Solving the North Korean Nuclear Puzzle

ISIS Press

Table of Contents

--David Albright and Kevin O'Neill Prologue
--David Albright Looking Back
--David Albright and Holly Higgins The Agreed Framework: Status Report
--David Albright and Holly Higgins An Overhead Tour: The Yongbyon Nuclear Site
--David Albright and Corey Hinderstein Inconsistencies in North Korea's Declaration to the IAEA
--David Albright Evidence of Camouflaging of Suspect Nuclear Waste Sites
--David Albright and Corey Hinderstein How Much Plutonium Did North Korea Produce?
--David Albright The Impending Cliff
--David Albright Technical Supplement: Overview of North Korea's Nuclear Fuel-Cycle Facilities in the Early 1990s The Foundation is Shaken
--Holly Higgins KEDO and North Korea: Problems and Prospects on the Road Ahead
--Mitchell Reiss Mr. Perry's New Course on North Korea
--Leon V. Sigal Clinton and North Korea: Past, Present and Future
--Joel Wit The North-South Summit and its Aftermath
--Holly Higgins Epilogue
--David Albright, Holly Higgins, and Kevin O'Neill Appendices
  1. Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
    --Holly Higgins
  2. Agreed Framework between the United States of America and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
  3. Setting the Record Straight About Plutonium Production in North Korea
    --David Albright and Holly Higgins
  4. Chronology of the Conflict between North Korea and the IAEA that led to the Request for Special Inspections
  5. Chronology of Events Related to the U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework: June 1998 - January 2000
    (Updated and expanded version available only on the ISIS website)
  6. Review of United States Policy Toward North Korea: Findings and Recommendations ("Perry Report")
  7. A Comprehensive Approach to North Korea
    --Richard Armitage, et al.

About the Book

In 1994 the United States and North Korea stood on the brink of war. International inspectors could not resolve how much plutonium North Korea had. The United States and its allies suspected that North Korea had already secretly produced enough plutonium for one or two nuclear weapons, and was on the verge of producing enough to make dozens of nuclear weapons per year. This crisis was resolved when North Korea and the United States negotiated an "Agreed Framework," whereby North Korea agreed to "freeze" and later dismantle its most controversial nuclear facilities, and permit the eventual verification of its nuclear activities, including the size of its plutonium stockpile. In exchange, the United States agreed to lead an international effort to build modern, more proliferation resistant nuclear reactors in North Korea. At the time, the signers expected the arrangement to be completed by about 2003. Nearly six years later, the North Korean nuclear program remains frozen, but the remainder of the Agreed Framework remains far behind schedule. Solving the North Korean Nuclear Puzzle assesses the nuclear proliferation threat posed by North Korea, describes the Agreed Framework's implementation through mid-2000, and outlines an agenda of tasks that must be completed before the Agreed Framework can be fulfilled. Using previously unpublished information, the book details the controversy between North Korea and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1992 and 1993--the controversy that led to the brink of war in 1994, and may do so again. The book provides estimates of North Korea's plutonium stock, and the number of nuclear weapons it may possess. High-resolution commercial satellite images show how North Korea deceived IAEA inspectors who sought to verify North Korea's nuclear declarations. The book contains an extensive discussion of how to resume inspections and determine that North Korea is free of nuclear weapons, an absolute precondition for the supply of the new reactors. The book places the Agreed Framework's implementation within the context of recent security developments in Northeast Asia. Two highlights are North Korea's ballistic missile program and the historic June 2000 summit between South Korean President Kim Dae Jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Three well-versed North Korean experts share their perspectives on the future of the Agreed Framework and ways to make the Korean peninsula nuclear free. Solving the North Korean Nuclear Puzzle concludes that much of the responsibility for making the Agreed Framework viable rests with North Korea, and its willingness to make its nuclear program transparent.

About the Authors

David Albright is a founder and President of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), located in Washington, D.C. A physicist by training, he has assessed worldwide plutonium and highly enriched uranium inventories since the 1980s, and is well known for his detailed, technical analyses of fissile material production programs in states thought to be seeking nuclear weapons. He is the author of many studies on fissile material and nuclear weapons programs, most notably, with Frans Berkhout and William Walker, of Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium 1996: World Inventories, Capabilities and Policies, published in 1997 by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and the Oxford University Press. He is also a co-editor of and contributor to The Challenges of Fissile Material Control, published by ISIS in 1999. He received a 1992 Olive Branch Award for a series of articles that he co-authored on the Iraqi nuclear weapons program for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In 1996, he was a member of an International Atomic Energy Agency Action Team inspection mission to Iraq. He serves on the Secretary of Energy's Openness Advisory Panel, and, since 1990, on the state of Colorado's Health Advisory Panel overseeing the Historical Public Health Exposures Studies from Rocky Flats. Holly Higgins is a Research Analyst at ISIS. She is a 1999 graduate of the University of Virginia, where she received a BA in environmental science. She broadly assists ISIS's projects, in particular its work on North Korea. Corey Hinderstein joined ISIS in 1996, where she is currently a Policy Analyst. Among her responsibilities, she specializes in the analysis of high-resolution satellite imagery in order to identify and assess potential nuclear weapon-related facilities. Her work also focuses on the support and analysis of multilateral negotiations and treaty regimes, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review process, the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty negotiations, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Her work has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Earth Observation Magazine, Imaging Notes, and in Commercial Observation Satellites: At the Leading Edge of Global Transparency, to be published later in 2000 by RAND. Kevin O'Neill joined ISIS in 1994, where he has served since 1997 as Deputy Director. His research efforts include assessments of nuclear weapons programs by proliferating states, including by North Korea. He also focuses on the problems of strengthening and broadening international controls on fissile materials, illicit nuclear trafficking, and proliferation issues related to the former Soviet Union. He is a contributing author to Atomic Audit, published in 1998 by the Brookings Institute, and is a co-editor and contributor to The Challenges of Fissile Material Control, published in 1999 by ISIS. He has also been published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Defense News, and the Washington Times. Mitchell Reiss is the Dean of International Affairs and the Director of the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, a position he has held since 1999. At the Reves Center, he is responsible for supervising the International Relations/International Studies curriculum, and for managing the Reves Center's activities and programs. Prior to his appointment at the College, Reiss helped to set up the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), where he later served in various high-level positions, including General Counsel, and Senior Policy Advisor. At KEDO, he also served as chief negotiator with North Korea. Prior to his appointment to KEDO, Reiss was a Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., where he created and directed the Center's nonproliferation and counterproliferation programs. He is the author of numerous publications, notably Bridled Ambition: Why Countries Constrain Their Nuclear Capabilities, published in 1995 by the Woodrow Wilson Center Press. He is also a co-editor (with Robert Litwak) and contributor to Nuclear Proliferation After the Cold War, published in 1994 by the Woodrow Wilson Center Press. Leon V. Sigal is the Director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council in New York and an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. A member of the New York Times editorial board from 1989 to 1995, Sigal has also served as a professor of government at Wesleyan University and as a visiting lecturer at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He also served, in 1979-1981, as an International Affairs Fellow and Special Assistant to the Director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs in the State Department. He is the author of numerous publications, notably Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea, published in 1997 by the Princeton University Press, which was one of five nominees for the Lionel Gelber Prize as the most outstanding book in the field of international relations for 1997-1998, and was named by the American Academy of Diplomacy as the 1998 book of distinction on the practice of American diplomacy. Other major publications include Hang Separately: Cooperative Security between the United States and Russia, 1985-1994, which will be published in fall 2000 by the Century Foundation, and Fighting to a Finish: The Politics of War Termination in the United States and Japan, 1945, published in 1989 by Cornell University. Joel Wit is a Guest Scholar in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institute, a position he has held since 1999. From 1995 until his appointment at Brookings, he served as the State Department's Agreed Framework Coordinator, where he was responsible for formulating strategy, implementing, and overseeing U.S. policy on the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework. Previously, he was assigned to the State Department's Office of Strategic Nuclear Policy, where he was responsible for U.S. policy on a range of issues related to nuclear arms control and weapons proliferation. He is the author of numerous articles on nuclear arms control and nonproliferation issues, and has been published in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Asahi Shimbun, Scientific American, Survival, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Nonproliferation Review, and U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings.