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Regional Peace Building: The Korean Peninsula and North-east Asia

10 June 2010, Centre for Asian Pacific Studies, Lingnan University


North Korea’s Denuclearization through the Six-Party Process
Tae-Hwan Kwak
Professor Emeritus, Eastern Kentucky University
Former President, Korea Institute for National Unification, Seoul, ROK

Abstract
The six-party process aimed at North Korea’s denuclearization has long been stalled since the Six-Party Talks (SPT) failed to agree on a verification protocol in early December 2008.  Now that the DPRK (North Korea) conducted its two nuclear tests in October 2006 and May 2009, it wants to be recognized as a nuclear state and is unlikely to dismantle its nuclear weapons for security reasons.

The North Korea’s nuclear issue, a serious international issue as a key obstacle to the Korean peace process, needs to be resolved peacefully through the six-party process. The author has argued over the years that while the six-party process is the best means to resolve the North’s nuclear issue, bilateral U.S.-DPRK talks are equally important to a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the DPRK’s issue, which is pre-requisite for building a peace regime on the Korean peninsula and regional peace building in Northeast Asia.

The author has two specific goals: (1) to evaluate the stalled SPT for denuclearizing the Korean peninsula since April 2009, with special emphasis on the Choenan incident and its impact of the six-party process and (2) to make policy recommendations for continuing denuclearizing the Korean peninsula through the six-party process.

The first part of this paper analyzes the impact of DPRK’s rocket launch in April 2009 and its second nuclear test in May on the SPT, the second part evaluates DPRK’s new conditions for returning to the SPT, and the third part analyzes the impact of the Cheonansinking on the six-party process. Finally, this paper proposes key issues to be negotiated on agenda at the next SPT and some policy recommendations for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Key words:  Six-Party Talks, DPRK’s denuclearization, long-range rocket launch and second nuclear test, DPRK’s new proposal for peace treaty talks, Cheonan warship sinking, agenda for the next SPT.

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