Libmonster ID: U.S.-1240
Author(s) of the publication: KIM WON IL

KIM WON IL, (Republic of Korea)

The DPRK's nuclear tests recorded in October 2006 by the international community, as well as the long-range missile launches carried out several months earlier, caused another round of tension in the so-called "nuclear crisis" on the Korean peninsula. It would seem that these tests were supposed to state the complete failure of the six-party talks with the participation of the DPRK, China, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the United States and Japan. The UN Security Council resolution, adopted at the initiative of the United States and supported for the first time by the PRC, required Pyongyang to completely destroy all nuclear weapons, and also provided for the introduction of an embargo on the supply of materials for the production of ballistic missiles or nuclear weapons to the DPRK and the import of heavy weapons. A united front was being formed around the recalcitrant regime, including Pyongyang's long-time allies such as China and Russia. However, just a few months after the escalation of the conflict, the DPRK and the United States tried to return to a bilateral dialogue, and in February 2007, the DPRK and the United States tried to return to a bilateral dialogue. at the resumed talks in the six-party format in Beijing, an agreement on turning the Korean peninsula into a nuclear-weapon-free zone was announced, which many once again perceived as an unconditional breakthrough.

The Beijing agreements have caused quite contradictory assessments: from the statement of the shameful failure of the policy of the George W. Bush administration towards the North Korean regime to statements about the unconditional success of international diplomacy in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. One thing is certain: the North Korean state is now a de facto member of the nuclear club, and the absence in the aforementioned agreement of the thesis of non-recognition of the DPRK as a nuclear power is an indirect confirmation of this. In fact, we are talking about an attempt to implement the scenario of a "voluntary" decommissioning of a nuclear reactor and the related weapons program of a particular State, carried out under the control and with the participation of other States, in contrast to the Iraqi "power" scenario.

The DPRK's nuclear status seriously undermines the entire existing system of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) not only in the region, but also around the world, and can at any time become a catalyst for a new arms race spreading on the "domino"principle. Quite naturally, the question arises how the world community was able to "view" the North Korean nuclear threat, and what responsibility the main nuclear powers of the USSR and the United States bear for this. At the same time, few people question the decisive role of the Soviet Union and Russia in the formation and development of the DPRK's military nuclear program.

However, the initial interest of Pyongyang in nuclear weapons, paradoxically, was stimulated by the United States itself during the Korean War of 1950-1953, when the American leadership seriously discussed the use of weapons of mass destruction against the combined forces of the DPRK and the PRC. In December 1950, General Douglas MacArthur requested 34 nuclear weapons from the Pentagon to " cut the throat of Manchuria with a belt of radioactive cobalt and block Korea from invasion by land from the north for at least the next 60 years."1. From the documents declassified by the American side, it is known that at the end of 1951, as part of Operation Hudson Bay, B-52 strategic bombers worked out a plan to drop atomic bombs on Pyongyang.2 It was the threat of US use of weapons of mass destruction on the Korean Peninsula that ultimately prompted the warring parties to sign an armistice in 1953. However, as part of the strategy of "massive retaliation" announced by US Secretary of State John Kerry, In 1958, the United States still deployed atomic bombs, land mines and tactical missiles in the south of the peninsula, bypassing the agreements reached at the signing of the armistice.

It is quite clear that in this development of events, the decision of the DPRK leadership to organize the Atomic Energy Research Institute at the Academy of Sciences of the DPRK in 1952 at the height of the Korean War was not dictated by the desire for a "peaceful atom". Most likely, it was motivated by plans, albeit for many quite illusory, to develop their own deterrent weapons, which would guarantee the preservation of the state without regard to the great neighbors. Representatives of the Ministry of Defense of the DPRK were able to see firsthand that nuclear weapons could become such a deterrent already in September 1954 at a military training ground in the Orenburg Region, where an aerial explosion of a 40-kiloton nuclear bomb was made in their presence.

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Pyongyang's interest in developing nuclear technology was confirmed in 1956 during Kim Il Sung's visit to the USSR, when the North Korean leader visited the world's first nuclear power plant in Obninsk. Immediately after the visit, the DPRK becomes a co-founder of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna. And in May 1959, the two countries signed an Agreement on providing the USSR with technical assistance to the DPRK in the peaceful Use of Atomic energy and an Agreement on providing assistance to the DPRK in the development of scientific research in the field of nuclear physics and in the application of atomic energy in the national economy. In accordance with these agreements, the USSR undertook to supply the DPRK with an experimental reactor of the IRT-1000 type with a thermal capacity of 1 MW, a cyclotron capable of accelerating alpha particles, the necessary laboratory equipment, as well as to send Soviet specialists to provide technical assistance in the construction and installation work and launch of these facilities, and to organize training of North Korean specialists in the USSR. By that time, hundreds of North Korean students and interns specializing in nuclear physics were already studying at Soviet universities. All this, of course, testified to the fact that the leadership of the DPRK already from the mid-1950s had a very specific plan for creating an independent nuclear industry based on its own national cadres.

By 1965, the USSR was fully fulfilling all its obligations under the 1959 agreement, having supplied the 2 MW IRT-2000 reactor, a radiochemical laboratory, the K-60000 cobalt unit, the betatron B-25, and equipment for physical and isotope laboratories to the Nenben research center.3 At the same time, it should be noted that at the request of the North Korean side, the list of equipment supplied was slightly changed. The DPRK was supplied with twice as powerful a reactor, as well as the most advanced radiochemical laboratory at that time, which was actually a mini-isotope separation plant. At the same time, North Korean specialists were given the technology to extract plutonium-239 from irradiated nuclear fuel. Installation, start-up and operation of the delivered equipment was carried out with the participation of Soviet specialists, the last of whom left the facility in 1968.

Nuclear fuel for the experimental reactor was also supplied from the USSR in accordance with the agreement. Initially, it was uranium fuel with 10% enrichment. However, after the reconstruction, which increased the reactor capacity to 4 MW, which the DPRK specialists carried out independently, the Soviet side agreed to supply fuel with uranium-235 enrichment up to 80%. Deliveries of highly enriched uranium were carried out almost until 1986, and by that time the reactor capacity had been increased to 8 MW due to another reconstruction. At the same time, in accordance with the agreements of the late 1950s, the return of nuclear fuel delivered from 1965 to 1991 to the supplier was not supposed, and all of it remained on the territory of the DPRK. In other words, as a result of the supply of fuel for the experimental IRT reactor, the DPRK could have a certain amount of unaccounted for or unused uranium-235 with an enrichment of 80%, i.e. material for direct military use.

It would seem that the above-mentioned facts directly testified to Pyongyang's serious intentions to conduct independent work on creating nuclear warheads and improving their delivery systems since the late 1960s. In 1974, the DPRK joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). At about the same time, North Korean specialists gain access to China's nuclear test sites, and experts from third countries begin to be involved in development on the territory of the DPRK. However, while skeptical of North Korea's economic, scientific and technological potential, the nuclear Powers did not attach much importance to Pyongyang's nuclear missile ambitions until the late 1980s, despite the DPRK's refusal to join the International Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1968.

The development of nuclear weapons in the Republic of Korea (ROK), to which the regime of General Park Jung-hee was pushed by the Nixon Guam Doctrine, attracted more attention from the world community. After the military defeat in Vietnam in July 1969, the American president announced a policy of limiting US military commitments on the Asian continent, which led many of Washington's allies, including Seoul, to think about guaranteeing their own security. Unlike the DPRK, the Republic of Korea joined the NPT in 1968, but was in no hurry to ratify it.4 The South Korean dictator made no secret of his intentions to develop nuclear weapons by the 20th anniversary of his regime, i.e., by 1981. His ambitions clearly ran counter to the US policy of curbing the spread of WMD in the region. In October 1979, President Park Jung-hee was assassinated by South Korean CIA Director Kim Jae-gyu during a dinner party. The motives for the murder remained unclear. However, following this action, Seoul and Washington were able to quickly agree on an increase in the US tactical nuclear arsenal on the Korean Peninsula in exchange for the ROK's abandonment of its own nuclear developments, the degree of readiness of which at that time was estimated at 95%.5

Open threats of the use of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula by the United States6, as well as Seoul's nuclear ambitions, which became public in the second half of the 1970s, could not but spur the active development of its own nuclear program in the DPRK. In 1979, construction of a new 5 MW reactor began near Nyongbyon, which North Korean specialists designed themselves, but the idea and documentation were borrowed not from Soviet, but from their British colleagues. This gas graphite reactor was built in the image and likeness of the English Calder Hall, and the North Korean side for this purpose

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no formal agreements were needed. The fact is that in the late 1950s, British Nuclear Fuels placed all the documentation on the reactor design in the public domain, and any expert in the field of nuclear physics could easily use it. But the very fact that this project is being implemented shows that over several decades, the DPRK has been able to raise a whole generation of qualified nuclear physicists through mass internships abroad and intensive use of its own experimental reactor.

In 1982, US space surveillance equipment discovered underground facilities in the territory of the DPRK, which were supposedly intended for uranium enrichment. Closer attention of American intelligence to North Korean nuclear facilities led to sensational statements in the late 1980s about the operation of a gas graphite reactor of its own design with a capacity of 50 MW or more in Nyongbyon and Taechon, as well as about the presence of a radiochemical enterprise for the production of weapons-grade plutonium in the DPRK.

These revelations coincided with the negotiations on the construction of the first nuclear power plant on the territory of the DPRK with the assistance of the USSR, which began in the mid-1980s. Initially, Pyongyang was interested in obtaining more technologically advanced light-water reactors, but the Soviet side offered to supply 4 VVER-440 gas-graphite reactors, subject to Pyongyang's accession to the NPT. This decision was dictated primarily by economic expediency: the presence of significant proven reserves of graphite and uranium in the DPRK, the lower cost of gas graphite reactors, and therefore a less significant imbalance in bilateral trade, which was carried out at that time on clearing terms. In 1985, a bilateral agreement on cooperation and exchange of specialists in the field of nuclear research was signed, and in December of the same year, the DPRK joined the NPT, thereby removing the main obstacle to the implementation of this project.

The issue of Pyongyang's nuclear development for military purposes became more acute in the early 1990s, after the USSR and the United States declared their mutual readiness to eliminate tactical nuclear weapons. These agreements resulted in the withdrawal of American nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula. As a result, the inter-Korean dialogue, which resumed around the same time, adopted a joint Declaration of the North and South on the transformation of the Korean peninsula into a nuclear-weapon-free zone on December 31, 1991. In accordance with this declaration, the DPRK concluded an Atomic Safety Agreement with the IAEA on January 30, 1992, and in March of the same year, the Joint Committee on Atomic Control of the DPRK and the Republic of Korea was formed. However, when the negotiations were translated into practical inspections of research facilities on the territory of the DPRK, the North Korean side, after much delay, refused to allow international inspectors to visit the facilities located at the research center in Nyongbyon, which allegedly could produce plutonium.

Not the least role in the escalation of the conflict was played by the collapse of the Soviet Union. The new foreign policy concept of the Russian Foreign Ministry, adopted on December 1, 1992, initially laid down "a course for the inevitable distance of Russia from the DPRK"7. In practice, the dismantling of Russian-North Korean relations took place so rapidly that it was hardly logical, and it could no longer be explained as the result of simple pressure on Russia from external forces. January 29-February 1, 1993 The Russian President's plenipotentiary envoy, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Kunadze, visited Pyongyang to discuss such pain points as changing the legal framework of bilateral relations, including adjusting, and according to some sources, even denouncing the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, the first article of which stated that "if one of the contracting parties if the other Contracting Party is subjected to an armed attack by any State or coalition of States and thus finds itself in a state of war, the other Contracting Party will immediately render military and other assistance by all means at its disposal."8 During this visit, the issues of paying off the North Korean debt to Russia and the development of nuclear and chemical weapons by the DPRK were also considered. The negotiations ended in vain: the DPRK flatly refused to revise the allied treaty, referring to the fact that it remains in force until September 10, 1996, the amount of Russia's debt was never verified and recognized by the North Korean side, and it refused to discuss the development of weapons of mass destruction at all, referring to the fact that this is an internal matter of the DPRK.

Moscow's frankly pro-South Korean stance has put Pyongyang in a very difficult diplomatic position. Caught between a hostile US-South Korean alliance in the south and an unfriendly Russia in the north, in March 1993 Pyongyang decides to take such an unexpected step as withdrawing from the NPT, and in May of the same year, it conducts tests of a Nodong-1 medium-range missile in the Sea of Japan, capable of delivering warheads at a distance of 800-1000 km. In fact, they were upgraded Soviet short-range missiles, known in the West as Scads, which were delivered from the USSR to the DPRK in the 1960s.

This ostentatiously defiant action by the North Korean regime, which was literally cornered, nevertheless had its effect, since the prospect of the DPRK possessing nuclear missile technologies, and even more so the possibility of exporting them to Middle Eastern countries (primarily to Syria, Iraq and Iran) in exchange for oil, was absolutely not included in the plan. plans of the United States and its allies. The following episode is quite revealing. In 1992, Israel, concerned about the DPRK's expanding military cooperation with

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Iran, made a very unexpected offer to the North Korean side, which is facing a shortage of foreign exchange resources. Israeli investors have expressed their willingness to invest $ 1 billion. The United States is interested in a concession to develop the largest gold mines in Unsan County, Pyeongan Province, in exchange for North Korea's refusal to supply medium-range missiles to Syria and Iran. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres was scheduled to fly to Pyongyang to conclude a deal after examining these mines by Israeli specialists, and only powerful pressure from the United States disrupted this visit.9 Nevertheless, the Clinton administration itself was forced to compromise and in June 1993 began direct consultations with the DPRK on Pyongyang's nuclear missile development.

Russia, in turn, suspended the agreement on cooperation and exchange of specialists in the field of nuclear research between the two countries and supported the UN resolution adopted on November 1, 1993 on the admission of IAEA inspections to North Korean nuclear facilities, although it expressed a dissenting opinion on international sanctions against the DPRK. The uncertainty of Moscow's position on actually joining the bloc of Western countries in resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis in practice has led to a complete loss of Russia's levers of political influence on the situation on the Korean peninsula. Neither the ROK nor the DPRK considered Russia capable of seriously influencing the development of events. Thus, after the statement of the North Korean leadership on March 12, 1994 about the possibility of "turning Seoul into a sea of fire", the President of the Republic of Korea went not to Moscow, but to Tokyo (March 24-26) and Beijing (March 26-30) in the hope that Japan and China would be able to play a constructive role as mediators in the settlement the resulting conflict. And the DPRK, defiantly ignoring the proposal of the Russian Foreign Ministry to urgently convene eight-party talks (with the participation of the South and the North, Russia, the United States, China, Japan, the UN and the IAEA), announced on March 24, 1994, continued direct contacts with the United States on this issue, stating that the North Korean nuclear issue, both for the reasons of its occurrence, It is also the subject of a bilateral dialogue between the United States and the DPRK by its very nature.10

The US-North Korean talks have been moving forward with great difficulty and have repeatedly been on the verge of complete breakdown. The nuclear crisis took on a particularly threatening scale in 1994. In March, the DPRK once again refused to allow the international inspection of the IAEA to access those nuclear facilities that allegedly produced plutonium suitable for subsequent use for military purposes. The North Korean leadership once again announced plans to withdraw from the NPT, and in the event of international sanctions, Pyongyang threatened to " turn Seoul into a sea of fire."

The confrontational position of Pyongyang increasingly inclined the United States to use force. By the time the North Korean leadership officially announced its withdrawal from the NPT on March 14, 1993, the Pentagon's military preparations were already in full swing. The possibility of limited pinpoint air strikes on North Korea's nuclear facilities was immediately ruled out, both due to the lack of reliable data on the location of the facilities, and due to the danger of radioactive contamination of neighboring countries, primarily Japan. A ground operation, according to Washington's calculations, for three months of military operations could lead to the loss of 52 thousand American soldiers, 490 thousand South Korean citizens and countless victims among the population of the DPRK.11 However, neither the possibility of a humanitarian catastrophe in the region, nor the huge financial costs of the operation, estimated at more than $ 60 billion, 12 were any longer a deterrent to the White House.

On June 16, 1994, the North Korean leadership declared its determination to launch a preemptive strike if the Pentagon's military preparations escalated. The time report was already days away, and only an urgent visit to Pyongyang by former US President John Kerry. Carter and his emergency meeting with North Korean President Kim Il Sung were able to prevent a nuclear catastrophe. Carter managed to convince Kim Il Sung at the last moment to freeze nuclear facilities in exchange for US assistance in obtaining American light-water reactors for the North Korean nuclear power plant. Washington and Pyongyang began to prepare for the resumption of bilateral nuclear talks, and the presidents of the DPRK and the Republic of Korea for the first summit scheduled for late July in Pyongyang.

The sudden death of the permanent leader of the DPRK, Kim Il Sung, on July 8, 1994, completely confused all previous agreements and plans. Washington and Seoul have decided that the days of the North Korean regime are numbered. This explains South Korean President Kim Yong-sam's diplomatically inadequate response to the death of Kim Il-sung, 13 which undid all previous progress in inter-Korean dialogue. This is also due to the adoption by the US Senate of amendments to the Foreign Aid Act, which actually limited the possibility of providing the DPRK with the declared assistance. 14 Nevertheless, despite the rather ominous situation around the DPRK, the parties still sat down at the negotiating table, which in October 1994 ended with the signing of the Geneva Bilateral Framework Agreement.

In accordance with the agreements reached, the DPRK has committed itself not to withdraw from the NPT, to freeze its nuclear development for military purposes at three gas graphite reactors and to allow IAEA inspectors to visit these facilities. The United States, in turn, agreed to supply two light-water reactors with a capacity of 1,000 MW each for the North Korean nuclear power plant under construction until 2003, instead of the previously planned supplies of Soviet gas graphite reactors. At the same time, as compensation for the delay in the implementation of the project, they guaranteed an annual supply of heating oil to the republic's thermal power plants in the amount of 150 thousand tons in 1995 and 500 thousand tons each.

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per year until these reactors are put into operation. The parties also agreed to open coordination centers in Washington and Pyongyang, which was supposed to be the first step towards normalizing economic and political relations between the two countries. In exchange for a return to the agreements, the North-South joint Declaration on making the Korean peninsula a nuclear-free zone, the North Korean leadership was also able to get the United States to commit not to threaten or use nuclear weapons against the DPRK.

Thus, the massive pressure on Pyongyang from Western countries led by the United States, which Russia joined, noticeably spoiling its relations with the DPRK, did not produce the expected results. The United States was forced to make direct contacts with the recalcitrant regime. As a result of such an unexpected turn of events for Russian diplomacy, Russia was completely forced out of the negotiation process and practically lost the opportunity to participate in the settlement of the North Korean nuclear crisis. It has ceased to be a useful partner for both the United States and China, as well as for the DPRK and the Republic of Korea.

By radically changing its tactics for resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis, moving from methods of force pressure to solving the problem by political means through the development of dialogue with the DPRK, American diplomacy skillfully took advantage of the complete degradation of relations between Russia and the DPRK and significantly extended its influence to the northern part of the Korean peninsula. The Geneva bilateral agreement, signed behind the back of a leading nuclear power, dealt a serious blow to Russia's international prestige.

Moreover, it has seriously undermined Russian economic interests on the Korean Peninsula. In particular, Russia was not even included in the international organization for energy supply of the Korean Peninsula - KEDO 15, established in March 1995 to overcome the energy crisis in the DPRK. Although by that time, Russia, in accordance with an intergovernmental agreement between the USSR and the DPRK, had completed an extensive geological justification program for choosing a site for the Tonhae nuclear power plant with a design capacity of 1,760 MW. Construction work has already begun on the site selected in the Sinpo County of South Hamgyong Province, which was suspended by the Russian government after the DPRK announced its withdrawal from the NPT.

The" nuclear card " played by the DPRK in the first half of the 1990s brought success not only to American diplomacy, which managed to limit the DPRK's nuclear activities, establish direct contacts with the North Korean political leadership and acquire new levers of influence on the situation on the Korean peninsula. After the establishment of diplomatic relations with Seoul, Beijing did not repeat the Russian experiment, which resulted in the curtailment of political, economic and military contacts with the DPRK and in a sharp violation of the balance of relations with the two states. China remained the only country that maintained stable relations with Pyongyang during the crisis and was able to persuade it to return to a position of reasonable compromise.

In the end, the DPRK was able to get out of the nuclear crisis with the maximum benefit for itself. The North Korean leadership has moved very close to the long - cherished goal of normalizing bilateral relations with the United States, which, according to Pyongyang, could create favorable conditions for restoring relations with Japan and open access to Western loans and technologies that are so necessary for the agonizing North Korean economy. Moreover, the most interested party, the Republic of Korea, was formally excluded from participation in solving the problem of nuclear security on the peninsula, which also played into the hands of the DPRK, which in principle did not want to recognize equality in the negotiation process for the South.

Unfortunately, the Geneva Framework Agreement left room for a number of uncertainties and discrepancies. In fact, it did not so much resolve the nuclear crisis as freeze the current situation for almost a decade. The critical moment came in 2003, when the United States was supposed to supply light-water reactors, and the DPRK was supposed to provide free access for IAEA inspectors to all nuclear facilities. The very form of the agreement (framework) did not provide for ratification by the US Senate, which caused strong opposition among US lawmakers, especially after a US Air Force helicopter was shot down over the territory of the DPRK in December 1994. Serious problems also arose with the financing of KEDO, established in March 1995, which was supposed to find funds for the construction of the promised reactors and the supply of fuel oil. The Republic of Korea has committed about 60% of the costs, but the financial crisis of 1997 has limited the capacity of the South Korean Government.

Moreover, as early as August 1998, US intelligence agencies leaked information about a secret nuclear facility in the Geumcheongni area near Nyongbyon to the American press. In the midst of negotiations over access to the site, the DPRK launched a three-stage ballistic missile on August 16, saying that the main purpose of the launch was to put a research satellite into low-Earth orbit. However, the United States and its allies in the region perceived the North Korean tests as, first of all, confirmation of significant progress in the DPRK's military missile program: the range of new missiles extended to Alaska and Hawaii. North Korea's provocative actions were used by the White House as an excuse to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) and speed up work on creating a national missile defense system. In turn, Japan revised its rather cautious attitude towards American plans and went to expand cooperation in the field of missile defense with the United States, and the Republic of Korea took advantage of the pre-crisis approach.-

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dent to start developing its own medium-range missiles (up to 300 km). In fact, the North Korean missile tests provoked serious changes not only at the regional, but also at the global geopolitical level, since they directly affected the interests of the leading nuclear powers.

A rather harsh reaction from the international community forced Pyongyang to declare a three-year moratorium on testing missile technologies in 1999. Nevertheless, the demonstrative gestures of the North Korean leadership had their effect. They have once again drawn international attention to a regime that showed remarkable resilience in the mid-1990s. Expectations of a complete collapse of the DPRK were not met, and with the "rogue state" showing signs of life, unpredictable and irrational, from the point of view of the West, it was necessary to sit down at the negotiating table and look for compromises.

As a result, the year 2000 saw a real breakthrough in Pyongyang's international isolation. In June, for the first time in history, a summit meeting was held between the President of the Republic of Korea Kim Dae-jung and the Chairman of the State Defense Committee of the DPRK Kim Jong-il, which gave a powerful impetus to the development of cooperation between the two countries in the economic and humanitarian fields. This was followed by a peculiar streak of diplomatic recognition from the European Union, Australia and Canada. In the autumn of 2001, the issue of visiting the DPRK by US President B. Clinton was seriously considered to discuss the problems of a moratorium on missile tests and the possibility of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. And in September 2002, the first ever Japan-North Korea summit was held in Pyongyang.

For the first time in the post-Soviet period, Russian diplomacy was also able to successfully take advantage of another unexpected round of events on the Korean Peninsula, which by that time was completely ousted from the negotiation process to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis. The normalization of relations between the DPRK and the Russian Federation ended in July 2000 with a summit in Pyongyang: moreover, the supreme leader of the Russian Federation visited the North Korean capital for the first time in the history of bilateral relations. It becomes clear that taking into account the interests of all regional powers will be able to bring the "North Korean problem" out of the impasse, and in August 2003, at the initiative of Beijing, new negotiations begin, but already in the six-party format with the participation of the DPRK, the United States, China, South Korea, Russia and Japan.

The five-year history of the six-party talks has repeatedly brought them to the brink of failure and one step away from success. Initially, the United States took an ultimatum position at these talks: the American side agreed to discuss only one issue with the DPRK - the complete, controlled, irreversible destruction (dismantling) of the nuclear program (CVID 16 in English abbreviation), rejecting any security guarantees and any attempts to return to the agreements of the Geneva Framework Agreement signed in 1994. The Clinton campaign. Such a tough approach was supported only by Japan, and under the pressure of the "majority" (China, Russia, and the ROK), the United States was forced to gradually abandon total pressure. The DPRK, in turn, also had to soften the uncompromising nature of its position. Pyongyang's tests of ballistic missiles (July 2006) and a nuclear device (October 2006) culminated in another round of confrontation between the United States and the DPRK.

These tests significantly strengthened the position of the DPRK, returning the main negotiators to the situation of seven years ago, with the only difference being that the North Korean state is now a de facto member of the nuclear club. And this new status of the DPRK is very easily capable of provoking another round of an arms race in Northeast Asia. If further developments follow the scenario of 2003 and 2005 (i.e., one of the parties withdraws from the agreements reached earlier), then Japan may most likely become the first state to pick up the momentum of destabilization. It will take several months for it to complete its suspended nuclear program and become a nuclear power. In turn, this will be especially painful for the Korean Peninsula. Both the DPRK and the Republic of Korea will have to significantly increase their military spending. And in such a situation, the United States is unlikely to be able to deter its South Korean partners from nuclear ambitions.

According to experts, the Republic of Korea already has the necessary technologies that will allow it to create an atomic bomb based on enriched uranium 17 within a year. In response, the United States will be forced to force the deployment of a full-scale missile defense system in the region, which will inevitably lead to the build-up of China's "nuclear muscle". In turn, Taiwan may recall its claims to join the nuclear club. The development of events on the "domino" principle projects similar processes in other regions of the world, primarily in the Middle East and Iran. As a result, in the foreseeable future, Russia will find several new nuclear powers in its neighborhood at once, in the complete absence of a balanced system of regional security.

Was such a pessimistic scenario predicted in the 1960s, when the Soviet leadership agreed to equip the nuclear research center in Nyongbyon with advanced equipment at that time, or in the 1980s, when an agreement was reached to build a nuclear power plant in the DPRK with the technical assistance of the USSR? I don't think so.

For a long period of time, the military and political departments of the USSR clearly underestimated the seriousness of the North Korean leadership's aspirations to possess nuclear weapons. And such determination, as can be seen from the facts outlined above, has already been formed among the leaders of the DPRK.

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By the end of the Korean War, it was ultimately reflected in the long-term purposeful concentration of financial, technological and human resources on the development of this area.

The condescending attitude of the USSR towards Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions was obviously based not only on an underestimated assessment of the technological and intellectual capabilities of the North Korean autarkic regime, but also on the opinion that the "partisan" developments of the DPRK in the field of nuclear missile technologies create a headache, first of all, for the Americans and their allies. Few people could have imagined that the" nuclear " map of Pyongyang would be used by the United States as a pretext for withdrawing from the ABM Treaty at the turn of the century and refusing to extend the validity of the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START-1), which expires on December 5, 2009. The danger of such actions for Russia is obvious: the United States, under the pretext of implementing the Global Strike Solution concept in the war against international terrorism, has the potential for a disarming first nuclear strike, which, taking into account the missile defense system currently being created, makes it possible to protect itself from a retaliatory strike.


1 Journal "Politburo" / / Appendix to the journal "Profile". 25.11.2002, p. 88.

Selig S. Harrison. 2 Korean Endgame. A Strategy for Reunification and U.S. Disengagement. Princeton University, 2002, p. 197.

Likholetov A. 3 As it was. Participation of the USSR in the development of the DPRK's nuclear program / / Korus FORUM, 19.11.2007 - www.korus-forum.org

4 The Republic of Korea ratified the International Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons only in March 1975.

5 Chunanilbo, 26.11.1993.

6 Administration of J. R. R. Tolkien Carter, along with plans to reduce the military contingent on the Korean peninsula, said that she would not stop at atomic bombings in response to any attempt by North Korean army units to enter South Korean territory.

7 Diplomatic Bulletin. Special Issue, January 1993, p. 16.

Tkachenko V. P. 8 Korey Peninsula and Interests of Russia, Moscow, 2000, p. 171.

Selig S 9Harrison. Korean Endgame.., p. 49 - 50.

Kang Won Sik. 10 Russia and Korea on the threshold of the XXI century. Moscow, 1999, p. 213.

Noland Markus. 11 Avoiding the Apocalypse. New York, 2000, p. 149.

12 Ibidem.

13 Upon receiving this news, the President of the Republic of Korea, Kim Yong-sam, instead of the expected condolences, put the troops in the south of the peninsula on high alert.

14 In accordance with these amendments, assistance was allowed only if the US President proved that the DPRK did not have nuclear weapons, as well as that it had exported components of nuclear warheads and their means of delivery to third countries.

15 KEDO (Korea Energy Development Organization) was established by the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea to finance the construction of two light-water reactors in the DPRK and the supply of fuel oil to North Korean thermal power plants.

16 CVID - Complete, Verified, Irreversible Dismantling.

17 Seoul Can Build A-Bomb within 1 Year // The Korean Times. 16.10.2006.


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KIM WON IL, RUSSIA AND THE KOREAN PENINSULA NUCLEAR CRISIS // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 23.07.2023. URL: https://libmonster.com/m/articles/view/RUSSIA-AND-THE-KOREAN-PENINSULA-NUCLEAR-CRISIS (date of access: 19.05.2024).

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Peter Nielsen
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23.07.2023 (300 days ago)
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