ISSN 2330-717X

North Korea Breakes Off Contacts With IAEA – OpEd


By Andrei Ilyashenko

The just launched dialogue on the North Korean nuclear dossier falls to pieces, like the North Korean missile – in a few moments after launch. On Monday the UN Security Council adopted a statement condemning the North Korean attempt to launch a missile and demanding from Pyongyang to observe a moratorium on missile tests. In turn, Pyongyang withdrew consent to its nuclear facilities inspections, thus returning the situation to the state of a tough confrontation.

The UN Security Council statement, which has the status of an official document and is approved by all the members of the Security Council, notes that the Security Council “strongly condemns the missile launch carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on April 13, 2012 “. The UN Security Council demands from the DPRK that it should ban all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs “in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner”, immediately cease all actions in this sphere and not to conduct further launches using ballistic missile technology, nuclear tests or “further provocations.”

This statement was expected, since before the launch all the key members of the Security Council tried to persuade Pyongyang to cancel it. However, this statement can’t even be compared with the two Security Council resolutions on North Korea, the tone of which was immeasurably harsher.

It is possible, that the situation was eased a little by the statements of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov made immediately after the dead start, in which he stressed that it was the common position of the PRC, the RF and India, worked out in the course of the talks between the heads of foreign ministries of the three countries that took place the day before.

According to him, “the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has the right to use outer space for peaceful purposes. However, at this stage, this right is limited by the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. As soon as the conditions for the lifting of sanctions mature ( … ), there will be no restrictions for the DPRK on the realization of its right to the peaceful exploration of outer space and atomic energy “. It concerns the international control of nuclear and nuclear-missile program.

In the meanwhile Lavrov spoke out against new sanctions on North Korea and for the resumption of the six-party talks on the DPRK nuclear dossier.

Nevertheless, for the present the DPRK has decided to prolong the escalation of the situation. As the Japanese Agency “Kiodo” informs, North Korea has stopped the negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency /IAEA/ on the return of the IAEA experts to the country.

In February this year representatives of the DPRK and the US agreed to provide 240 thousand tons of food to Pyongyang. In exchange, the DPRK pledged to introduce a moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missiles launches, to wind up the uranium enrichment program in the nuclear center at Yongben and to open its doors for the IAEA inspectors, deported from the country in 2009.

After the launch the US refused to provide food to Korea. The DPRK, in turn, refused to allow the IAEA inspectors. These gestures are of a clearly symbolic nature, because this food aid makes up for only 4 percent of the North Korean annual needs. But the inspections are of great interest for all the DPRK partners in the negotiations.

Against such a background it is difficult to hope for a rapid resumption of the talks on North Korean nuclear dossier in the “six” format (the two Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia). And meanwhile these talks are the crux of the whole story, and Moscow is guided exactly by the desire to limit the North Korean nuclear programme.

“The DPRK already possesses plutonium nuclear equipment, and itcan be used in a conflict situation, ” says Georgi Toloraya, the former Russian Ambassador to the DPRK. – Pressure on Pyongyang may spur another part of their nuclear program – the creation of explosive devices with the use of uranium. This is unacceptable for Russia”.

By the way, the situation as like as two peas in a pod resembles the situation in Iran: Russia also fears that a massive pressure on Tehran may provoke the development of nuclear weapons in this neighboring country. Meanwhile Toloraya draws our attention to the fact that the DPRK does not present a real military threat to its neighbors. “All the Pyongyang political leaders understand that a war would mean a suicide for them. But they are ready to respond in case of aggression. Therefore it is dangerous to bully Pyongyang, though it might be useful for someone as a geopolitical stimulus under existing conditions of the growing Chinese factor in the Asia-Pacific region”.

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VOR, or the Voice of Russia, was the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service from 1993 until 2014, when it was reorganised as Radio Sputnik.

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