North Korea announced on March 16 that it will launch a satellite in mid-April, a move that threatens to unravel a Feb. 29 agreement the country made with the United States to halt key nuclear and missile activities. North Korea says it is carrying out the launch between April 12 and 16 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder, Kim Il Sung, on April 15.
Prepared Remarks by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association, delivered March 6, 2012 at the Salle de la Commission de la Defense in Paris at a conference sponsored by the: Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg; Institut de Relations Internationales et Strategiques; British American Security Information Council; and Arms Control Association.
North Korea has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and to implement moratoriums on nuclear and long-range missile tests, Department of State spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a Feb. 29 statement.
Five Republican members of Congress raised concerns in November that North Korea is developing a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a capability that might allow it to protect its long-range missiles from being destroyed before they are used. However, some nongovernmental experts said such a system was very likely beyond North Korea’s current technical reach.
North Korean strongman Kim Jong Il may be gone, but the dangers posed by Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs persist. Although the long-term future of the regime under the new young ruler, Kim Jong Un, remains uncertain, it is clearly in the United States’ interest to get the much-delayed denuclearization process back on track.
A second round of bilateral nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea last month “narrowed differences” between the two countries on steps needed to resume multilateral denuclearization negotiations, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth told reporters Oct. 25.
North and South Korean nuclear negotiators held bilateral talks in Beijing last month, continuing an effort to revive stalled multilateral negotiations on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament. The two sides do not appear to have bridged differences on the conditions for resuming the six-party talks, which also include China, Japan, Russia, and the United States.
The United States held a rare senior-level meeting with North Korean officials in July. The two sides agreed to additional meetings.
A North Korean ship suspected of carrying missile technology to Myanmar turned back to North Korea after being confronted by a U.S. naval vessel, part of a U.S. effort that involved coordination with countries in the region.
Volume 2, Issue 3, March 2, 2011
Reducing the threats posed by nuclear weapons and proliferation is a global challenge that requires active U.S. leadership. Given that curbing the spread of nuclear weapons is one of the nation's highest security imperatives, it stands to reason that the United States should support efforts by other countries to reinforce their commitments not to pursue nuclear weapons and to prevent proliferation.
China has proposed a three-step process to revive multilateral negotiations on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The United States and South Korea, however, say that North Korea must meet certain conditions before talks can restart.