Author(s)Niksch, Larry A.
KeywordsGovernment and Political Science
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractSince August 2003, negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons programs have involved six governments: the United States, North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia. Since the talks began, North Korea has operated nuclear facilities at Yongbyon and apparently has produced weapons-grade plutonium. Various estimates place North Korea's plutonium production at between 30 and 50 kilograms, enough for five to eight atomic weapons. After North Korea tested a nuclear device in October 2006, the six party talks served as a framework for bilateral negotiations between the Bush Administration and North Korea, with significant Chinese influence on these bilateral talks. The Bush Administration negotiated four agreements with North Korea between February 2007 and October 2008; two were issued as six party accords. The agreements produced the initiation of a disablement of North Korean nuclear installations at Yongbyon, including a nuclear reactor and plutonium reprocessing plant; Bush Administration lifting of Trading With the Enemy Act sanctions against North Korea and removal of North Korea from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism; a North Korean declaration of nuclear programs limited to known nuclear installations at Yongbyon and reportedly a plutonium stockpile of 31 kilograms; and a commitment by the five non-North Korean governments in the six party talks to provide North Korea with one million tons of heavy fuel oil or equivalent forms of energy assistance. The fourth of these agreements, negotiated in October 2008, established a system of verification and inspections but limited to the declared facilities at Yongbyon and not including the taking of samples by inspectors. The Bush Administration and North Korea disputed the contents of this agreement, especially over sampling.