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  1. 1. NORTH KOREA’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM By Manpreet Abrol 250872487 Graduate Program in Political Science A MA Research Paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Political Science The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies The University of Western Ontario London, Ontario, Canada © Manpreet Abrol, 2016
  2. 2. Abstract North Korea has been the subject of much controversy in recent years. Having violated countless United Nations Security Council Resolutions, international law and other conventions, it has become the most unpredictable proliferator of the twenty-first century. This paper explains how North Korea has sought to proliferate and how the international community has failed to denuclearize the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). This literature review aims to chronologically analyze the events which led the DPRK to acquire, and advance, its nuclear program. Beginning with the Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula, to the rise of the Eternal Leader, Kim Il-Sung, followed by an analyses of diplomatic efforts aimed at denuclearizing the totalitarian state, this Masters Research Paper concludes with an explanation of how the nuclear program has advanced under current Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-Un. Key Words: atomic weapons, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), denuclearize, Korean Peninsula, launch, missile(s), negotiations, North Korea, nuclear test, nuclear weapons, Pyongyang, Six-Party Talks (SPT), Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), United Nations Security Council (UNSC), United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR), 1994 Agreed Framework Accord
  3. 3. Acknowledgements This Masters Research Paper (MRP) is dedicated to my mother, Rosy, my father, Harry, and my grandmother, Surinder. Their unwavering guidance and encouragement, have always sustained me. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank them for their love and support. I would also like to thank my supervisor, Dr. Erika Simpson, for her solid direction and wise advice throughout the graduate process. Finally, my cousins, Ashira, Sakhshi, and Sahar, who have helped me immeasurably through this journey.
  4. 4. Table of Contents Introduction..................................................................................................................................... 1 The Origins of North Korea............................................................................................................ 3 Japan Takes Over ....................................................................................................................... 3 Japanese Rule Over Korea ......................................................................................................... 4 The Rise of Communism in Korea and the Ideological Shift...................................................... 8 The End of Japanese Rule......................................................................................................... 10 The Soviet Occupation of Northern Korea ............................................................................... 12 Prelude to the Korean War....................................................................................................... 14 The Result of the Korean War................................................................................................... 16 North Korea After the War ....................................................................................................... 17 North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program and Disarmament Negotiations ................................ 19 The Onset of Proliferation ........................................................................................................ 19 The 1994 Agreed Framework Accord....................................................................................... 21 The Fall of the Accord .............................................................................................................. 22 Prelude to the Six-Party Talks.................................................................................................. 24 The Six Rounds.......................................................................................................................... 25 Why did the Six-Party Talks Fail?............................................................................................ 32 The DPRK Under Kim Jong-Un................................................................................................... 37 Coming to Power ...................................................................................................................... 37 Kim Jong-Un Takes Over.......................................................................................................... 37 Nuclear Advancements in 2013 ................................................................................................ 39 Nuclear Advancements in 2014 ................................................................................................ 45 Nuclear Advancements in 2015 ................................................................................................ 47 The Year of the Bomb................................................................................................................ 49 Conclusion .................................................................................................................................... 51 Works Cited:................................................................................................................................. 54
  5. 5. 250872487 Abrol, 1 Introduction The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), nicknamed North Korea or the Hermit Kingdom, has been the subject of much attention over the past decades. With a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita averaging $1,800 USD in 2014 (CIA, 2016) and a population of 25.16 million (World Bank, 2016), it is arguably one of the most impoverished countries in the world apart from several states in sub-Saharan Africa. However, despite its economic hardships, it has managed to develop an atomic arsenal. The relatively novice state officially achieved complete independence in 1972, and since then the DPRK has steadfastly sought the rapid development of its nuclear program. Considering how integral the platform has become under its foreign policy objectives, it is important to investigate just how North Korea became the world’s most unpredictable nuclear weapon state, conducting a total of four formal nuclear tests from 2006 to 2016. In the format of an extensive literature review, this paper aims to explore just how and why the DPRK acquired its atomic weapons through a chronological analysis. The first section begins with an overview of the inception of North Korea. Beginning with Japan’s brutish rule over the Korean Peninsula, it becomes increasingly clear why the populace grew weary of its colonizers, resulting in protest and disruptions. The review will proceed to thoroughly explore the shift from Japanese Imperialism to Communism, and how this transition led to the rise of North Korea’s first leader, Kim Il-Sung. Followed by the end of Japanese rule with Japan’s loss in World War II (WWII), this review will explore the influence the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), or the Soviet Union, had on the Peninsula. The chronology will then transition into the events which led up to the Korean War, the events which occurred after, and the role Kim Il-Sung had on the creation of North Korea. Finally, the first
  6. 6. 250872487 Abrol, 2 segment will conclude with what Il-Sung accomplished for the totalitarian state and the policies that he enacted. Specifically, his perseverance regarding nuclear proliferation will be discussed. This paper will then explore the policies and actions taken by Kim Il-Sung, which gave rise to the DPRK beginning its nuclear development. However, the primary focus of this section will be the topic of international negotiations, and how the global community has attempted to denuclearize North Korea. Beginning with an in-depth analysis of the 1994 Agreed Framework Accord, the first segment will also include the events and efforts which determined its ratification, up to its dissolution. In addition, an extensive look at the Six-Party Talks (SPT) will entail an overview of each of the six rounds. Specifically, the discussions which took place, the accomplishments and failures of each round, and what the DPRK and its counterparts hoped to achieve with deliberations will be overviewed. This section will end with plausible explanations on what scholars believe contributed to the demise of the SPT. Finally, this literature review will conclude with the fast-paced events under the Kim Jong-Un regime. Since succeeding his father, Kim Jong-Il, Jong-Un has exhibited virtually no interest in resuming discussions in an effort to denuclearize the Peninsula. Consequently, he has conducted a number of missile strikes, launches, and nuclear tests, which has put negotiations with Kim Jong-Un on behalf of the international community at a standstill. This portion will also explore many efforts made by Kim Jong-Un to further the DPRK’s nuclear program, and the analysis will cover events under his tenure from December 19th 2011 to May 31st 2016. Upon the conclusion of this essay, it will be evident that the international community has failed to denuclearize North Korea due to a variety of factors explored in this major research paper.
  7. 7. 250872487 Abrol, 3 The Origins of North Korea Japan Takes Over Over the mid-nineteenth century into the early twentieth, Chinese control over the region began to disintegrate. The Choson dynasty had begun its gradual collapse, allowing Japanese imperialism to overtake the Korean Peninsula. Japan was attracted to the area due to its abundance of natural resources, human labour, and the possibility of furthering territorial expansion due to its geographical location (Simons, 1995: 121). Understanding the weakened state of the Chinese militia in the Peninsula, the Japanese took this as an opportunity to gain control; therefore, attacking the Chinese navy without warning and sparking the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 (Fung, 1996: 1007). Over the course of one year, there were approximately three battles, all of which the Japanese won without contention. Specifically, the Japanese defeated Sino forces in Pingrang in September of 1894, Lushan in November 1894, and Weihaiwei in February 1895. (Fung, 1996: 1007). By April of 1895, the Chinese were forced to relinquish control over the region, making way for the Japanese to initiate the spread of Imperialism (Beasley, 1987: 1). After China’s defeat in 1895, the state was forced to sign the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Shimonoseki, which required China to pay “…an indemnity to Japan, ceded Chinese control of Taiwan to Japan, and recognized the independence of Korea” from the Confucian state, allowing Japan to cease full control (Simons, 2004: 39). As a result of being entirely independent from Chinese influence, Korea entered an uneasy period of nominal independence as the Soviet Union now attempted to cease hegemonic supremacy from Japan (Macdonald, 1988: 38). This resulted in a decade-long war with Russia, however, due to the Anglo-Japanese alliance, Japan emerged victorious establishing a protectorate over Korea (Macdonald, 1988: 39). In recognition of
  8. 8. 250872487 Abrol, 4 Japan’s formal victory over the USSR, the United States of America (U.S.) formulated the Treaty of Portsmouth on September 5th , 1905. The convention formally gave Japan ultimate control over Korea, and “…specifically acknowledged that Russia accepted Japan’s ‘paramount political, military and economic interests in Korea’” (Rees, 1988: 59). Despite formal recognition from Russia, there was still a substantial rebellion against Japanese forces. After its victory in the Russo-Japanese War, the Japanese felt a need to legitimize their growing interests in the Peninsula. This was done by solidifying recognition from both the United States and Great Britain, which acknowledged the Imperialist country’s vital interests in the region (Rees, 1988: 59). Also, the state wanted to exert complete dominance through militaristic vocations, but was met with considerable hostility from Korean factions that despised Japanese rule. Notwithstanding attempts at diplomatic mitigation, Korean forces sought to retaliate. However, due to a lack of military forces and power, they were suppressed by the Japanese regime (Rees, 1988: 61). A final attempt at annexation occurred when a Korean patriot assassinated the Japanese Resident-General in Korea, Ito Hirobumi, in 1909. This resulted in immediate retaliation by the Japanese, placing Korea under the control of military police in early 1910. Soon thereafter, the Annexation Treaty was presented to the deteriorating Korean government and was formally ratified on August 22nd , 1910, officially relinquishing all control from the Korean regime and acceding it to the Japanese (Rees, 1088: 62). Japanese Rule Over Korea The Japanese rule over Korea can be categorized into four phases, one of which began after the ratification of the Treaty of Portsmouth. The Japanese had a tremendous impact on Korea’s economic and political policies, which were more congruent with the Imperialist system that was evident in the West. Each phase contributed in the alteration of Korean culture, to
  9. 9. 250872487 Abrol, 5 values that are still visible today in both North and South Korea. According to Han-Kyo Kim, the first phase was between 1905-1910, the second occurred from 1910-1919, followed by the third from 1919-1936, and concluding with the fourth and final phase from 1936-1945 (Kim, 1973: 42). Five years prior to the formal Annexation Treaty in 1910, Japan had already begun to establish its military and bureaucratic agencies in Korea, chartering the initial phase of its colonization process. Kim argues that during this period, Japan’s objective was to seize governmental power in Korea, specifically, in the realm of security and military endeavours (Kim, 1973: 42). Also, “Japan took control of police and military affairs, communication and transportation, and the judicial system” (Kim, 1973: 42). The rapid overtake of Korean assets was met with substantial hostility in the form of fear, protest, and violent resistance (Kim, 1973: 42). Despite the ineffectiveness of the opposition, it gave a very tangible portrayal of the Korean attitude towards annexation. The second segment had begun almost immediately, where the government attempted to restore political and administrative structures in Korea, and enhance the authoritative stronghold over its incumbents (Rees, 1988: 63). However, this was incredibly devastating for Koreans. Geoff Simons argues that during this period “the currency was converted; transport and communications were controlled in their entirety by the Japanese government; and all Korean farmlands became the property of the Japanese Oriental Development Company” holding Korea in a captive state (Simons, 2004: 42). In addition, Koreans were deprived of all civil liberties including political participation, access to the educational system, and were subject to oppressive legal codes (Kim, 1973: 42). Naturally, this caused factions to emerge and a surge in rebellion; one of them based out of Manchuria was later headed by Kim Il-Sung (Simons, 2004: 42).
  10. 10. 250872487 Abrol, 6 Although the Japanese regime attempted to thwart any kind of protest from Koreans, there were instances where rebellion still occurred. One of the most infamous protests was the March First Movement of 1919, which paved the way for the rise of Communism in Korea. Advocating for Korean independence from Japanese rulers under Woodrow Wilson’s Doctrine of National Self-determination, a group of Korean students staged a rally in Tokyo on February 8th , 1919. This assembly fuelled individuals in Korea to unify others in the Peninsula in an attempt to achieve independence for Koreans (Wells, 1989: 5). The movement was comprised of individuals from a plethora of backgrounds, including: intellectuals, landowners, capitalists, religious figures, and other well-known individuals (Hatada, 2004: 46). The aim of these participants was to achieve independence without the use of violence. Therefore, protest organizers advised Japanese authorities of the demonstration, informing them when the protest was about to begin and to deal with the matter calmly (Hatada, 2004: 47). Individuals party to the March First Movement composed a doctrine of independence which they signed and formally gave to Japanese officials. In the document, the protestors called for the independence of Korea in a cordial and diplomatic fashion, and for the regime to consider the wellbeing of Korea’s future generations (Simons, 1995: 133-134). Despite the intention for a peaceful demonstration, the Japanese government considered this an act of insubordination, resulting in the military police using gunfire and other violent measures to suppress demonstrators (Simons, 1995: 135). However, this did not subdue the Movement, as acts of violence only fuelled other demonstrations to occur throughout March and April of 1919. At its height, an estimated 500,000 people had joined the protest throughout the Peninsula, calling for the liberation of the Korean people (Hatada, 2004: 47).
  11. 11. 250872487 Abrol, 7 Although the actual movement had failed in achieving its mandate, it engendered nationalist aspirations resulting in liberationists using media as a tool of expression (Macdonald, 1988: 40). Despite their efforts, Japanese officials were unable to suppress demonstrators using military might. Congruently, authorities understood that in order to tacitly undermine protestors, administrative change needed to occur which would please the factions (Hatada, 2004: 48). Steps were taken to soften the militaristic tone Japan had embodied throughout its rule, in addition to the implementation of edifying polices which appeased Korean’s desire for cultural expression, and an increased emphasis on economic development (Robinson, 1982: 242). As a result of these changes, the Korean economy flourished under Japanese control. Experiencing its own “industrial revolution,” Korea transitioned from an agrarian society to one that thrived on industry, comparable to its Western counterparts. The state developed modern communication and transportation initiatives, similar to that of larger cities, an enhancement in the educational system, and a more modernized acquirement of electricity, such as the construction of hydroelectric generators (Hatada, 2004: 48-49). Despite Japan’s efforts to bolster the economy, nationalist uprisings began to emerge once again. In contrast to the March First Movement, the new protests did not focus on the independence of Korea, but rather on the adoption of socialism and awareness of class struggle (Robinson, 1982: 242). Michael Robinson argues that the change in colonial rule by the Japanese directly attributed to the mobilization of the new nationalist movement. The enhancement of the economic and educational structure of Korea brought more Koreans in contact with the politics of nationalism (Robinson, 1982: 243). Additionally, “…the rise of the Korean middle class and the spread of literacy provided new recruits for the leadership and rank and file of the nationalist movement,” as well as attracted new members to the uprising (Robinson, 1982: 243). The
  12. 12. 250872487 Abrol, 8 increase in Japanese subordination by Koreans under the nationalist movement can be analyzed through the number of tenant disputes. According to Takashi Hatada; “in 1920 there were 15 tenant disputes involving 4,040 persons; in 1923, 176 disputes involving 3,973 persons; in 1930, 726 disputes involving 13,012 persons; and in 1931, 667 disputes involving 10,282 persons” (Hatada, 2004: 50). This was in addition to labour disruptions, which followed the same pattern. Between 1917-1920 there were almost ten times the number of labour disturbances, eventually leading to a general strike in Wonsan, Korea, in 1929 (Hatada, 2004: 50-51). The gradual increase in disputes and uprising provides a direct correlation with the weakening of Japanese control, but more specifically, a rise in communist ideology. The Rise of Communism in Korea and the Ideological Shift Throughout the “third phase,” Communism was beginning to influence many of the nationalist movements in Korea. The fight against Japanese Imperialism was gaining notoriety, giving rise to a number of Socialist and Marxist movements among Korean exile groups (Robinson, 1982: 258). One of the most prominent organizations that was integral in the adoption of Communism in the Peninsula was a group of Koreans in Shanghai, that labelled themselves the Shanghai Activists. This committee published its own independent newspaper, Tongnip Shinmun, and distributed pamphlets which advocated Communist propaganda (Simons, 1995: 136). Over time, the growing dissatisfaction with the Japanese government forced the group to approach the Russian Communist Party, asking for its assistance in implementing a formal organization in the Korean Peninsula which advocated for its cause. Opposing the provisional government in Korea, established by the March First Movement supporters, Russia helped the activists to create the Korean Communist Party (KCP) in Shanghai (Hatada, 2004: 51).
  13. 13. 250872487 Abrol, 9 Although the KCP originated in China, it gained and inspired momentum amidst the younger Korean generation. Due to this, other Communist parties began to emerge in Korea and Tokyo. Specifically, the Seoul Young Men’s Association was formed in 1922, and the North Star Society was founded by Korean students in Tokyo in 1923 (Hatada, 2004: 51). However, it was not until 1925 that the KCP officially established its presence in Korea, encouraging the aforementioned tenant and labour disputes in order to gain notoriety and support from the populous (Hatada, 1969: 129). The increase in Communistic ideology inspired a preponderance of individuals, specifically college and university students to rebel against Japanese colonizers. The most revolutionary of these uprisers was Kim Il-Sung. Il-Sung, a firm believer in the Communist uprisings, formed the Down-with-Imperialism Union (DIU) on October 17th , 1926, at the age of fourteen, using it as a tool to combat the Japanese occupancy (Simons, 1995: 141). Over the course of his adolescence into adulthood, Il-Sung established the foundation for many Communist and anti-Imperialist movements. In 1928 he helped organize a campaign against the Japanese railway project, where over 200 middle school students, and those in higher learning institutions, rallied to protest against the Japanese. During the disputes, participants would chant slogans such as “down with Imperialism,” and “down with traitors to the nation,” further signifying discontent among the citizenry (Simons, 1995: 142). Although this protest was not intended to be violent, the Japanese used forceful measures to suppress activists, similar to those employed in the March First Movement. These unnecessary measures by authorities exacerbated anti-Japanese sentiment among younger generations, who authorities argued were “‘tainted’ by nationalist influence” (Simons, 1995: 142).
  14. 14. 250872487 Abrol, 10 The continued protest set the foundation of a newly emerging ideology of Juche, an existing doctrine which applied to the Korean struggle. Specifically, Juche champions the ideology of self-reliance and self-determination (Habib, 2011: 58), and under the oppression of Japanese colonizers, this theory resonated well with the Korean population. To elaborate, Kim Il- Sung argued that Juche is “…being the master of revolution and reconstruction in one’s own country. This means holding fast to an independent position, rejecting dependence on others [and]… solving one’s own problems for oneself on one’s own responsibility under all circumstances” (Lee, 2003: 105). Kim Il-Sung was an integral factor in the promotion of this paradigm. Having helped organize numerous student protest advocating for anti-Imperialism and the adoption of Juche, Il-Sung was arrested and confined to Kirin prison in October 1929 (Simons, 1995: 142). However, prior to his release in May 1930, he had continued the promotion of Juche in prison, thereby exacerbating the ideological shift in Korean culture (Simons, 1995: 142). Once released, Il-Sung advocated for the Juche approach in the slowly rising revolutionist movement in Korea. By gaining rapid momentum midst his generation, he was able to establish the first unit of the Korean Revolutionary Army (KRA) with members of his Communist Party (Simons, 1995: 142). The End of Japanese Rule The revolutionary movement began to grow, consequently weakening the Japanese stronghold on the Korean people. Distribution of propaganda, attack ads, and the increase in Communist and anti-Imperialist factions emerged throughout Korea in an attempt to gain support for the revolutionary cause (Simons, 1995: 143). Despite attempts at suppression, the Japanese were unsuccessful and subsequently fuelled the revolutionist uprising. Subsequently, Il-Sung was able to form the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army (AJPGA) in Manchuria on April 25th ,
  15. 15. 250872487 Abrol, 11 1932, and advised other factions to pursue the same agenda. The army’s aim was to overthrow Japanese colonial rule, and bring independence to the Korean people. Il-Sung led the army in a number of attacks over the course of two years. By March 1934, the AJPGA was accepted into the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army (KPRA), signalling a new era in the progressive struggle (Simons, 1995: 143). The rise in revolutionaries led to the fourth and final stage under Japanese rule. From 1936-1945 the Japanese exercised relentless retaliatory measures against anti-Imperialist insurgents. A period of complete totalitarian control, in conjunction with militaristic enforcement practices, meant the Japanese mandated the use of their language in the Peninsula, and attempted to eradicate Korean lineages by mandating compulsory name changes as well as other procedures to increase assimilation (Kim, 1973: 42-43). Due to the growing protest and violent revolutionary movements, the Japanese began an expansionist drive to suppress guerrilla groups in Manchuria (Rees, 1988: 70). Despite decreasing military influence and power, the occupation of Manchuria by Japan was a success. By the mid-1930s, the Peninsula was primarily a military base. Koreans were conscripted into the Japanese army by 1939, and subjected to forced labour (Rees, 1973: 71). Under mounting pressure from the Japanese army, Kim Il-Sung was compelled to withdraw into the Soviet Union in the early 1940’s, finding refuge amidst other ex-patriots that fled and established their own community (Simons, 1995: 145). He would later return as a part of the Soviet revolt against the United States during the onset of the Korean War, which will be explored in a latter section. After the Pacific War in 1941, Japanese rule began to reach its climax. There were over 300,000 Japanese troops garrisoned in Korea by 1945 (Keun, 2004: 63), and the level of cultural assimilation was higher than ever before (Rees, 1988: 72). However, Japanese military posture
  16. 16. 250872487 Abrol, 12 began to weaken shortly after. Despite continued influence over the Korean Peninsula, the two atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945, culminated in Japan’s ultimate defeat in WWII. Taking into consideration Japan’s alliance with Italy and Germany, all militaristic ventures of the imperialist state were slowly deteriorating. Russia had subsequently declared war on Japan on August 9th , 1945, and over the course of five days, was in full control of northeastern Korea and Manchuria, forcing Japan to surrender on August 15th (Barry, 2012: 43). The Soviet Occupation of Northern Korea Koreans had been liberated from Japanese colonial rule, and Prisoners of War (POWs) were released shortly after August 15th . Although the Korean people were ecstatic, their happiness was short-lived (Keun, 2004: 65). Under the Potsdam and Cairo Conferences, the United States and USSR agreed that the peninsula should be divided along the 38th parallel, in order to adequately define sovereign jurisdictions (Rees, 1988: 77). As a result of the negotiations, Soviets were given the northern half of the region, and the Americans were given the south. It is important to note, however, that under the provisions of the conventions, neither state was meant to be a permanent governing power in the region. Rather, both countries were to act as a trustee for a maximum of five years, ensuring the good governance of their respective trusteeships until a permanent administration could be established (Keun, 2004: 67). Both the United States and the Soviet Union had considerably different governing approaches to their dominions. Although the Russians were greeted with joy upon their return to the Peninsula, they approached the territory with an iron fist and a violent and brutish approach. The Soviets entered their jurisdiction with the Twenty-fifth Army, and considered the Korean people as conquered, rather than a liberated population (Millett, 2005: 49). In addition to seizing
  17. 17. 250872487 Abrol, 13 control of “…industrial machinery, fertilizer, stored minerals, coal, timber [and] food,” the USSR captured over 2.7 million soldiers and civilians, sending them to labour and internment camps (Millett, 2005: 49). Although the Soviets did conduct heinous acts upon their arrival, their primary concern was the implementation of Communism in the North. The problem, however, was that the Communist institutions in Korea were relatively weak, and needed to be revamped in order to be effective (Scalapino and Lee, 1972: 316). Communist committees were established in North Korea in an attempt to spread Soviet ideology. Each commission was under the control of prominent Communist leaders who were trusted comrades of the Soviet regime in Korea. Areas such as agriculture, security, minerals and industry, internal affairs and even the police board were riddled with Communist leaders spreading their respective ideology (Scalapino and Lee, 1972: 316). Although the USSR had stationed diplomatic personnel at various posts, they still required a trusted individual to govern the region. Russian military General Ivan Chistiakov, announced the requirement to set up a formal Communist government in the North. Chistiakov argued that there was a need for an elected government that would represent the North for any negotiations regarding a unified Korea (Millett, 2005: 51). Over the course of two months, two Marxist-Leninist parties had received official recognition in the newly formed legislature, specifically, the Communist Party of Korea and the New People’s Party, which then amalgamated to become the unified North Korean Workers’ Party (NKWP) (Millett, 2005: 51). To head this organization, the Soviets selected Kim Il-Sung in October 1945. In addition to being a trustworthy comrade, the Russians believed he was capable of forming a “‘pliant, obedient elite’ that would not cause any trouble for the Soviet Union” (Campbell, 2014: 5). Congruently, Kim also encompassed two crucial elements: the support of the Soviet occupation forces, and the
  18. 18. 250872487 Abrol, 14 lack of influential revolutionaries in the North (Suh, 1988: 56). Since most of these prominent figures had fled to the South, it led to a rise in Il Sung’s popularity (Suh, 1988: 56). Over the course of Kim Il-Sung’s tenure as the General Secretary, he began to appear at rallies to motivate the Soviet Communist movement, was included in the North Korean Bureau for the North Korean Worker’s Party, and by December 1945, was the chairman of the organization (Lankov, 2004: 80). Due to his growing influence over the region, in conjunction with the trust placed on him by the Soviet occupants, Il-Sung’s power began to increase. In 1946 and 1947, he used his growing control of the Soviet’s army to dominate the NKWP, and suppress any anti-communist opposition (Campbell, 2014: 5). It is important to note that Soviet communistic ideology did not resonate well with autochthonous communists. This was primarily because the populace did not know much of the new occupiers, and preferred the representation of their party located in Seoul, and therefore, opposed the rule of Kim and the Soviets (Suh, 1988: 89). As a result of this defiance, the future North Korean leader used the Soviet-Korean army to attack indigenous communist groups and anyone who corroborated with the Japanese (Suh, 1988: 89-90). The second faction that hindered the expansion of Kim’s rule was the Yanan Group, which was comprised of returned revolutionaries from China. To further dominate the North, Il-Sung purged the group as it was the last remaining obstacle for complete control over the North (Sandler, 1999: 25). Prelude to the Korean War During the mid-1940s, both the American and Soviet occupiers began to consider themselves the respective governments in each of their jurisdictions (Rees, 1988: 92). This resulted in mounting tensions for both parties, as each state believed that their ideological style
  19. 19. 250872487 Abrol, 15 of governance was meritorious. The temporary five-year agreement pertaining to the Soviets being the trusteeship government of the North, and the Americans of the South, had virtually unravelled. Although the Soviet-American Joint Commission to reunify Korea was established in an attempt to negotiate the fate of the Peninsula, diplomatic efforts were short-lived as the committee hardly functioned (Sandler, 1999: 26). The failure of negotiations, in conjunction with the differing ideologies governing the region, Kim Il-Sung and the Soviet-Korean government began to support an armed struggle to unify the Peninsula. Kim Il-Sung was a firm believer in the unification of Korea, however, wholeheartedly disagreed with the style of governance that was present in the southern region. Recognizing Stalinist Communism as the “very model of independence,” and completely discounting the governing practices in the South, he attempted to unilaterally amalgamate the Korean state (Sandler, 1999: 26). Kim believed that a successful invasion would solve the problem of unification under Communist terms (Rees, 1988: 94). As a result, the shift towards an armed struggle officially began in 1949, when Il-Sung formed the Democratic Front for the Unification of the Fatherland (DFUF). This guerrilla group was well equipped and trained at a camp near the northern capital, and then proceeded to establish bases along the South’s eastern coast (Merrill, 1993: 96). The mandate of this group was to eradicate the democratic government established by the Americans and ruled by President Syngman Rhee. However, the first attempt at attacking their counterparts failed, forcing the DFUF to reorganize (Merrill, 1993: 96). Now aware of the imminent threat from North Korea, the South began a counterinsurgency campaign. Rhee’s decision to launch these crusades led to a series of battles between guerrilla groups, most from which the South emerged victorious (Merrill, 1993: 97; Weathersby, 2004: 68).
  20. 20. 250872487 Abrol, 16 Understanding that the Americans had more militaristic capabilities than the Soviet Communists, the North began large shipments of military equipment such as: tanks, heavy and medium artillery, and fighter jets from Russia (Rees, 1988: 94). In contrast to insurgent forces, Stalin approved the use of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) to proceed with the invasion of the South (Weathersby, 2004: 68). The Soviet approval allowed Kim Il-Sung to effectively gather a highly-trained force of 135,000 soldiers, and his intention was to deploy “…eight infantries and one armored regiment [with] several independent units” (Rees, 1988: 94). Although the North did call for a peaceful unification of the Peninsula, David Rees argues that this may have been a façade to mask the militarization of the 38th Parallel (Rees, 1988: 94). In early June of 1950, the KPA began to mobilize troops along the border, and on June 25th , the North invaded South Korea sparking the onset of the Korean War. The Result of the Korean War Although the Soviet’s unequivocally supported the KPA, the same cannot be said for the U.S. government in the South. American authorities refused to support Rhee and deliver heavy artillery or any significant power to their cause, as they did not initially understand the magnitude of the War (Sandler, 1999: 48). Due to a lack of assistance and resources, the North virtually destroyed Rhee’s regime (Millett, 2004: 44). The Americans unremittingly ignored reports of the attack, considering it as one of the many clashes that were occurring along the border of the two states (Sandler, 1999: 50). After the continued influx of reports, news coverage, and requests from the Rhee’s administration, President Harry Truman requested congressional approval to assist in the War, receiving official authorization on June 30th , 1950 (Sandler, 1999:53-54).
  21. 21. 250872487 Abrol, 17 There was now a full-scale confrontation being fought in Korea, one which involved ideological and territorial disputes. The conflict stemmed for three years, 1950-1953, with neither party wanting to surrender. Even amidst Stalin’s death in March 1953, the Chinese were insistent on its continuation. Although the United States advocated for an armistice agreement, Rhee refused. It was not until the U.S. provided several pre-truce assurances to Kim Il-Sung, that both parties agreed to a cease fire (Millett, 2004: 48). The conditions of the Armistice Agreement included: a mutual security treaty between the Americans and Soviets, independent from any United Nations (UN) involvement; a military assistance program for South Korea that would include a navy, army, and an air force; a promise to station American troops in South Korea so long as Chinese and Soviet troops remained; an economic aid and reconstruction program in conjunction with the UN; a proposed Demilitarized Zone (DMZ); the release of POWs; and a commitment to a truce that would result in military retaliation if violated (Millett, 2004: 48). As a measure of cooperation, Rhee released 27,000 POWs who met the criteria outlined in the covenant in June of 1953 (Millett, 2004: 48). This led to the ratification of the Armistice Agreement on July 27th , 1953, effectively solidifying the ceasefire between the two states and officially creating the DMZ. Ironically, upon the conclusion of the war, both Rhee and Il-Sung were left in dominant political positions in their jurisdictions. In 1954, they had solidified political control that was founded through the support of their respective armies, police, a single- party bureaucratic government, and the relinquishment of Soviet and American control in their respective regions (Millett, 2004: 44). North Korea After the War The Korean War left a fluid power structure in the North. Although Kim Il-Sung was dubbed the leader of the Communist state, there was a relatively fragile bureaucratic organization
  22. 22. 250872487 Abrol, 18 (Koh, 1991: 89) and much reconstruction that needed to be done. Understanding the magnitude of this, Il-Sung set out to rebuild the North Korean countryside and his party’s leadership (Suh, 1988: 139). By 1956, Kim claimed that significant progress had been made in both the industrial and agricultural sectors of North Korea, however, this was not the case. Despite his acclamations, he had barely begun. The Supreme Leader focused much of his attention on strengthening party lines, in order to dissipate any factions that might oppose his rule and the ideology which reinforced it (Suh, 1988: 141). Kim promoted himself as the chief propagator and defender of the Korean revolution (Suh, 1988: 141). In addition to subjugating the reformation of the DPRK legislature through the marketing of propaganda, he also advocated for the formal declaration of North Korean independence. This was a massive transition as Kim wanted to deviate away from a Communistic style of governance, to one which embodied the values of Juche. In December 1967, Kim made a speech entitled “Let Us Defend the Revolutionary Spirit of Independence, Self-Reliance, and Self-defence More Thoroughly in All Fields of State Activities,” which advocated for complete liberation from the Chinese and Soviet influence (Lee, 2003: 105). This address was the unofficial start of the independence movement for North Korea. After a number of speeches supporting the idea of complete freedom, and a military-first ideology, the USSR and China had finally come to respect the notion of Korean individuality by July of 1970 (Suh, 1988: 207). In December 1972, the DPRK had drafted a new constitution which championed the principles Kim had promoted. The Juche ideology was codified in Article IV, thereby officially foregoing all conceptions of Communism (An, 1983: 58). In addition to official independence, the new constitution established Il-Sung as the recognized leader of North Korea, and began years of increasing totalitarian rule.
  23. 23. 250872487 Abrol, 19 Over the course of four decades, Kim Il-Sung was able to consolidate his power in the North Korean government, completely isolating the DPRK (Suh, 1988: 314). He took a state that was struggling for the establishment of self-identification, and transformed it into one that portrayed an image of unity and stability (Suh, 1988: 316); although it is widely known that this is not the case. In terms of Il-Sung’s foreign policy, the leader maintained strong ties between the USSR and China, despite its call for independence (Koh, 1991: 108). However, the North had increasing animosities towards the United States, virtually vilifying the state amongst its population with continual anti-American rhetoric (Koh, 1991: 109). The deteriorating relation with the United States were a catalyst in determining North Korea’s foreign stance. America’s continued presence in the ROK has heightened tensions with its northern neighbour (Choi, 2015: 30), while simultaneously pressuring the DPRK to develop security assurances. Considering that the United States had been an atomic power since 1945, and neither of North Korea’s atomic allies were willing to risk a nuclear confrontation with the United States, should the situation arise (Bandow, 1998: 123). From this moment onward, the DPRK had seemed intent on acquiring its own nuclear capabilities (Bandow, 1998: 123). North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program and Disarmament Negotiations The Onset of Proliferation Reasoning for why North Korea chose to proliferate varies among scholars. However, Hazel Smith argues that it was due to its “military-first” logic that fuelled its need to ensure regime survival. Despite branching out its diplomatic ingenuity, and attempting to normalize relations with the United States as well as other major powers, the DPRK felt that its independent stance toward economic and foreign relations would contribute to its prosperity.
  24. 24. 250872487 Abrol, 20 Therefore, Smith asserts that since this alone was not enough to ensure regime survival, the only viable option for the totalitarian state was to pursue nuclear artillery (Smith, 2015: 311). The DPRK’s clandestine nuclear operation began its inception in the mid-1950s. The government had established nuclear physics departments at Kim Il-Sung National University and Kim Ch’aek Industrial College, two of the biggest academic centers in North Korea (Mansourov, 1995: 26). However, the institutions were mainly in charge of preliminary and foundational nuclear research, and therefore, the hermetic country needed support from its allies. In August 1965, the Soviets delivered a 0.1 megawatt thermal (MWt) critical assembly reactor and a two MWt research reactors to the DPRK under the terms of their bilateral agreement, allowing North Korea to substantially progress in its atomic vocations (Mansourov, 1995: 26). Despite having already begun the preliminary steps towards nuclear armament, Pyongyang maintained a guise on the international stage. Joining the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1974, the DPRK was privy to receiving technical assistance for its peaceful nuclear program. Also, the state became a late signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1985, further solidifying its international image of cooperation. Consequently, this allowed the DPRK to construct more nuclear reactors, which would later be used to institute its first atomic bomb (Bandow, 1998: 124). By the late 1970s, Il-Sung was believed to have authorized the DPRK Academy of Sciences, the KPA, and the Ministry of Public Security, in order to charter the steadfast implementation of its nuclear design (Mansourov, 1995: 26). Throughout the 1980s, the DPRK increased its production of nuclear plants to produce yellow-cake uranium, over 100 various atomic facilities, one major 200 MWt power reactor, and over 2,500 academics and
  25. 25. 250872487 Abrol, 21 professionals, working to progress the newly established nuclear program (Mansourov, 1995: 26- 27). The 1994 Agreed Framework Accord The United States was not oblivious to the DPRK’s interest in proliferation. The American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was monitoring the actions of the Hermit Kingdom throughout the 1980s into the 1990s. Despite its devoted attention to Pyongyang, the CIA was unaware if the DPRK had acquired any atomic weapons. However, the Agency did conclude in the late 1980s that “‘North Korea…ha[d] produced enough plutonium for at least one, and [possibly] two, nuclear weapons’” (Pollack, 2003: 12). The formal discovery of North Korea’s covert operation brought with it international pressure for transparency, resulting in the ratification of the 1992 Nuclear Safeguards Agreement. Contrary to contemporary DPRK practices, officials in Pyongyang allowed international inspectors to come and examine the facilities. During each of the six visits, inspections revealed evidence of noncompliance, causing the international community to seriously doubt the genuineness of the Pyongyang’s nuclear intentions (Mansourov, 1995: 27). Amidst skepticism, the DPRK threatened to withdraw its support from the NPT in June 1993, prompting the U.S. to intervene with a formal request for negotiations. Given that the animosity between the two rivals was amplified due to the frequent threats by the United States (Pollack, 2003: 14), North Korea placed several conditions in exchange for cooperation. Specifically, this included: “assurances against the threat and use of force, including nuclear weapons, support for peaceful reunification, peace and security in a nuclear-free Korean peninsula, mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty, and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs” (Simons, 1995: 20). Despite having outlined its grievances and its intent to
  26. 26. 250872487 Abrol, 22 pursue formal negotiations, Pyongyang successfully test-fired a Rodong-1 missile, which was assumed to carry nuclear and chemical warheads in June 1993, putting the United States back on the offensive. This resulted in military exercises taking place by U.S. and South Korean troops, coercions against the DPRK, as well as outright condemnation of its practices (Simons, 1995: 20). Notwithstanding mounting tensions between the two parties, the prelude to the formal ratification of the 1994 Agreed Framework Accord ensued. The initial steps towards denuclearization occurred in June 1993 in Geneva, Switzerland, where “both sides signed a statement which ‘suspended the effectuation of the DPRK’s withdrawal from the NPT’” (Mansourov, 1995: 27). In addition, North Korea froze its nuclear program for the duration of the negotiations, leading to a number of bilateral talks between the United States and the DPRK. Despite Kim Il-Sung’s death on August 8th , 1994, and Kim Jong-Il overtaking the NKWP, negotiations remained relatively unchanged. As a result of the dedication by both states, the 1994 Agreed Framework Accord was formally signed on October 21st , 1994. The core vestiges of the Accord halted North Korea’s atomic activities at its nuclear facility in Yongbyon, ceased plutonium enrichment (Pollack, 2003: 12), and included a pledge to wholeheartedly comply with IAEA safeguard inspections and the eventual dismantlement of graphite-moderated reactors (Mansourov, 1995: 28). In exchange for the DPRK’s cooperation, Washington promised to provide two 1,000 MWt light-water reactors to Pyongyang (Mansourov, 1995: 28). As well, the U.S. pledged to normalize economic, political and diplomatic relations between the two states (Pollack, 2003: 18). The Fall of the Accord The Agreed Framework Accord is arguably one of the most efficacious bilateral agreements to have ever occurred between the West and the DPRK. Pyongyang was complying
  27. 27. 250872487 Abrol, 23 under the conditions of the convention as a “survival strategy,” to illicit aid-based support from the United States (Pollack, 2003: 21). The cooperation between Washington and Pyongyang remained relatively positive for several years. From its onset, compliance by North Korea resulted in the United States partially lifting trade sanctions, increased telecommunications between the two countries, and slightly bolstered North Korean imports (Mansourov, 1995: 33). According to James Laney and Jason Shaplen, the DPRK had undertaken extremely progressive efforts to stabilize relations with neighbouring and allied countries. This included inviting the U.S. delegation to Pyongyang, proposing fruitful negotiations with the ROK, re-establishing road and rail links with South Korea, attempting to normalize affairs with Japan through bilateral concessions, all the while honouring the provisos of the Accord (Laney and Shaplen, 2003: 17). North Korean efforts displayed the most promising signs of change on the Peninsula. However, in October 2002 interactions between the states began to deteriorate, when the DPRK acknowledged the existence of its clandestine highly enriched uranium (HEU) program; ultimately ending all diplomatic associations accomplished thus far (Laney and Shaplen, 2003: 17). Claiming that the DPRK had violated the 1994 Agreed Framework Accord, the United States began a series of hard-lined approaches in an attempt to punish the totalitarian state. The U.S. suspended 500,000 tons of annual heavy fuel deliveries, and refrained from engaging in diplomatic dialogue (Laney and Shaplen, 2003: 18). In a response to the punitive measures enacted by Washington, the DPRK resumed its plutonium enrichment program, arguing that the United States was the one that violated the Accord by seizing heavy oil shipments (Pritchard, 2007: 43). Another set of reports began to emerge in October 2002 that once again indicated the existence of a covert HEU weapons grade program, subsequently exacerbating American
  28. 28. 250872487 Abrol, 24 animosity (Park, 2005: 76). The resurgence of this initiative included the resurrection of its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, the deletion of “seals and monitoring cameras from its frozen nuclear labs and reactors and, a few days later, [the removal of] its dangerous spent fuel rods out of storage” (Laney and Shaplen, 2003: 18). By December 2002, it had also expelled IAEA monitors from its territory and formally withdrew from the NPT on January 10th 2003 (Pritchard, 2007: 47). In February 2003, Pyongyang announced that it would restart a critical reprocessing plant, which was later confirmed by American intelligence officials (Pritchard, 2007: 47; Sanger, 2003), effectively decimating the core vestiges of the Accord. The rapidly occurring events in the DPRK heightened enmity within the international community, and the call to take immediate action. This ultimately resulted in a series of negotiations aimed at North Korean disarmament efforts, more formally known as the Six-Party Talks. Prelude to the Six-Party Talks In an attempt to stabilize the escalating tensions, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) opted for a backdoor solution, inviting Kim Jong-Il to meet with Chinese diplomat, Qian Qichen, in an attempt to engage in trilateral concessions with the U.S. (Oberdorfer and Carlin, 2014: 395). Finally agreeing to the Chinese proposal, negotiations began to ensue between the United States, North Korea, and the PRC, in Beijing on April 2003. With the PRC being a close ally of the DPRK, the United States relied heavily on China to take the lead during discussions (Pritchard, 2007, 84). However, the trilateral negotiations were turbulent. Attempting to stabilize the precipitously worsening relationship between Pyongyang and Washington, China made herculean efforts to reconcile differences. The American administration under George W. Bush refused to meet bilaterally, claiming that the nuclear issue of the DPRK was a neighbouring problem. Thus, China expanded the talks to include the ROK, Japan, and the Russian Federation,
  29. 29. 250872487 Abrol, 25 as each state had a vested interest in the Korean Peninsula (Park, 2005: 76). By August 2003, the first of the six rounds of the SPT was underway. The Six Rounds The first round of the SPT aimed to address the failure of the 1994 Agreed Framework Accord. However, before the onset of negotiations, the DPRK demanded a non-aggression pact with the United States. Should its western counterpart refuse, North Korea would refrain from engaging in disarmament deliberations (Liang, 2012: 1). Correspondingly, Washington refused to deviate from its hard-lined position against Pyongyang, as the American delegation had cited its stipulations prior to the inception of discussions (Liang, 2012: 1). This ultimately led to the conclusion of the plenary session. It is important to note that the proposed non-aggression pact by the totalitarian regime was justified. Shortly before the inauguration of the SPT, the United States had circumvented the United Nations to validate the initiation of the Iraq War. Consequently, this increased North Korean animosity against the U.S., prompting the resurgence of its plutonium enrichment program, despite international pressures to refrain (Niksh, 2005: 6). Notwithstanding the actions of the United States, there was some progress that was made during the preliminaries of the SPT. The parties had come to a unanimous consensus on a number of issues, including: the formal acknowledgement of North Korean security concerns, a commitment towards a peaceable settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, and a promise to maintain peaceful and trustful negotiations in order to avoid confrontational escalation (Pritchard, 2007: 102). Despite a commitment from all six parties for a unified solution, the punitive stance by Washington towards the DPRK remained unchanged, jeopardizing the possibility of a second round. When the Chinese delegates were questioned about the main obstacle hindering a diplomatic continuation, they replied it was the American
  30. 30. 250872487 Abrol, 26 policy towards North Korea (Pritchard, 2007: 102). However, the Chinese remained adamant on solidifying a solution to the issue of denuclearization. The PRC engaged in bilateral negotiations with both the DPRK and the United States, in an attempt to get the parties back to the table. On October 19th , 2003, President Bush visited the Asian continent and agreed that he was willing to put, in writing, that the United States would not attack or invade the DPRK (Pritchard, 2007: 102-103). This ultimately eased apprehensions among the conflicting parties, prompting the inception of the second round of discussions in February 2004. Similar to the first set of deliberations, the second round produced inadequate results. The lack of organization and unanimity eventually led to its dissolution (Liang, 2012: 2). The formal discussions lasted four days, with the first two segments encompassing a very positive and promising tone. Although the focal differences among the six parties remained unsolved, they were nonetheless useful. The United States and the DPRK were somewhat flexible on minor issues, however, maintained a rigid stance on matters such as the North Korean HEU program and “complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement,” or CVID (Kwak, 2004: 34). However, talks began to deteriorate once the Chinese proposed a Joint Statement, of which the specifics could not be determined (Pritchard, 2007: 104). This prompted the PRC to engage in a series of informal negotiations from June to November 2004. The talks involved the United States, ROK, North Korea, and of course, China (Park, 2005: 90). Deliberations ensued in an attempt to decrease the animosities between the ideologically asymmetric factions, in hopes that they would consent to another formal round of discussions. After months of stringent efforts by the PRC, the delegation was able to formulate a bilateral agreement between the Bush and Kim Administrations. Under the covenant, the U.S. would officially embrace the concept of non-aggression while providing security and economic
  31. 31. 250872487 Abrol, 27 assurances, should the DPRK remain loyal to the negotiations (Kwak, 2004: 39). Nonetheless, ideological differences among the six parties contributed to the failure of the second round (Beal, 2005: 216-217). Considering that the NPT allows all signatories to practice safe nuclear energy, China and Russia agreed that the DPRK should be able to pursue its sovereign right to peaceful atomic practices. However, the United States, Japan, and the ROK, were insistent that North Korea continue complete denuclearization of all facilities, weapons, and programs, before the resumption of negotiations (Liang, 2012, 2). As a result, discussions were once again ineffective. The extension of the third round in June 2004, consisted of establishing numerous working groups aimed at the successful dismantlement of the DPRK atomic program. However, both the United States and North Korea had two varying approaches regarding the commencement of a nuclear freeze. Pyongyang wanted compensation prior to a suspension of its nuclear program; in contrast, Washington asserted that North Korea accept the conditions of CVID before any recompense (Kwak, 2004: 41). Realizing that progress would not occur if bargaining tactics did not deviate, both the U.S. and the DPRK tabled propositions that attempted to achieve new ground. The United States proposed that the DPRK should pursue complete dismantlement of its nuclear weapons programs, including all HEU and plutonium enrichment activities. For doing so, it would provide the North with conditional incentives for steadfast cooperation (Kwak, 2004: 43). Pyongyang countered by pledging its unwavering commitment to take comprehensive steps including the suspension of its program, as well as promises to undertake specific restitutions it required from the U.S. for cooperation, such as distributing fuel and electricity (Liang, 2012: 2). Much to the dismay of delegations, Pyongyang rejected the proposal from the United States. Although North Korean officials argued that disarmament was
  32. 32. 250872487 Abrol, 28 the ultimate goal of the regime, the American policy was too hostile to accept, and Pyongyang would not entertain the idea of CVID prior to negotiations (Pritchard, 2007: 106). The onset of a fourth round was met with much consternation. In early February 2005, the DPRK declared that it was in possession of nuclear weapons, and would not attend future SPT deliberations. Accusing the United States of attempting to overthrow its government, the PRC intervened and struggled to salvage any possibility of diplomatic reconciliation (Liang, 2012: 2-3). Following a meeting in Beijing with the new U.S. lead negotiator and Ambassador, Christopher Hill, and North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister, Kim Gye-gwam, the two states agreed to resume talks (Liang, 2012: 3). After this minor obstacle was overcome, the fourth segment, arguably, became the most fruitful of the concessions. The talks resumed in July 2005 and lasted a period of twenty days. In contrast to previous rounds, the United States displayed much more flexibility towards the DPRK. Washington called for a “statement of principles” to help enhance the fluidity of consultations, while trying to deviate away from the diplomatic stalemate (Pritchard, 2005: 4). Although the U.S. did not change its rigid stance against the DPRK entirely, it allowed for maneuverability on the part of the Chinese delegation to elucidate any similarities between the disputing parties (Pritchard, 2005: 5). After a lengthy discussion which lasted for months, the SPT achieved its first major breakthrough in September 2005, with the establishment of a Joint Statement. This legally non- binding agreement entailed progressive measures to achieve complete denuclearization of the region (Liang, 2012: 3). Furthermore, Pyongyang consented to return to the NPT, subsequently subjecting itself to IAEA safeguards (Hill, 2013: 12). If the DPRK demonstrated steadfast commitment to the Joint Statement, all six parties agreed that no nuclear artillery would be deployed on the Peninsula, promised to work towards the normalization of relations between the
  33. 33. 250872487 Abrol, 29 U.S. and North Korea, and discuss the possibility of obtaining light water nuclear reactors (LWR) (Liang, 2012: 3). Furthermore, the six delegations agreed to abide by the norms of international law and the UN Charter, while simultaneously respecting each other’s sovereignty and promising to engage in joint efforts for the securitization of the Korean Peninsula (Hill, 2013: 12). In exchange for the positive contributions and promises made by the delegations, the DPRK “publically obligated itself to abandoning all nuclear programs in exchange for security guarantees, economic and energy assistance, and a willingness to proceed with a peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula” (Hill, 2013: 12). Despite the progress accomplished through the fourth round, Pyongyang released a statement shortly after the agreement was accepted, arguing that its allegiance regarding dismantlement was contingent on the supply of LWR (Pritchard, 2007: 121). This minor hurdle did not undermine the promise demonstrated in the fourth round, resulting in the fifth segment of the SPT in November 2005. Contrary to the positive expectations from the six delegations, the fifth round once again proved to be turbulent. The parties could not come to an agreement on how to implement the newly-formed Statement, causing the talks to dissolve after a mere three days (Liang, 2012: 3). An announcement released by the SPT Chair outlined that the parties would “fully implement the Joint Statement in line with the principle of ‘commitment for commitment, action for action’” (Pritchard, 2007: 130). In other words, if the DPRK abides by the proposals and resolutions accepted in the SPT, progress would be made. However, relations among the six states began to deteriorate shortly after the conclusion of the fifth round. The United States had imposed several financial embargos on the DPRK due to the Banco Delta Asia (BDA) incident; where Washington had accused the DPRK of laundering money through the BDA, a bank owned by the Delta Asia Financial Group.
  34. 34. 250872487 Abrol, 30 America argued that the DPRK used the institution as a pipeline to wire money to North Korea, once again frustrating the hermetic state (Lee, 2010: 129). On June 1st , 2006, Pyongyang released a statement criticizing the United States for being the primary contributor to the inefficacy of the SPT. Specifically, the Kim Jong-Il Administration argued that it was more than willing to pursue denuclearization of the Peninsula, so long as Pyongyang was convinced that the American delegation would refrain from antagonizing its regime (Pritchard, 2007: 128). However, Washington was aware of the lack of legitimacy from the DPRK, as it had completed the reprocessing of fuel rods from the nuclear reactor in April 2005 (Pritchard, 2007: 128). Consequently, the United States placed sanctions on the regime, causing the DPRK to once again withdraw its support for the SPT (Liang, 2012: 3). Similar to the patterns displayed in previous rounds, North Korea surprised delegations when it consented to another meeting in an extension of the fifth segment. On February 13th , 2007, all parties attempted to agree on a practical outline to formally implement the Joint Statement. The framework provided the DPRK with sixty days to achieve disablement of its nuclear facilities. In exchange for its cooperation, the remaining five states would provide North Korea with energy, economic, and humanitarian aid (Lee, 2010: 129). Additional stipulations required the DPRK to once again subject itself to IAEA safeguards and protocols, in an effort to enhance the verification of compliance accuracy (Lee, 2010: 129). Although the progress of this meeting seemed fruitful, the DPRK backtracked on its commitments relatively quickly. Tensions mounted when Pyongyang withdrew its consent from the NPT, and conducted its first formal nuclear test on October 9th , 2009, becoming the eighth country in history to do so. In response to the missile launch, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution (UNSCR) 1718, on October 14th . The decree aimed to stop the progression of North Korea’s atomic
  35. 35. 250872487 Abrol, 31 vocations, calling for a ban on “heavy class conventional weaponry as well as luxury items,” in addition to an embargo of all nuclear tests and missile development (Shen, 2009: 178). This prompted the need to establish a sixth round of negotiations in an attempt to mitigate the international uproar caused by the atomic test. The sixth round began as scheduled in March 2007, but similar to the other five concessions of the SPT, failed to produce any substantive results. The talks aimed to verify acquiescence to the Joint Statement by North Korea, in an attempt to deter any possibility of another nuclear test. Initially, the IAEA had confirmed that the DPRK was in compliance with the stipulations agreed in the previous segment. Specifically, inspectors verified that the five MWt reactor in Yongbyon had been shut down and sealed (Liang, 2012: 4). This prompted the restoration of faith among the six states to continue with SPT negotiations. Positive contributions by all participants led to the DPRK agreeing to dismantle three key nuclear facilities in Yongbyon. Furthermore, North Korea committed to refrain from transferring nuclear materials, technology, or intelligence, to other states. With assurance by Pyongyang, the delegations agreed to supply the DPRK with a total of one million tons of heavy fuel, and a commitment to strive towards the normalization of relations (Liang, 2012: 4). To curtail the possibility of North Korea reneging on its commitment, members of the SPT requested that the DPRK allow IAEA inspectors and conduct safeguard procedures to ensure compliance (Nakato, 2009: 90). Despite its verbal consent, Pyongyang refused to allow any factual verification of its facilities (Liang, 2012: 4). Rather, North Korea threatened to rescind its pledge under the SPT and reinstate its nuclear proliferation program (Nakato, 2009: 92). Amidst the second phase of the sixth round, North Korea had launched a “modified Taepo Dong-2 three stage rocket… as a part of its civilian space program” despite pressures from the
  36. 36. 250872487 Abrol, 32 international community to refrain (Liang, 2012: 4). Upon the dissolution of the final round in December 2008, the DPRK has displayed no further interest in resuming the talks. In May 2009, the DPRK launched its second nuclear test much to the dismay of the international community, resulting in the implementation of UNSCR 1874. The Council outlined a series of financial sanctions, which denied benefits to the North Korean regime (Chanlett- Avery and Rinehart, 2013: 349). Also the UNSC condemned any future nuclear tests, the deployment of satellites into orbit, and banned weapons transfers of any kind to and from North Korea (Shen, 2009: 178). The closest the international community has come to reinstating the SPT for a seventh segment was during the 2.29 Agreement, which called for the DPRK to return to the negotiating table. However, this was nullified when North Korea launched another test missile two months after the agreement took place (Yun and Choi, 2014: 217). The most recent call for the resurrection of the SPT came during Pyongyang’s January 2016 nuclear test under UNSCR 2270. The Resolution mandated heavy inspections of all materials being imported or exported to the DPRK, a discouragement in tourism, the cessation of all energy producing materials, and a reinstatement of the SPT (UN, 2016). While the possibility of a seventh round remains elusive, it is important to analyze exactly why the SPT failed through. Why did the Six-Party Talks Fail? Based on the analysis presented, it is safe to conclude that the SPT was a failure; not producing any substantive results towards the disarmament of the Korean Peninsula. However, scholars have discussed possible explanations as to why this might have been. According to Kang Choi, one of the main reasons why the SPT was a disappointment was due to the bipolar approach taken by the six states. Specifically, whether peace should be a precondition of denuclearization, or a desired outcome of the negotiations (Choi, 2015: 31). Among the six
  37. 37. 250872487 Abrol, 33 states, China, North Korea and, to an extent, Russia, prefer that peace commence prior to the onset of denuclearization (Choi, 2015: 31-32). In contrast, the American delegation upholds the contrary, stating that peace should be contingent on cooperation and production of results (Park, 2005: 76). As previously mentioned, the conflicting ideological views of China, Russia, the DPRK, against its Western counterparts, contributed to the demise of the discussions. In addition, Tim Beal argues that the two conflicting perspectives between the six delegations differed on how to successfully address the issue of disarmament, and on the overall approach towards effective governing methods (i.e. Communism versus Democracy) (Beal, 2005: 216- 217). Jina Kim asserts that Washington’s negative connotation of the DPRK throughout the negotiations exacerbated the inelasticity between the states. Under the George W. Bush Administration, North Korea was identified as a member of the axis of evil, and by Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, as “one of the world’s ‘outposts of tyranny’” (Kim, 2015: 12). Although this did deviate when Ambassador Hill overtook the negotiations, allowing for more fruitful deliberations (Pritchard, 2005: 3), not much has changed since. While the Barack Obama Administration does not openly make denigrating remarks about the North Korean regime, its “freedom agenda endorsed by those who had significant influence on [U.S.] policy continues to antagonize North Korea, worsening its negative identification” (Kim, 2015: 12). Discussions increased in convolution as the Six-Party Talks have been used as a platform to address the “growing strategic distrust in the U.S.-China relationship” (Choi, 2015: 33). With both the Chinese and American delegations using the deliberations as a venue to address their grievances, it hinders any potential progress that could be made in regards to denuclearization is hindered. Also, it goes beyond the scope of the issue at hand, further exacerbating any potential
  38. 38. 250872487 Abrol, 34 for diplomatic advancement. India’s atomic exceptionalism has also factored into Pyongyang’s discontent with Washington. Daniel Twining asserts that although India did encounter resentment as a result of its proliferation practices throughout the 1990s, and sanctions due to the nuclear test in 1998, relations were eventually normalized (Twining, 2014: 189-190). Furthermore, Washington and New Delhi reached a bilateral agreement to advance India’s atomic technological capabilities, arguing that it was going to have positive global impacts (Twining, 2014: 193). Being the first state to violate the NPT, India has become an accepted global nuclear power with the full support of Western countries; however, Pyongyang considers this as a hypocrisy (Twining, 2014: 199). Similar to how India viewed its nuclear acquisition program as quintessential to its security, so too does North Korea according to Daniel Twining (Twining, 2014: 200). The DPRK is aware of the American military presence in the ROK, and when North Korea speaks of denuclearization, it is inclusive of U.S. expulsion in South Korea (Choi, 2015: 30). It is important to note that although the South does not possess any atomic weapons, the United States casts a nuclear umbrella over the state, and is thus perceived as a security threat by the DPRK (Shen, 2009: 176). Özüm S. Uzun, an international relations professor at Aydin University, argues that “acquiring a nuclear weapon has been associated with the status of a ‘superpower’ or ‘regional power’” (Uzun, 2015: 415). With the U.S. presence in the ROK, North Korea may feel the safety of its regime is in jeopardy, resulting in the continued proliferation of nuclear artillery. Due to the current power imbalance in the region, the DPRK may find it necessary to exercise extreme measures to ensure its regime security, one method being the continued acquisition of nuclear weapons (Grinter, 2008: 295). According to Dingli Shen, North Korean officials believe it can strengthen “its national security through nuclear deterrence”
  39. 39. 250872487 Abrol, 35 (Shen, 2009: 176). Considering that atomic weapons can act as a low-cost strategic equalizer (Habib, 2011: 47), nuclear acquisition may be the most financially viable method to ensure securitization. Taking into account that the DPRK is not the most fiscally feasible country, Shen asserts that the SPT may have been used as a platform to further expand its nuclear proliferation (Shen, 2009: 176). Despite being offered monetary reparations for its cooperation, Benjamin Habib argues that nuclear weapons may serve as a resourceful bargaining chip for the Hermit Kingdom. Pyongyang’s fragile economy is exacerbated by its “agricultural inefficiency, energy shortages [and the] rigid political system” (Habib, 2011: 59). Much of the DPRK’s budget is centered on military investment and expenditures. Therefore, the state needs foreign direct investments (FDIs) and other types of pecuniary aids to keep its economy afloat (Habib, 2011: 50), allowing it to be at a relative equilibrium with other global economic powers (Habib, 2011: 52). An example of how its weapons program was leveraged during the SPT came when the DPRK extorted food and oil from China as a method of payment, in order to remain committed to the negotiations (Niksh, 2005: 6). Despite North Korea’s devious tactics towards one of its allies, both the PRC and Russia have helped sustain the DPRK economy, irrespective of any UN sanctions. China continues to be North Korea’s primary source for “food, energy, medicine, fertilizers” and other FDIs (Shen, 2009: 177). The total value of trade between the two states is approximately $6.5 billion USD (Fifield et al., 2015), encompassing ninety percent of all North Korean foreign trade (Yun and Choi, 2014: 221). Furthermore, Russia has not only contributed to the failure of the SPT, but also the funding and maintenance of Pyongyang’s nuclear endeavours. Being another benefactor in the region, Russia’s current trade value with the totalitarian state was valued at $104.2 million USD in 2005 (Kaseda, 2015: 76), and has
  40. 40. 250872487 Abrol, 36 promised to increase it to $1 billion by the year 2020 (Fifield et al., 2015). Additionally, Russia has committed to several projects to enhance relations with the DPRK including the connection of Russian railways, gas pipelines and power grids (Kaseda, 2015: 77). Furthermore, in September 2012, Moscow eradicated Pyongyang’s $11 billion debt to Russia, further alleviating any economic hardships faced by the DPRK (Kaseda, 2015: 77). Finally, it is imperative to note that one of the most crucial facts overlooked by diplomats of the SPT is the magnitude of the North Korean nuclear program. This does not, however, refer to the size of its arsenal, but rather the preponderate influence on the heritage of the DPRK. The North Korean atomic program has stemmed from generations of effort. In the aforementioned arguments, it was stated that the onset of proliferation began with the Eternal Leader Kim Il- Sung, was advanced by his son Kim Jong-Il, and is now maintained by Kim Jong-Un. Being such an entrenched aspect of North Korean history, it has been considered one of the greatest generational achievements by the DPRK (Choi, 2015: 30). Therefore, advancing the program would not transform the DPRK into a global nuclear power, but could cement Jong-Un’s legacy in North Korean history (Choi, 2015: 31). Considering these factors helps to further elucidate why the SPT ultimately failed. With so much at stake, it is plausible that Pyongyang had no intention throughout the negotiations to forego its nuclear program, but intend to use the discussions as a means to acquire time and enhance its arsenal (Shen, 2009: 176). Possibilities of denuclearization further deteriorated once Kim Jong-Un was declared the Supreme Leader, following his father’s death in December 2011. Since then, a series of nuclear tests and erratic behaviour conducted by the world’s youngest leader has further eluded the possibility of fruitful negotiations or disarmament.
  41. 41. 250872487 Abrol, 37 The DPRK Under Kim Jong-Un Coming to Power According to Don Oberdorfer and Robert Carlin, the political succession of Kim Jong-Un had begun by February 2007, when Jong-Il told his security advisors that they were to be under the command of his son after his passing (Oberdorfer and Carlin, 2014: 424-425). In an ironic turn of events, Kim Jong-Il suffered a severe stroke shortly after his final television appearance in August 2008. Although his ailment was kept secret in the DPRK, South Korean and American security operatives soon realized that the Supreme Leader was in a life-threatening condition (Oberdorfer and Carlin, 2014: 426). As his illness slowly began to worsen, reports began to materialize by September 2010 that Kim Jong-Un was being prepared to succeed his father (Frank, 2012: 109). Shortly after Jong-Il’s funeral, the NKWP made an official announcement on December 19th , 2011, that Jong-Un had become the new Supreme Leader of the DPRK. The NKWP worked tirelessly to build the image of the new leader. They portrayed the Comrade as someone who not only mourned the loss of his father, but as an individual who would guide the people of North Korea into the new era with strength (Frank, 2012: 113). Propaganda also contained many references to how Comrade Kim had the full support of the NKWP. One slogan that emerged shortly after Jong-Un had succeeded read “let us defend with our very lives the Party Central Committee headed by the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un!” (Frank, 2012: 115). With the full backing of his father’s former party, Jong-Un commenced his rule over the DPRK, paying close attention to its nuclear program. Kim Jong-Un Takes Over The potential for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula has remained grim since Kim took power at the end 2011. In comparison to his predecessors, Kim has exercised an incredible
  42. 42. 250872487 Abrol, 38 capacity to display erratic behaviour towards diplomatic resolutions regarding nuclear proliferation. For example, a bilateral agreement with the United States signed in February 2012, which provided the DPRK with foreign aid so long as it continued the freeze of its atomic program, was nullified when Pyongyang launched a rocket on April 13th , 2012 (Chanlett-Avery and Rinehart, 2013: 342). Two days before the test, Jong-Un had been named the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and was appointed as Chairman of the National Defence Commission the day before the launch (Park, 2014: 9). Soon after his promotion on the Commission in 2012, a series of missile tests occurred. The launch on April 13th was done to commemorate the 100th birthday of the Eternal Leader, Kim Il-Sung. However, the rocket failed to reach orbit, exploding about ninety seconds after take-off over the Yellow Sea (Chanlett-Avery and Rinehart, 2013: 343). Despite the disappointing launch, Jong-Un addressed the public vowing to prioritize North Korea’s military efforts, while simultaneously improving the standard of living (Chung et al., 2016: 14). Soon after that, Pyongyang conducted another missile launch, this time putting an “earth observation satellite” into orbit on December 12th , 2012 (Chanlett-Avery and Rinehart, 2013: 343). Although the DPRK claims its intentions for a nuclear program are entirely peaceful, it nonetheless continued to violate international law. As a result, its rocket launch in December 2012 received global condemnation, forcing the Security Council to enact UNSCR 2087. The Resolution called for the DPRK to immediately comply with all existing declarations, and further clarified the sanctions concerning the ban of weapons transfer (UN, 2013). Notwithstanding repercussions, North Korean analysts believe that this may have been a worthwhile attempt to bolster Kim’s legitimacy, both on the international and domestic stage (Chanlett-Avery and Rinehart, 2013: 343).
  43. 43. 250872487 Abrol, 39 Nuclear Advancements in 2013 Kim Jong-Un continued to stun onlookers when North Korea conducted its third nuclear test on February 12th , 2013. Young-chul Chung et al. argue that this launch was completed to fulfil the instructions left by Jong-Un’s father as a means of security development (Chung et al., 2016: 14), and remaining faithful to the succession (Chung et al., 2016: 9). Nevertheless, it was met with grave hostility from the global community, as the UNSC condemned the launch which was in defiance of UNSCR 1718, 1874, and 2087. The Council responded with the adoption of Resolution 2094 at the beginning of March 2013. UNSCR 2094 consisted of a series of economic sanctions designed to cripple the North Korean economy. Specifically, the Security Council implemented a travel ban and an asset freeze on the Chief and Deputy Chief of a mining trading company, accused of being the primary arms supplier and financial entity of the DPRK (UN, 2013). Furthermore, the Council also mandated that states increase their diligence over diplomatic personnel, cargo, and shipments, to and from the DPRK (UNSC, 2013). The newly-enacted set of sanctions by the UNSC infuriated the Leader. In addition to international condemnation, the U.S. and the ROK were conducting military exercises which further exacerbated the outrage in Pyongyang. On March 11th , 2013, Jong-Un declared that the DPRK had nullified the armistice agreement from 1953, which signified the end of the Korean War (Sang-Hun, 2013). Although this recent development did not increase hostilities along the DMZ, the DPRK also staged its own set of vigorous military drills (Sang-Hun, 2013). Pyongyang followed this by adopting its Byongjin policy near the end of March 2013, which aimed at simultaneously pursuing economic and nuclear developments mentioned during Kim’s public address in April 2012 (Chung et al., 2015: 1). The Byongjin endeavour has ideological ties to the current Songun system of governance, established under his father, “in which military
  44. 44. 250872487 Abrol, 40 activities generate more resources and economic goods than they consume” (Habib, 2011: 51). This is in contrast to the aforementioned Juche method, which embodied values of self-reliance and championed complete isolation (Habib, 2011: 58). Although Jong-Un had vowed to improve the living standard of North Koreans, his focus under Byongjin centered around the importance of sovereignty and securitization. The success of the 2013 atomic test prompted North Korean news media to stress that “no nuclear weapon state in the world has ever been invaded,” allowing Jong-Un a window to further advance his nuclear proliferation (Chung et al., 2016: 16). In a meeting with the NKWP on March 31st , 2013, Kim announced that simultaneously strengthening the regime’s nuclear capabilities and economy would be the country’s permanent strategy (Kim, 2016: 236). A speech made by the new leader shortly after the meeting, outlined that the United States was the principal enemy of the regime, and the primary reason why the DPRK should continue its atomic efforts for national defence and deterrent measures (Kim, 2016: 236). On April 2nd , 2013, the DPRK announced plans to restart its frozen nuclear facility in Yongbyon and, once again, begin nuclear proliferation (Davenport, 2013: 3). The New York Times reported that North Korea was doing this in an attempt to elicit a response from American officials, who were remaining mute in hopes that Kim Jong-Un would stop his belligerent behaviour (Sang-Hun and Landler, 2013). Considering it a “provocative act,” Secretary of State, John Kerry, called it “a direct violation of their international obligations” (Sang-Hun and Landler, 2013). Furthermore, he elucidated that any pugnacious attempts at making concessions with the U.S. and ROK would be unsuccessful (Sang-Hun and Landler, 2013). It is important to note that during the same week, Jong-Un had threatened pre-emptive nuclear strikes against both the ROK and the U.S., however, he appeared to retract his statement shortly after, arguing that
  45. 45. 250872487 Abrol, 41 the weapons were being used as a deterrent (Sang-Hun and Landler, 2013). Although this may have been a brutish tactic used by the DPRK to coerce its Western rivals, it also frustrated one of its most important allies. China’s new President, Xi Jinping, was agitated by Kim’s recent behaviour, viewing North Korean actions as a threat to Chinese security (Wan, 2013). Jinping stated that “no one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gains…while pursuing its own interests, a country should accommodate the legitimate interests of others” (Wan, 2013). The United States began to sense increasing tensions between North Korea and its closest ally. According to Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the UN, “what is interesting about China’s stance now…[is] that, unlike in the past, they also are very much of the view that Kim Jong Un has gone too far, and that this is now a situation that has the potential to directly threaten their interests in the region – both economic and security” (Wan, 2013). Despite the animosity from the PRC, and a minor indication that American and Chinese security interests were aligning, Kim remained steadfast in his pattern of erratic behaviour. On April 9th , 2013, the DPRK warned that the Peninsula was on the brink of nuclear war, as Pyongyang was ready to launch a nuclear attack on its southern neighbour, however, analysts dismissed the statement as a hyperbole (Sang-Hun and Sanger, 2013). The Americans refused to make any concessions on Pyongyang’s threats, maintaining that the young leader was miscalculating avenues to decrease tensions and receive foreign aid and other economic reparations (Sang-Hun and Sanger, 2013). Considering the cataclysmic repercussions the ROK may have faced if the DPRK was serious about its coercions, South Korean Unification Minister, Ryoo Kihl-jae, said in a nationally-televised statement that the ROK was serious about discussions (Sang-Hun, 2013). Calling for an open and transparent dialogue with its northern neighbour, the South wanted to
  46. 46. 250872487 Abrol, 42 diffuse tensions on the Peninsula (Sang-Hun, 2013). Understanding the magnitude the consultations would have on regional stabilization, U.S. Secretary Kerry stated that the United States was willing to reach out to the DPRK if Jong-Un agreed to abandon his nuclear program (Gordon, 2013). Furthermore, Kerry was open to expanding discussions with Chinese delegations and exploring other avenues to achieve peace (Gordon, 2013). The DPRK agreed to reinstate diplomatic negotiations in that the regime refrained from using antagonistic language to describe its Western rivals, thus allowing its counterparts to deviate from their heretofore hostile approaches (Sand-Hun and Gladstone, 2013). However, Jong-Un did list the conditions he expected to be met before the onset of negotiations. Specifically, Pyongyang wanted the UNSC to lift its sanctions for North Korea’s past ballistic and missile achievements, the withdrawal of all American “nuclear war means” from South Korea, and the cessation of all U.S.-ROK joint military exercises (Davenport, 2013: 1). This sparked outrage from Secretary Kerry, calling Pyongyang’s demands “unacceptable” for the basis of negotiations. However, he remained hopeful that the DPRK would commit to its international obligations (Davenport, 2013: 1). Similar to the pattern observed, North Korea did not acquiesce to the pressure administered by the Chinese and Americans, but rather remained steadfast in the continuation of its atomic program. In May 2013, Pyongyang fired a series of short-range missiles over the Sea of Japan, causing much animosity in the region. A total of four launches occurred from May 17th to the 19th , causing the ROK to reinforce its security (Smith-Spark, 2013). Although short-range missiles are categorized as those travelling less than 1,000 kilometers, U.S. and South Korean officials feared that longer-range tests, which have a maximum distance of 3,500 kilometers, would also occur (Smith-Spark, 2015). Over the course of three days, the DPRK managed to launch a total of six missiles, receiving international condemnation from the UN and its own
  47. 47. 250872487 Abrol, 43 allies (Lipes, 2013). UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, called for the DPRK to return to negotiations (Lipes, 2013), in addition to China asking Pyongyang to do the same shortly thereafter (Perlez, 2013). China argued that regardless of how the situation fluctuates, all parties should be committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (Perlez, 2013). Consequently, the demand fell on deaf ears. Although North Korea had a sudden change of heart and decided to restore cross-border communication with the ROK on June 4th (Sang- Hun, 2013), the anticipation for a series of fruitful negotiations proved to be short-lived. On June 11th , the potential for discussions collapsed as the there were disagreements over “whether the intended delegations were of similar ranking” (Sang-Hun, 2013). To elaborate, Pyongyang undermined the South Korean envoy to the talks, arguing that his status was not comparable to its chief delegate (Sang-Hun, 2013). In late July, 2013, satellite images were released of a nuclear facility at the Sohae Satellite Launch Station (Tongchang-ri), which had been under construction for approximately eight months (The Guardian, 2013). Although a definitive purpose for the institution was not determined, Nick Hansen, a retired expert on imagery technology, argued that it could be a potential flat launch pad. The site consisted of a large concrete area that could be used to test “mobile ballistic missiles fired from a transporter-erecter launcher” or a series of short-range rockets (38 North and Hansen, 2013). In early August, reports emerged that the DPRK had doubled the size of its uranium enrichment area in the Yongbyon reactor complex. The Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, determined this based on satellite images of the aforementioned facility (Gladstone et al., 2013). According to the study, the expansion could produce 16 to 68 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium per year; enough for approximately two nuclear weapons (Gladstone et al., 2013). By August 30th , the think-tank 38 North attained
  48. 48. 250872487 Abrol, 44 satellite images which indicated that North Korea had begun six new construction projects at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station since mid-2013, including: a mobile instrumentation site which provided telemetry and tracking functions to the launch control station, and the establishment of a military construction troops compound (38 North and Hansen, 2013). To further convolute matters, the DPRK had also been caught attempting to smuggle weapons back to Pyongyang from Cuba. Labelled “North Korea’s Cuban Missile Crisis,” a ship named Chong Chong Gang left Cuba on route to the DPRK on July 10th , 2013. When the cargo vessel reached the Panama Canal, it was diverted for a drug inspection in the Port of Manzanillo. Although the crew of the boat declared that it was solely a shipment of sugar, Cuban authorities stated that it contained 240 metric tons of defence weapons that were “obsolete,” in addition to 10,000 tons of sugar (Hanham, 2013). However, reports later revealed that it was far worse than initially believed, as the DPRK, and now Cuba, were in violation of all UNSC resolutions pertaining to North Korea. The shipment contained small arms and light weapons, night vision military equipment, rocket-propelled grenades, conventional artillery ammunition, anti-tank guns and ammunition (Griffiths and Siirtola, 2013). By November 2013, North Korea remained steadfast on strengthening its military endeavours. Specifically, the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that were once believed to be mock decoys manufactured in 2012, began to take very real characteristics. According to Jeffrey Lewis, Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and John Schilling, an aerospace engineer, the missiles now had more rivets than those in 2012. Suggesting that the design had stabilized, rockets were also properly secured to launch pads, had different serial numbers, and overall better workmanship than the previous missiles detected (Lewis and Schilling, 2013). Although the scholars could not
  49. 49. 250872487 Abrol, 45 definitively state that the newly-detected ICBMs were also potential decoys, Schilling argued that the properties identified certainly embodied more threatening physiognomies (Lewis and Schilling, 2013). Fortunately, the remainder of 2013 concluded without another nuclear or missile test. However, on December 20th , 2013, 38 North reported that the DPRK had resumed the excavation of probable test tunnels through images obtained by satellite (38 North and Liu, 2013). The tunnels were located in the West Portal area, which was also the site of the 2009 and 2013 nuclear detonations. Although there was no imminent threat of attack present during this time, the findings insinuated that more launches were yet to come. Nuclear Advancements in 2014 At the onset of 2014, the DPRK had begun to collude with Iran to further advance its space program. It is no secret that North Korea and Iran are allies, as both states have worked in conjunction to further their missile development through the sale of weapons (Lewis, 2014). However, Western diplomatic sources stated that Iran had now stationed four missile experts at an undisclosed nuclear facility in the DPRK, including personnel from Iran’s Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics, as well as those from the private sector (Lewis, 2014). Although Lewis does argue that it is difficult to determine the extent of their cooperation (Lewis, 2014), it was nonetheless concerning for the international community. Over the coming weeks, various newspaper outlets reported that Kim Jong-Un was readying for another atomic launch at the West Portal Punggye-ri test site, the same one used for its third nuclear test (Eun-jung, 2014). South Korea’s Defence Chief, Kim Kwan-jin, stated on February 10th , 2014, that Pyongyang had begun the “initial steps” required for a missile launch (Eun-jung, 2014). At the beginning of April, the DPRK successfully conducted a ground jet test of a “new type” of intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) (Philipp, 2016: 31). Furthermore, South
  50. 50. 250872487 Abrol, 46 Korean officials argued that Pyongyang attempted to fire the Musudan IRBM on April 15th , however, the test was a failure and thus indicated that the regime still lacked the necessary launch systems (Philipp, 2016: 31-32). Despite the miscarriage of its most recent warhead, Pyongyang continued the expansion of the aforementioned test tunnels and facilitated the creation of new ones (Lewis, 2014). It is suspected that the tunnels were used for single missile tests, however, due to the secret nature of the DPRK, it is difficult to verify the accuracy of speculation (Lewis, 2014). However, Jeffery Lewis argues that given the pattern of the tunnels, it is possible that if, and when, the DPRK has a steady supply of fissile martial to conduct more frequent atomic tests, that they would occur at the underpasses in the West Portal (Lewis, 2014). Pyongyang once again escalated tensions on the Peninsula when it test-fired two medium-range ICBMs into the Sea of Japan on March 26th . The Rodong missile tests came in lieu of numerous short-range ballistic launches, which occurred over the course of several weeks prior to the events on March 26th (McKirdy, 2014). Furthermore, the DPRK had conducted a military drill shortly after the rocket launch that sent artillery casings to its southern neighbours, causing Seoul to retaliate by returning fire into the Yellow Sea. A South Korean news agency reported that the DPRK had fired approximately 500 shells into the water near the Northern Limit Line (NLL) on March 30th , 2014. This caused the ROK to respond with 300 rounds, as well as increase security along the NLL (Quigley, 2014). Although Pyongyang argued that it warned Seoul of its attention to perform the drills via fax, it nonetheless caused both the U.S. and South Korean forces to increase their surveillance, as well as prepare for any possible provocations (Quigley, 2014). The UNSC naturally condemned the attacks as the DPRK, once again, violated all UNSCRs that were implemented since its first nuclear test in October 2006. However,