Despite past agreements and negotiation efforts with North Korea about the elimination of its nuclear program, there has been no clear and consistent understanding of what “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” (“CDKP”) actually means. Some interpret it as the unilateral disarmament of North Korea, entailing the dismantlement of its nuclear weapons, related facilities, and delivery systems. Others believe that North Korea’s interpretation would require more demands than what South Korea could accept, such as the withdrawal of US forces from the Korean Peninsula.
This article examines North Korea’s perspectives on CDKP, based on its public statements and past agreements, with a particular focus on negative security assurance (NSA). It is clear that issues such as the role of US extended deterrence and even US nuclear doctrine will be core challenges to establishing a credible NSA for North Korea, which can have further regional implications. Understanding those tensions and whether they can be realistically addressed in practice will be critical to the success of any future negotiations.
Under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), NSA is a term used to describe the commitment by nuclear weapon states (NWS) to refrain from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS). An NSA is particularly important for addressing the security concerns of NNWS, who have “voluntarily given up the nuclear weapons option by becoming parties to the Treaty.” Therefore, NNWS, especially members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), have pursued binding NSA commitments from NWS since the negotiation phase of the NPT. The pursuit of a binding NSA by NNWS is internationally recognized as a “legitimate interest.”
Despite the importance of binding a universal NSA to NNWS, no such arrangement has been formalized within or added to the context of the NPT, except at the regional level through Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones (NWFZ). During the negotiation of the NPT, NWS, particularly the United States and the former Soviet Union, were unable to agree on an NSA formula due to their differing strategic interests. More specifically, the former Soviet Union proposed an NSA phrase that would prohibit the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against NNWS that do not have nuclear weapons on their territory. However, the United States opposed this proposal due to its nuclear deployment in what was then West Germany.
Instead of formalizing an NSA pledge within the context of the NPT, NWS adopted United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 255 in 1968, which requires immediate action by the UNSC if an NNWS falls victim to a nuclear threat. This is known as a positive security assurance (PSA). However, the PSA enshrined in Resolution 255 did not satisfy the requirements of NNWS for a universal, legally binding, and unconditional NSA. Since then, non-nuclear weapons states have continued to push for a binding NSA in various multilateral forums, such as the Conference on Disarmament (CD), the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and the NPT Review Conferences.
At the UN General Assembly in 1978, the United States and the other NWS issued unilateral NSA declarations for NNWS party to the NPT. However, these declarations were not consistent across all NWS and contained reservations, except for China, whose NSA pledge was unconditional. For example, the United States promised not to use nuclear weapons against an NNWS party to the NPT unless it was attacked by an NNWS that was “allied to a nuclear-weapon state or associated with a nuclear-weapon state in carrying out or sustaining the attack.” This means that NNWS could still be targeted by US nuclear weapons even if an adversarial NWS was not directly involved or aware of such attacks.
The NSA was one of the most contentious issues during the NPT Review and Extension Conference in 1995. In order to gain political support from NNWS for the indefinite extension of the NPT beyond its original 25-year lifespan, NWS updated or reaffirmed their NSA pledges via UNSC Resolution 984. In the case of the United States, the country updated its NSA pledge by tightening the qualifications for NSA beneficiaries as NNWS in full compliance with the NPT. In lieu of formal NSA pledges by NWS, the 1995 NPT Conference yielded Principles And Objectives For Nuclear Non-Proliferation And Disarmament, which recommended that international efforts be made toward creating a potential legally binding NSA instrument.
Since then, the NSA policy of the United States has varied as it is frequently updated via Nuclear Posture Reviews (NPRs). For instance, the 2001 NPR deviated from the 1995 NSA pledge by reserving the right to preemptive strikes and the possible use of nuclear weapons against an NNWS for attacks on the United States with chemical and biological weapons. It also announced plans to develop novel nuclear weapons for hardened and deeply buried targets (HDBT) in NNWS and identified five NNWS that did not have nuclear weapons at the time (North Korea, Iran, Syria, Iraq and Libya) as potential targets of US nuclear strikes. The 2010 NPR repealed the use of US nuclear weapons against an NNWS for chemical and biological weapons use against the United States, although reserving the right to reassess this policy as conditions evolve. The NPRs of 2018 and 2022 also specified NSAs for only NNWS in full compliance with the NPT.
North Korea’s Position on the NSA
North Korea is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement of states, and its overall position on nuclear issues is similar to those of other NAM states (depicted in the global nuclear politics landscape visual in Appendix 1), including the idea that international peace can only be achieved through the total elimination of nuclear weapons on a global scale. Noting the lack of progress in disarmament by NWS, NAM argues that the security assurances, including both the NSAs and PSAs stipulated in UNSC Resolutions 984 and 255, are “limited, conditional, and insufficient” for addressing the security concerns of NNWS. In this regard, NAM advocates for an international instrument that would provide a legally binding, unconditional, irrevocable and non-discriminatory NSA to NNWS parties to the NPT.
From NAM’s viewpoint, the current NSA pledges are merely unilateral statements that cannot guarantee their national security. It has noted that the US NSA policy stipulated in the NPRs has evolved in a way that limits the beneficiaries of its NSA. Likewise, North Korea demands a mandatory NSA that is applicable under any circumstance, and, at the CD in 2011, expressed its concern that NWS could reverse their security assurance pledges “at any time as they are unilateral, conditional and not legally binding.”
Another point of agreement between North Korea and NAM is that both are urging NWS to eliminate nuclear extended deterrence. While arguing that security assurances should be strengthened, NAM believes that the military alliance between the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) contradicts the principles of the NPT since the US deterrence strategy is based on the threat of the use of nuclear weapons. Similarly, North Korea asserts the idea that with an NSA, extended deterrence would not be necessary, arguing that NWS must instead remove their “nuclear umbrella” and withdraw all nuclear weapons deployed in other countries.
That said, there are also some points of divergence between NAM and North Korea as well. North Korea and NAM are not in alignment when it comes to the qualifications for NSA beneficiaries. NAM members clearly state that beneficiaries for a potential international NSA instrument should be NNWS, who are parties to the NPT. Whereas, for instance, US conditions including only NNWS are in full compliance with the NPT. North Korea, on the other hand, argues that all NNWS should be NSA beneficiaries without specific linkage to NPT membership or status of compliance.
Implications for Complete Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
Any future nuclear deal with Pyongyang that aims to achieve CDKP will require the provision of an NSA, as have past deals. For instance, the Agreed Framework of 1994 specifies that the United States would offer “formal assurances” to North Korea, including an NSA. The Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks of 2005 and the Joint Statement of the Singapore Summit of 2018 also contain provisions for security guarantees. However, it has never been clear what exactly would make an NSA sufficient to achieve CDKP.
First and foremost, a core element of an NSA to North Korea would be the end of US extended deterrence. North Korea has explicitly defined CDKP as a complete elimination of “the US nuclear threat to Korea,” as well as “all sources of nuclear threats” from neighboring countries. For Pyongyang to relinquish its “nuclear deterrent,” it would want guarantees it would no longer be a potential victim of nuclear threats, which includes the “nuclear umbrella,”–especially from the United States. This could be an impediment on the road to CDKP due to the South Korean public’s mistrust of North Korea, of which about 60 percent favors the nuclear armament of the South.
Second, a future nuclear deal with North Korea will require careful management of US nuclear doctrine. For instance, in 2002, North Korea complained about language in the US nuclear posture review that seemed contradictory to the security assurances under the Agreed Framework. In 2010, Pyongyang also took the omission of North Korea from the list of NSA recipients in the NPR to mean it would be subject to US preemptive strikes. Therefore, achieving CDKP (not just signing the agreement) will take concerted efforts to ensure consistency across all policy instruments. For the global nonproliferation regime, such efforts should also address the security interests of non-NSA beneficiaries in good standing with the NPT since there is a view that states should not be rewarded an NSA for non-compliance and withdrawal from the NPT.
Lastly, providing a legally binding NSA to North Korea would also mean an end to the US nuclear umbrella for Japan. This may leave Japan and South Korea concerned about their security vis-à-vis China and Russia, which may necessitate firm and unconditional NSA pledges from Beijing and Moscow as well. As evidenced by their narratives at the UN, China and Russia may welcome a regional NSA arrangement, such as in the form of an NWFZ, because it could limit the presence of US strategic assets in the region. However, in this case, the United States would not accept any deals that could impede it from advancing its strategic interests in Asia. Moreover, a potentially lengthy process for rebuilding mutual trust among the regional actors in East Asia is a prerequisite to any dialogues for CDKP with North Korea, given the current geopolitical environment in the region.
The pursuit of a legally binding and unconditional NSA by NNWS parties to the NPT is a perennial issue within the nonproliferation regime and is regarded as a “legitimate interest” in diplomatic settings. Similarly, North Korea has long insisted that it will not give up its nuclear weapons unless the nuclear threat posed by the United States is completely eliminated, including US extended deterrence commitments, which may then require further security assurances in the region to be sustained.
In this regard, policymakers in South Korea and the United States, and potentially Japan, should work to understand whether their understanding of CDKP is similar to North Korea’s, where it may differ, and whether those discrepancies can be resolved. Otherwise, South Korean and US policymakers will need to reformulate their North Korea policy and envisage what would be an acceptable end-state to identify how their strategic interests could be balanced with the nuclear risks posed by North Korea.
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Appendix I. The Global Nuclear Political Landscape.
Appendix II. North Korea’s Statements on NSAs.
Statement by H.E. Ambassador So Se Pyong, Permanent Representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the CD Plenary
Since this is the first time the delegation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has taken the floor under your Presidency, let me extend our warm congratulations to you on the high assumption of your duties as the President of the Conference on Disarmament, and wish you success in your endeavors. You can rest assured of the DPRK delegation’s full support and cooperation.
Let me also take this opportunity to highly appreciate Ambassador of Ecuador for his valuable contribution he has made as the first President of the 2012 session of the Conference.
At the same time, I wish to thank the Secretary General and his team for their efforts in taking forward the work of the Conference.
The DPRK is committed to the Conference on Disarmament, the single multilateral negotiating body on disarmament. It is for this reason that like all other member states, my delegation expects the CD will start its substantive work on all core issues including the nuclear disarmament in line with its mandate.
What is now particularly concerned is that some states pursue to leave aside the CD and turn to alternative negotiation process while shifting the responsibility of the current CD’s inactivity on to another. These moves will not lead to useful and productive results in taking forward the agreed multilateral agenda with the participation of all relevant countries. Acknowledging the importance and continued validity of the consensus final document of SSOD-I, the DPRK supports the proposal for the early convening of SSOD-I with a view to consolidating the multilateral disarmament agenda and machinery within the United Nations.
In today’s international relations, hegemonic policy and the use of force and nuclear blackmails are openly practiced and translated into action. Arms conflicts and insecurity continue to persist in different parts pf the world threatening the right to existence of the sovereign states.
The Korean peninsula is not excluded here. The nuclear issue accompanied with the periodically explosive situation and the continuation of tension on the Korean peninsula are originated from the hostile relations between the DPRK and the US which gives rise to mistrust and confrontation. In the “Nuclear Posture Review” of April, 2010, the US officially announced that the DPRK was excluded from the list of the countries to receive the Negative Security Assurance. This bespeaks in essence that the stand of the US remain unchanged in its policy of preemptive nuclear strike against the DPRK.
Despite unanimous aspirations and demands at home and abroad for peace, arms build-up and nuclear war exercises are ceaselessly conducted on the Korean peninsula and in its vicinity against the DPRK. At the present moment, south Korea in league with the US, has embarked upon the road of kicking off the joint military exercises under the codenames of “Key Resolve” and “Foal Eagle” with mobilization of huge latest nuclear war equipment in south Korea defying the repeated warnings of the DPRK. This proves that the US and south Korea are to blame for harassed peace, escalated tension on the Korean peninsula and stalled north-south relations.
Nevertheless, the south Korea is busy preparing to hold a “nuclear security summit” in late March. It is astonishing that a meeting with the issue of nuclear security is to be convened in south Korea, a nuclear advance base for the US and the world’s largest nuclear powder magazine. Calling for “nuclear security” under such situation of anti-DPRK nuclear war games, is a mockery and insult to the public at home and abroad. It will only lay a more stumbling block to the settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula and bring only disgrace and blemish to history.
Dialogue and confrontation can be incompatible. Dialogue can not be made amid gun-report and naturally end up in disputes. If south Korea is truly interested in a dialogue and an improvement of north-south relations rather than talk, it should immediately stop the fellow countrymen-targeted war clamour.
The international community still cherishes the happy memory of the meaningful days; the days which were inaugurated with the historic inter-Korean summit, the first of its kind since the national division; a series of events that followed the DPRK-US Joint Communique, the DPRK-Japan Pyongyang Declaration and discussion of talks for the declaration of the end of the Korean war and instilled hope into the heart of the mankind longing for national reunification and regional peace.
All these signal events were precious results of the June 15 era of independent reunification leader Kim Jong II ushered in, pursuing Songun politics and fully guaranteeing the security of the Korean peninsula.
The June 15 North-South Joint Declaration and its action programme, the October 4 Declaration were all provided by two times of Pyongyang summit held between the north and south of Korea. Those two declarations are a symbol of the June 15 reunification era and beacon of reunification and peace. The south Korea should make its intention clear first upon the implementation of the inter-Korean declarations before talking about the dialogue.
Implementation of the declarations is in full accord with the interests of all countries that show concern over peace in the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia. If a country truly wants to see the provision of security in the Korean peninsula, it should squarely see that the only way to do is to implement the declarations that would lead to improved relations between the north and south and, further, to peace and security in Northeast Asia, instead of lending its ear to the sophism of the south Korean authorities.
As the DPRK clarified its position on many occasions, its withdrawal from the NPT is the legitimate self-defensive measure undertaken to protect the supreme interests and security of the country from the US increasing nuclear threat. On the Korean peninsula, the NPT was unable to foil nuclear weapon deployment by a state which possesses the largest nuclear arsenals or stop its nuclear threat.
No one can be entitled to criticizing a legal right of the sovereign states. The DPRK’s uranium enrichment programme is purely for the peaceful nuclear energy. The DPRK delegation takes this opportunity to reiterate its position that it categorically rejected the UNSC resolutions 1718 and 1874 and would not be bound by them.
The nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula has entirely originated from the hostile policy and nuclear threats of the US against the DPRK, and it is, therefore, the key party which is responsible and capable to address its root cause is none other than the United States.
More than half century have passed since the end of the Korean war but no peace mechanism is established so far but there still exists the outdated armistice regime, the cold war legacy. Therefore, the DPRK and the US are in a state of war in legal or technical points of view. As long as the DPRK and the US, the direct parties to the Korean Armistice Agreement, stand in hostile by leveling guns at each other, neither DPRK-US mutual mistrust can be removed nor the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula be achieved indefinitely. As well known, the DPRK has proposed at the beginning of the year 2010 to conclude peace agreement. This proposal is the most effective confidence-building measure to remove the existing DPRK-US mistrusts. The conclusion of the peace agreement proposed by the DPRK will play a role as powerful driving force to ensure denuclearization on the Korean peninsula.
It is the consistent position of the DPRK to resume the 6 party talks without preconditions and discuss the implementation of the Joint Statement adopted on 19 September 2005 on the principle of simultaneous action. Nonetheless, delaying the resumption of the talks is due to the US side, which creates the artificial obstacle, while raising unreasonable preconditions apart from fulfillment of its obligation. The prospect of the resumption of the talks entirely depends upon the attitude of the US to the positive efforts of the DPRK to ensure peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and realize the denuclearization through the dialogue and negotiation.
The DPRK’s nuclear deterrent has served as powerful deterrent for preserving peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and other parts of Northeast Asia.
The DPRK, considering it as its sacred duty to safeguard peace and security and promote common prosperity on the Korean peninsula and the rest of the world, will do its utmost for their realization.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Statement by Ambassador Mr. Ri Tong Il, Deputy Permanent Representative of DPR Korea to the United Nations
Subject; Nuclear Weapons, 1st Committee, 66th Session
As far as world peace and security are concerned, the greatest challenge is coming from nuclear weapons.
More than half a century has passed since the appearance of the first nuclear weapon and twenty years have elapsed since the end of the Cold War. Nevertheless, there’s a growing tendency of relying on nuclear weapons, with the modernization of nuclear weapons being accelerated on behalf of nuclear powers.
In addition, a country with the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons, having designated specific countries as targets for preemptive nuclear strikes, has drawn up an operational plan for nuclear attacks and is conducting nuclear war exercises under that plan in an undisguised manner.
Our delegation would like to draw your attention to the following issues.
First, nuclear disarmament should be oriented towards total ban on the use of nuclear weapons and their eventual elimination.
The existence of nuclear weapons, as well as their use or the threat of use, constitutes a constant threat to humankind. Furthermore, as long as nuclear weapons exist outside of any legal framework or treaty endangering the survival of humankind, there is no guarantee for world peace and security.
The DPRK is steadfast on the comprehensive and total abolition of nuclear weapons and to this end, insists that a convention on the prohibition of nuclear weapons with a timeframe be adopted. In addition, nuclear disarmament should be multilateral in nature, verifiable, and irreversible.
In this regard, we support the proposal for the establishment of a special committee and an early start of negotiation on nuclear disarmament.
Second, nuclear powers should refrain from nuclear threats on non-nuclear-weapon states and provide them with a legally binding NSA.
The non-nuclear-weapon states are demanding a mandatory and binding NSA from nuclear powers on non-use of nuclear weapons under all circumstances.
The international relations in which a certain country is free to pose nuclear threats while others are exposed to the threats should no longer be tolerable.
Nuclear powers should remove the “nuclear umbrella” over their allied countries and withdraw all nuclear weapons deployed outside their own territories. They should also abandon a nuclear doctrine based on preemptive use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states and pledge to provide firm NSA and move as soon as possible towards the negotiation of an international treaty.
Expecting that the present meeting will play a due role in achieving substantial results for achieving disarmament, we assure you of our active cooperation with this committee and the Geneva Conference on Disarmament.
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Sin Son Ho, Permanent Representative of the DPRK to United Nations First Committee of the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly
Let me first of all congratulate you on your election as chairman of the first Committee, and I believe that this meeting will be crowned with success under your able leadership. I also wish to associate myself with the statement made by the Republic of Indonesia on behalf of the NAM.
Twenty years have passed since the end of the Cold War. Nevertheless, international efforts for peace and security of the world and disarmament are still confronted with serious challenges.
In today’s international relations, hegemonic policy and the use of force and nuclear blackmail are openly practiced and translated into action. Armed conflicts and insecurity continue to persist in different parts of the world, threatening the right to existence of sovereign states. The Korean peninsula is not excluded here.
My delegation takes this opportunity to underline the root causes of the ever-aggravating situation on the Korean Peninsula.
The Korean peninsula, which was forcibly divided into two by outside forces still remains in a state of neither war nor peace for more than half a century. The nuclear issue accompanied with the periodically explosive situation and the continuation of tension on the Korean peninsula are originated from the hostile relations between the DPRK and the US which gives rise to mistrust and confrontation. Despite unanimous aspirations and demands at home and abroad for peace, arms build-up and nuclear war exercises are ceaselessly conducted on the Korean peninsula and in its vicinity area against the DPRK.
In the “Nuclear Posture Review” of April 2010, the US officially announced that the DPRK was excluded from the list of countries to receive the Negative Security Assurance. This bespeaks in essence that the stand of the US remains unchanged in its policy of preemptive nuclear strike against the DPRK.
In August this year alone, the United States conducted nuclear war exercises under the codename of “Ulji Freedom Guardian” with mobilization of massive armed forces in South Korea despite of our repeated warnings. Another fundamental reason for ever growing tension on the Korean peninsula is the absence of a peace mechanism.
More than half a century has passed since the end of the Korean War, but no peace mechanism is established so far but there still exists the outdated armistice regime, the Cold War legacy. Therefore, the DPRK and the US are in a state of war in legal or technical points of view.
As long as the DPRK and the US, the direct parties to the Korean Armistice Agreement, stand in hostile by leveling guns at each other, neither DPRK-US mutual mistrust can be removed nor can the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula be achieved at any time.
The DPRK proposed last year to conclude peace agreement. This proposal is the most effective confidence-building measure to remove existing DPRK-US mistrusts. The conclusion of the peace agreement proposed by the DPRK will play a role as powerful driving force to ensure denuclearization on the Korean peninsula.
We strongly believe that our proposal to conclude the peace agreement would be a good one either in view of the peculiar security situation of the Korean peninsula or in view of regional peace and security. The DPRK Government stands consistent in its position to ensure peace and security and to speed up the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula through dialogue and negotiations.
The prevailing situation on the Korean peninsula demands that the parties concerned seize opportunity in right time with a bold decision to address the fundamental root cause through dialogue. The main party here is the United States of America.
The nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula has entirely originated from the hostile policy and nuclear threats of the US against the DPRK, and it is, therefore, the key party which is responsible and capable to address its root cause is none other than the United States. If the US have real concern of peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, it should stop hostile military action raising tension and respond positively to the DPRK’s proposal on concluding peace agreement.
The DPRK, considering it as its sacred duty to safeguard peace and security and promote common prosperity on the Korean peninsula and the rest of the world, will do its utmost for their realization.
Statement by H.E. Mr. Sin Son Ho, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the United Nations
At the General Assembly Plenary Debate on “follow-up to the high-level meeting held on 24 September 2010; revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament and taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations”
Let me, first of all, appreciate you for organizing this important debate.
Allow me also to express my hope that this meeting will provide a good opportunity for the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to be revitalized and bring it on a right track.
My delegation fully supports the statement made by H.E. Mr. Maged A Abdelaziz, the Permanent Representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Nuclear disarmament continues to remain a top priority in securing world peace and security.
The first appearance of nuclear weapons in 1945 was a beginning of history of the most destructive weapons against humankind.
Dropping of nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan is its typical example, which has proven to the world, more than enough, the destructive consequences how even a single nuclear weapon could affect the global peace and security.
Moreover, the appearance of the first nuclear weapon state in 1945 was a fundamental root cause of its proliferation to the rest of the world resulting in chain reaction.
If the successes of the sacred science of the mankind have not been used for an ill-famed and dangerous purposes which may eliminate the entire mankind, the proliferation of nuclear weapons could have not come as today.
As we can see, nuclear weapons are the matter of directly relating to the survival of the mankind and to the peace and security of the world.
Nuclear weapon states have an unavoidable obligation to implement their commitments under existing international norms.
In 1996, the International Court of Justice made it clear to the world that the use of nuclear weapons is a violation of international law.
It must bring to our attention that all other existing weapons are under the full control of treaties or conventions, with no exceptions at all, but nuclear weapons remain outside multilateral international laws.
The same is true of negative security assurances towards non-nuclear weapon states.
The recent developments cast dark shadows over the prospects of nuclear disarmament, drawing the attention of the international society.
The nuclear weapons modernization programs are openly propelled according to Nuclear Doctrines that resembling Cold War period.
It should be brought into our attention that projects are under way for small type nuclear weapons to be used like conventional weapons.
In addition to this, the Missile Defense System (MDS) is keeping steady headway, challenging international concern.
The MDS being pushed under the pretext of responding to so-called ballistic missile developments by what they call “rogue states” is far from carrying logic, due to its extra fabulous amount of fund and geographical network covering all over the world.
The nature and scope of the MDS speaks by itself where its real target is, the real target being none other than the gaining of absolute nuclear superiority and global hegemony over other nuclear power rivals.
In the current changing world, one can easily understand that this dangerous move will eventually spark a new nuclear arms race.
This shows that the world’s largest nuclear weapon state has lost its legal or moral justifications to talk of proliferation issues before the international society, on whatever ground.
If the largest nuclear weapon state truly wants non-proliferation, it should show its good example by negotiating the Treaty of Abolishing Nuclear Weapons.
The total and complete elimination of nuclear weapons remains the consistent policy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The Treaty of Abolishing Nuclear Weapons should be concluded in a time-bound, verifiable, irreversible, and legally binding manner.
Such a policy of the DPRK is a good reflection of the unique and special security environment to which the country has long been exposed for decades under the continuing external nuclear threats and blackmails.
Since the first nuclear weapon was introduced into South Korea in 1957 by the United States, the number of nuclear weapons has gone beyond 1,000.
As a member state and the current President of the CD, the DPRK will do everything possible to move the CD forward.
Nuclear disarmament, negative security assurances, banning of outer space weapons, and fissile material banning are all pending issues in the CD.
It is regrettable that nuclear disarmament and negative security assurances are not yet being settled, although they have history of decades-long discussion along with the inception of the United Nations.
As far as the cause of over a decade long deadlock of the CD is concerned, it is due to the lack of political will.
If the CD is to move forward, the security interests of all member countries should be fully considered.
In this regard, the program of work once adopted in the CD in 2009 is something of value to be reconsidered since it is reflecting upon all pending issues in the CD on an equal basis.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Statement by Ambassador So Se Pyong, Permanent Representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the UN and Other International Organizations at the Conference on Disarmament
Today, I have taken to the floor to speak on a critical issue of our agenda item.
Negative Security Assurances (NSAs) to non-nuclear weapon states becomes a vital issue for nuclear disarmament in its purpose and angle.
It is an escapist act to pursue merely non-proliferation while evading the issue of assuring non-nuclear weapons States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is the result of the threat posed by existing nuclear weapons.
However, it is regrettable that some countries differentiate between the existence of nuclear weapons and their proliferation and persist with their assertions on the issue of non-proliferation alone.
Now, high-handed policies on nuclear weapons, which are based on a double standard, have reduced the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and other disarmament conventions to dead paper that is of no use and that lack binding force – a sure way of plunging the world into a nuclear arms race.
There can be no justification for the fact that certain countries take issue with the peaceful nuclear activities of countries they detest, while keeping out of their obligations to disarm their own nuclear weapons.
The peaceful use of nuclear energy is not a privilege conceded to specific countries but the legitimate right of sovereign states.
It can be said that the provision of Negative Security Assurances is essential of to the non-nuclear weapon States and the process of nuclear disarmament on the globe.
Non-nuclear weapon States demand that nuclear weapon States should unconditionally assure non-nuclear weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in all cases.
Over the past 60 years from the time that nuclear weapons first appeared, nuclear weapon States have individually declared their commitments to assuring non-nuclear weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in the international fora including the United Nations.
However, nuclear weapon States are free to reverse their commitments at any time as they are unilateral, conditional and not legally binding.
All these facts prove that current declared commitments can do little to solve the problem at all. Therefore, we are of the view that it is vital to establish an international legally binding instrument on NSAs.
To this end, my delegation considers that it is requisite for conclusion of a verifiable and legally binding international convention on prohibition of nuclear weapons placing nuclear weapon States under an obligation to neither use nor threaten to use of nuclear weapons in any condition.
Nuclear weapon States should give up their nuclear doctrines based on the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons and commit themselves unconditionally to non-use of nuclear weapons pre-emptively, as demanded by non-nuclear weapon States. And they must come to the negotiation table to draft an international convention in that respect.
The DPRK’s nuclear weapons will serve as reliable war deterrent for protecting the supreme interests of the state and the security of the Korean nation from the super-Power’s threat of aggression and averting a new war and firmly safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean peninsula under any circumstances.
The DPRK will always sincerely implement its international commitments as a responsible nuclear weapon state.
The DPRK will do its utmost to realize the denuclearization of the peninsula and give impetus to world-wide nuclear disarmament and the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Statement by H.E. Mr. So Se Pyong, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in Geneva at the plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament
Since this is my first intervention, let me also congratulate you on assuming the first Presidency of the 2011 session of the Conference on Disarmament and highly appreciate your enormous efforts and contribution made for the work of the CD from the beginning of this year.
In building a peaceful and prosperous world, disarmament is the top most priority. Disarmament faces yet with challenges regrettably, although two decades have passed since the end of the cold war.
The undisguised advocacy for and practice of hegemony and strong-arm policy is giving rise to greater concern, while this policy is frequently being followed by a show of force, blackmail and, in the long run, use of war, which once used to be symptoms of the cold war era.
It is of today’s world that the nuclear weapons estimated at over twenty thousands are still in a status quo of existence. It is also of today’s world that sovereign states are often targeted, being threatened or blackmailed by nuclear weapons, while the mankind itself as a whole being threatened for its existence.
In this regard, the delegation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) believes that due attention should be focused to the following agenda items of the CD.
- Top priority should be given to nuclear disarmament.
As a member of the G-21 and NAM, the DPRK attaches the highest priority to nuclear disarmament.
The nuclear disarmament is directly linked to the survival of humankind before it relates to world peace and security. Of all weapons in this world, only nuclear weapons remain out of control with no relevant instrument.
President Kim II Sung advanced long ago an idea of building a world free from nuclear weapons. And it is the desire of the Korean people to live in a peaceful world without nuclear weapons.
The DPRK remains consistent in its support for total and complete elimination of nuclear weapons in the world, the world with nuclear zero.
As for today after the end of the cold war, nuclear disarmament should be of multilateral nature, and also verifiable and irreversible.
My delegation takes this opportunity to reiterate its readiness to start negotiations on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified framework of time, including a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
- The nuclear-weapon States should refrain from nuclear threats and provide non-nuclear-weapon States with Negative Security Assurances (NSAs).
Nuclear-weapon States should revoke the provision of “nuclear umbrella” to their allies and withdraw all nuclear weapons deployed outside their territories in order to push forward nuclear disarmament and prevent danger of nuclear war.
NSAs is essential to existence of non-nuclear-weapon States and promotion of the global process of nuclear disarmament.
The demand of non-nuclear-weapon States is an unconditional and binding assurance by nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in any case.
Most of the nuclear-weapon States are opposed to forming legally binding international instrument on the NSAs for non-nuclear-weapon States.
The current international relations which allow a certain country to use nuclear weapons as a means of threats that others are compelled to be threatened, should no longer be tolerated.
- Profound attention should also be directed to initiatives on the prevention of arms race in outer space.
The CD has the primary role in the negotiation of a multilateral agreement or agreements, as appropriate, on the prevention of arms race in outer space.
In the past, the CD has made continued efforts to start negotiation on a comprehensive agreement on the prevention of arms race in outer space in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the UNGA.
The DPRK delegation supports the proposal to establish an ad hoc committee on PAROS and to start negotiations on the issue.
As the single multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament, the CD has a high responsibility to attain the goal of total elimination of nuclear weapons.
It is the view of my delegation that the CD could and should fulfill its mission. For this, we will make every effort with patience.
The DPRK delegation sincerely hopes that the intensive debate on the core issues of our agenda items being conducted, will contribute to creating an atmosphere for agreeing upon a programme of work and thus lead to a desired multilateral negotiating process including nuclear disarmament.
I thank you, Mr. President.
Statement by H.E. Mr. Ri TCHEUL, Permanent Representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the United Nations Office at Geneva and the Conference on Disarmament
On the Issue of Nuclear Disarmament
I would first like to congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament and wish you success in your responsibility.
I would also like to extend my high appreciation to your predecessor the Ambassador of Poland for his enormous efforts and contribution made for revitalization of the work of the CD.
The delegation of the DPRK, while associating itself with the G-21 statement, would like to state its point of view on the issue of nuclear disarmament.
The DPRK holds that nuclear disarmament is the most important and priority issue for the Conference on Disarmament and the international community.
The negative nuclear policy and doctrine and the threats and blackmail based on the nuclear weapons, which now emerge in the international relations, pose great apprehensions to the international society and produce only instability, mistrust and undesired results.
It is attributable to the abnormal nuclear policy and doctrine that the principle of sovereign equality enshrined in the UN Charter is not respected and the inequality and injustice persist in the international relations.
These give undesired effect not only to the process of the CD but also to other negotiation fora on peace and security
The pursuit of preserving and strengthening one’s own nuclear arsenals while disliking nuclear activities of others would mean to negate establishing fair international relations. As long as this nuclear doctrine and nuclear threats remain, the hotbed of nuclear proliferation will not be eliminated.
The mind-set should be reconsidered that regards as more beneficial the present inequality and injustice derived from strength.
Nuclear disarmament is the main issue to be addressed in the field of disarmament. Disarmament can be said to have achieved its goal when the total elimination of nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament is achieved.
My delegation would not share the notion that it is unrealistic at this stage to call for revising negative nuclear doctrine. Major nuclear weapon state should display the will to be in multilateral negotiating process for international legal instruments on nuclear disarmament without further delay.
Pending complete elimination of nuclear weapons, it would be urgently required to address the issues of redressing nuclear supremacy doctrine, removing nuclear threats, putting an end to qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons, withdrawing the nuclear weapons deployed abroad, also withdrawing nuclear umbrella provided to other countries, providing negative security assurances, etc. Negotiating process on the nuclear disarmament could start in this direction.
My delegation supports the proposal to establish an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament and to start negotiations on the issue.
The CD assumes an important role for world peace and security as a multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament. My delegation views that the CD could and should fulfill its intrinsic mission.
In this regard, this delegation hopes to see further strengthened efforts with a view to adopting a program of work and is ready to contribute to these efforts.
Program of work of the CD should be comprehensive and balanced one acceptable to all. Though the A-5 proposal falls short of this delegation’s hope, it has expressed its position from the spirit of multilateralism that it supports the A-5 proposal and that this proposal could serve as a basis of our efforts for agreeing upon a program of work.
I do hope that the structured debate on the items of the CD Agenda being conducted in accordance with the timetable submitted by the P-6 will contribute to establishing an enabling atmosphere for agreeing upon a program of work and thus lead to a desired negotiating process.
Thank. you, Mr. President.