93North_Korea_relations
Russia – North Korea Relations – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea%E2%80%93Russia_relations
Japan – North Korea Relations – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan%E2%80%93North_Korea_relations
South Korea – North Korea Relations – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea%E2%80%93South_Korea_relations
US – South Korea Relations – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Korea%E2%80%93United_States_relations
US Policy towards the Korean Peninsula until 2010 on CFR – http://www.cfr.org/north-korea/us-policy-toward-korean-peninsula/p22205
Chinese Policy in North Korea in 2013 on CFR – http://blogs.cfr.org/asia/2013/02/05/north-koreas-third-nuclear-test-will-china-change-direction/
Korean Situation and US-China Relations in 2013 on CFR – http://www.cfr.org/australasia-and-the-pacific/situation-north-korea-future-us-china-relations/p30230
US-South Korea Alliance on CFR – http://www.cfr.org/south-korea/us-south-korea-alliance/p11459
US-South Korea Relations on FAS (2013 – http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R41481.pdf
China-North Korea Relations on FAS (2010) – http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R41043.pdf
Russia-North Korea Relations on RUVR – http://english.ruvr.ru/tag_11083888/
 http://www.ndl.go.jp/constitution/e/shiryo/01/002_46/002_46tx.html Cairo Declaration of 1943
 http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/decade19.asp The Moscow Conference Report of 1945
 http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/RESOLUTION/GEN/NR0/043/66/IMG/NR004366.pdf?OpenElement United Nations General Assembly Resolution 195(III)
 http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/82(1950) UNSC Res. 82 and 83
 http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=85&page=transcript Armistice Agreement of 27 July 1953
 http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/Others/infcirc140.pdf Text of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
 http://cns.miis.edu/inventory/pdfs/aptkoreanuc.pdf Text of the Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
 http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/Others/infcirc403.pdf Text of the Agreement between DPRK and IAEA pursuant to the NPT
 http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/Others/inf419.shtml Text of the IAEA Report of 8 April 1993
 http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/Others/inf437.shtml Statement by DPRK on allowing inspections by IAEA
 http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/Others/infcirc457.pdf Text of the Agreed Framework of 1994
 http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/aedpa.pdf Text of the 1996 US Sanctions
 http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/missile/rumsfeld/execsum.htm Text of the Rumsfeld Commission Report of 1998, see section on North Korea
 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/791691.stm Text of the Joint Declaration of the North-South Summit
 http://edition.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/01/29/bush.speech.txt/ Transcript of the State of the Union address by President Bush
 http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/n_korea/pmv0209/pyongyang.html Test of the Pyongyang Declaration
 http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/mediaadvisory/2002/med-advise_033.shtml Text of the Resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of the IAEA in November 2002
 http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/mediaadvisory/2003/med-advise_004.shtml Text of the Resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of IAEA on 6 January 2003
 http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/mediaadvisory/2003/med-advise_048.shtml Text of the Resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of IAEA on 12 February 2003
 http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/07/04/korea.missile/ CNN Reports US Reaction to North Korean Missile Tests on 5 July 2006
 http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sc8778.doc.htm Press Release including the full text of UNSC Resolution 1695 and statements by Member Nations – IMPORTANT
 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/19/world/asia/19cnd-korea.html?pagewanted=print&_r=0 New York Times report on sanctions imposed on North Korea by Australia and Japan
 http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,217237,00.html Fox News report on North Korea’s Foreign Ministry’s statement regarding future nuclear tests
 http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/n-korea-tests-nuclear-weapon/2006/10/09/1160246048496.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1 Sunday Morning Herald Report containing Ivanov’s assessment
 http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sc8853.doc.htm UNSC Res 1718 including the text of the resolution and statements by Member Nations
 http://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2007/february/80479.htm Conclusions of the Six Party Talks as on February 13 2007
 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=8989536 NPR report on US un-freezing North Korean funds
 http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/n_korea/6party/action0710.html Conclusions of the sixth round of the Six Party Talks on Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website
 http://www.usip.org/files/file/resources/collections/peace_agreements/n_skorea10042007.pdf Declaration on the Advancement of South-North Korean Relations, Peace and Prosperity of 4 October 2007
 http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/10/11/us.north.korea/ CNN Report USA Takes North Korea off Terrorism List
 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/4796417/Fears-over-North-Korean-satellite-launch.html The Telegraph reports North Korea’s preparations for a satellite launch and the international reaction
 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7938844.stm BBC reports North Korea notifying IMO of satellite launch
 http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/04/05/us-korea-north-idUSTRE53058220090405 Reuters reports the launch by North Korea on 5 April 2009
 http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2009/sc9634.doc.htm UNSC Presidential Statement of 13 April 2009
 http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-04/14/content_11183813.htm Xinhua News Agency reports North Korea’s withdrawal from the Six Party Talks
 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123968011495616255.html The Wall Street Journal report North Korea expels UN inspectors
 http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/05/123842.htm ROK joins the PSI
 http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2009/sc9679.doc.htm Press Release including text of UNSC Resolution 1874 and statements by Member Nations
 http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/29/us-korea-north-usa-talks-idUSTRE81S13R20120229 Reuters report North Korea suspends nuclear operations on 29 February 2009
 http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/16/korea-north-usa-idUSL2E8EG8D220120316 Reuters report US warns North Korea that satellite launch would violate 29 Feb Agreement
 http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/29/us-usa-korea-north-idUSBRE82S0EY20120329 Reuters report US suspends food aid to North Korea over planned satellite launch
 http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/un-security-council-expected-rebuke-north-korea/ NTI report North Korea unveils new missile
 https://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2012/sc10610.doc.htm UN Press Release in reaction to failed satellite launch by North Korea on 13 April 2012
 http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/01/world/asia/north-korea-launch CNN report North Korea plans another Satellite Launch
 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/9733921/North-Korea-extends-rocket-launch-period-over-Christmas.html Fox News report on extension of launch window by North Korea on 9 December 2012
 http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/12/us-korea-north-rocket-idUSBRE8BB02K20121212 Reuters report successful launch of North Korean Satellite
 https://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2013/sc10891.doc.htm UN Press Release including UNSC Res 2087
 http://www.ctbto.org/press-centre/press-releases/2013/statement-by-ctbto-executive-secretary-tibor-toth-on-the-seismic-event-detected-in-north-korea-as-a-response-to-media-questions/ CTBTO Press Statement on detection of nuclear activity
 http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/12/us-korea-north-un-idUSBRE91B10P20130212 Reuters report UNSC Meeting
 http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2013/sc10934.doc.htm UN Press Release including the UNSC Res 2094
 http://en.rian.ru/military_news/20130311/179941927.html RIA Novosti report
 Currently, 30 GBI missiles are based at two sites in the U.S., four at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and 26 at Fort Greely in Alaska. The U.S.’s GMD program uses land-based missiles to intercept incoming ballistic missiles in the midcourse phase of their flight, outside the earth atmosphere. GMD is designed to defend against Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). In contrast, the well-known land-based Patriot system with Patriot PAC-3 missiles or the new land-based Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system (as well as the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system) is designed to defend against Theatre Ballistic Missiles (TBMs) including Short-Range, Medium-Range, and Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM,MRBM, and IRBM)
 The first land-based AN/TPY-2 radar was positioned in northern Japan and has been operational since 2006, a second installation is scheduled to be emplaced in central Japan soon, but it is not likely to be fully functional for several more months to come.
 http://en.rian.ru/military_news/20130328/180304311.html RIA Novosti report
 http://www.defense.gov/News/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=119664 US Department of Defence Press Release
 http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=5212 US Department of Defense Media Transcript
 The THAAD missile is designed to intercept the Theatre Ballistic Missile (TBM), and consists of a SRBM, a MRBM, and an IRBM. It intercepts missiles during the descent phase at an altitude higher than the current U.S. Army shorter range Patriot missile that can intercept a TBM only during the terminal (final) phase of flight.
 These ships are capable of carrying RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block IA Anti-Ballistic Missiles (ABMs). The latest generation of Standard missile, the RIM-174 Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) or Standard Extended Range Active Missile (Standard ERAM), with its advanced active radar seeker, can also be deployed on these warships. SM-6 is capable of defending against a TBM in their terminal phase of flight at an altitude up to 33 km (110,000 ft.) and is now superseding RIM-156 Standard Missile 2 Extended Range (SM-2ER) Block IV as U.S. Navy terminal phase TBM interceptor. The Navy received the SM-6 into service in February 2013.
 These ships are outfitted with the powerful AN/SPY-1D radar capable of detecting ballistic missiles and accurately tracking their trajectories as soon as North Korea launches them. However they cannot yet intercept the incoming ballistic missiles using their primary air defense weapon consisting of 80 RIM-66 Standard Missile 2 Medium Range (SM-2MR) Block IIIA and IIIB missiles. There are no confirmed reports that South Korea had bought RIM-156 Standard Missile 2 Extended Range (SM-2ER) Block IV missile, the newer version of Standard missile capable of intercepting ballistic missiles during their terminal phase of flight. SM-2ER Block IV has been deployed on U.S. Navy guided-missiles cruisers and destroyers equipped with Aegis combat system for many years.
 http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/10/war-game-plays-out-poorly/ CNN Security Blog
 http://live.reuters.com/Event/North_Korea/72370407 Reuters report
 http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/04/13/298079/us-can-use-philippines-military-bases/ Press TV, Iran report
 http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2013/04/13/56/0401000000AEN20130413001200315F.HTML Yonhap News report, South Korea
 http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2013/04/17/35/0301000000AEN20130417009500315F.HTML Yonhap News report, South Korea
 http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2013/04/20/0401000000AEN20130420000900315.HTML Yonhap News report, South Korea
 http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2013/04/26/0401000000AEN20130426011952315.HTML Yonhap News report, South Korea
 http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2013/05/03/0401000000AEN20130503008400315.HTML Yonhap News report, South Korea