The Six Party Talks and Beyond: Cooperative Threat Reduction and North Korea
December 16, 2005
For the past year, CSIS and CEIP have examined the potential role of cooperative threat reduction in eliminating North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction—nuclear, chemical and biological—as well as its ballistic missile program. While skeptics would assert it is unrealistic to conduct such programs with North Korea, the study concludes that:
- The history of the past decade demonstrates that conducting cooperative programs with Pyongyang is possible under the right political circumstances. Moreover, that history provides valuable lessons for how to work cooperatively on-the ground with North Koreans.
- These programs would serve the interests of the United States, particularly in enhancing transparency and in ensuring a long-term solution to the WMD threat, as well as North Korea by making available resources to help in the elimination process and by redirecting important assets to civilian uses.
- CTR could play an important role in the Beijing Six-Party Talks as well as any follow-on negotiations to deal with Pyongyang’s WMD. Moreover, they should be multilateral and closely involve countries such as South Korea and China who have very little previous experience with cooperative threat reduction.
- Practical steps need to be taken in the near-term to adequately prepare for the effective use of these measures starting with the Six-Party Talks These steps range from capacity-building in China and South Korea to preparing training courses for individuals likely to be working on the ground in the North. Moreover, the United States, by virtue of its past experience, technical capabilities and national interests, should play a lead ership role.
The study lays out a range of possible CTR programs for WMD and ballistic missiles that might be applicable in North Korea covering everything from weapons to the redirection of Pyongyang’s WMD workforce.