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North Korea's withdrawal from the NPT, WILPF UN Office
10 January 2003
The announcement today by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea that it intends to withdraw from the NPT will have serious implications for the ongoing NPT review process and the upcoming Preparatory Committee meetings (2003, 2004) and Review Conference (2005).
The news, while alarming, is not entirely surprising. For years analysts and disarmament advocates have been warning that unless the nuclear weapon states take more decisive action towards fulfilling their disarmament obligations under the NPT, other states will likely come to view nuclear weapons as crucial for their own security as well and take steps that could threaten or undermine the non-proliferation regime.
While the DPRK cited specific reasons for its recent decision (see the articles below), the failure of the nuclear weapon states to implement their NPT obligations sets the context and maintains the concept that nuclear weapons - or the nuclear option - have a valid role to play in national security policy. In this context it is instructive that the DPRK said it had decided to withdraw "to preserve its sovereignty and defend the country against the continuous moves from the USA to isolate it." see http://www.korea-dpr.com/npt.htm
Nevertheless, the NPT is still the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime and the basis for progress towards nuclear disarmament by the nuclear weapon states. North Korea's announcement should raise awareness of the danger created by any state relying on the nuclear option for security and the importance of all NPT member states upholding and implementing their obligations. see http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/npt/nptindex.html
This is a critical opportunity to remind the nuclear weapon states of their NPT obligations and of the increasing fragility of the non-proliferation regime in light of the inter-dependence of its member states' nuclear policies. This is also a good opportunity to revive the call for legally binding negative security assurances for NPT member non-nuclear weapon states. While the US might not accept the DPRK's call for a non-aggression pact, the US and the other nuclear weapon states might consider legally binding negative security assurances as a way to address this security issue in a manner that would benefit all NPT non-nuclear weapon states. Such an initiative could help persuade the DPRK to reverse its decision.
For the UN (New York and Geneva) and foreign ministry contacts of all states, including the nuclear weapon states, see http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/govcontacts/govindex.html
In addition, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged the DPRK to reconsider its decision http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=5839&Cr=korea&Cr1= and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei has urged the DPRK to reverse its decision, see below and http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=5838&Cr=korea&Cr1=
To send a letter to the DPRK representatives supporting these calls, write or fax to:
New York Permanent Mission - Ambassador: Mr. H.E. Pak Gil Yon and / or Disarmament Counsellor: Mr. Jon Yong Ryong, 820 Second Avenue, 13th Floor New York, NY 10017 Ph. (212) 972- 3105 Fax. (212) 972-3154
Geneva Permanent Mission - Ambassador: Ri Tcheul 1, and / or Disarmament Counsellor: Tong-Hyong Park, Chemin de Plonjon 1207 Geneva Switzerland Ph: +41 22 735 4370 Fax: +41 22 786 0662 Email: email@example.com
Foreign Ministry on Disarmament - Foreign Minister: Nansun Paek Ministry of Foreign Affairs PO Box # 44 Jung song-dong, Central District Pyong Yang, DPRK Ph: + 82 3 720 2687 Fax: + 82 2 730 5076
Below are additional articles and links on this issue.
IAEA Director General calls on North Korea to reverse its decision on NPT withdrawal http://www.iaea.org/worldatom/Press/P_release/2003/prn0001.shtml
Security Council Notified of DPRK's Withdrawal From Nuclear Arms Accord http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=5840&Cr=korea&Cr1=
North Korea Says It Is Withdrawing from Arms Treaty http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/10/international/asia/10SEOU.html
North Korea Condemned for Withdrawing from Arms Treaty http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/10/international/10CND_KORE.html
North Korea Opens Unofficial Channel for U.S. Talks http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/10/international/asia/10KORE.html
North Korea Quits Nuclear Arms Treaty http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A35614-2003Jan9.html
Japan and Russia alarmed over N Korea move http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1039524394033&p=1012571727088
DPR of Korea has just weeks to comply with resolution, IAEA says http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=5814&Cr=korea&Cr1=
Text of IAEA Resolution (6 January 2003) http://www.iaea.org/worldatom/Press/P_release/2003/med-advise_004.shtml
IAEA and DPRK (including fact sheets and resources) http://www.iaea.org/worldatom/Press/Focus/IaeaDprk/index.shtml