General Overview -
The International Community in 1995
Situation in North Korea
Developments in the North Korean situation need continued and careful observation. Secretary Kim Jong Il has not assumed the post of President nor that of General-Secretary of the Workers' Party, and there is still no clear indication as to when he will assume these posts. However, it is generally believed that Secretary Kim is in control of the overall national policy. As for its economy, North Korea seems to be facing serious food and energy shortages. While there are some movements to attract foreign investment, reform of the domestic economy is still rejected. In the summer of 1995, heavy rain caused flood damage, and North Korea requested the assistance of United Nations organizations and the international community in general.
In its external relations, North Korea seems to attach importance to the improvement of its relations with the United States. At the same time, it repeatedly directs strong criticism at the Republic of Korea and has not indicated a forward-looking approach toward improving North-South relations. For the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, it is necessary that North Korea further open itself to and participate in the international community, and that North-South relations improve. Close cooperation among Japan, the United States and the Republic of Korea is needed to achieve this. In November 1995, the Foreign Ministers of Japan, the United States and the Republic of Korea held a meeting and agreed to maintain close consultations among the three countries on the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Following that, in January 1996, the first meeting of the Japan-US-ROK trilateral consultations was held at the senior-official level.
As a result of the visit to North Korea by a delegation of the coalition parties of Japan in March 1995, a path was cleared toward resumption of the negotiations for the normalization of relations between Japan and North Korea which had been suspended since 1992. However, the resumption is yet to occur. Japan's policy toward North Korea takes into consideration two aspects: to rectify the anomalous relations between Japan and North Korea after World War II; and to contribute to the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Japan intends to continue to deal with the matter in close contact with the Republic of Korea and other countries concerned.
In May, North Korea, which was facing a food shortage, requested Japan to provide rice assistance. In response, Japan, based on the fact that it could utilize the stock of emergency imported rice, decided to proceed with the assistance from a humanitarian point of view. With a guarantee from North Korea that the rice would be used appropriately and only for civilian consumption, it was confirmed in June between Japan and North Korea that Japan would provide a total of 300,000 tons of rice assistance - 150,000 tons on a deferred-payment basis, and 150,000 tons as a grant through the Japanese Red Cross Society to the North Korean Red Cross Society. At that time, confirmation was also made to the effect that Japan was prepared to discuss additional deferred-payment exports, as necessary, to the extent of the availability of stock of emergency imported rice. Based on this, it was confirmed in October that additional rice assistance of 200,000 tons would be provided on a deferred-payment basis. Furthermore, Japan made a financial contribution of US$500,000 in response to requests from the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs (UNDHA) and other United Nations organizations, in order to assist North Korea subsequent to its flood damage.
There has been no change, however, in Japan's policy that its economic assistance to North Korea has to be preceded by the successful conclusion of the negotiations for the normalization of relations. The above-mentioned assistance was provided as a special and exceptional measure based on the consideration of a humanitarian viewpoint.
A path has been laid toward solving the issue of nuclear weapons development in North Korea through the Agreed Framework between the United States and North Korea in October 1994. Under this Framework, North Korea agreed that it would accept the measures which are considered necessary by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify its past nuclear activities. North Korea also agreed that it would freeze and eventually dismantle its graphite-moderated reactors and related facilities, in return for the provision of light-water reactor plants and interim energy alternatives until the completion of the first light-water reactor.
Efforts were made during 1995 for the steady implementation of the Agreed Framework. In March, the Agreement on the Establishment of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) was signed by Japan, the United States and the Republic of Korea, the three original members. Thus, KEDO was formally established as the international organization charged with implementing the provision of the light-water reactors and other measures outlined above. Aiming to guarantee the fulfilment by North Korea of its obligations under the Agreed Framework, KEDO will: 1) provide for the financing and supply of a light-water reactor project (LWR Project) through which two nuclear reactors of the South Korean type will be transferred to North Korea; 2) provide interim energy alternatives in lieu of the energy from North Korea's graphite-moderated reactors; and 3) take other steps deemed necessary to accomplish the above mentioned objectives, and the objectives of the Agreed Framework. Subsequently, in the Joint Press Statement in June made by the United States and North Korea in Kuala Lumpur, North Korea accepted in principle the basic elements of the LWR Project: 1) that a reactor of the Korean standard nuclear plant model would be supplied; and 2) the Republic of Korea would play a central role in the implementation of the LWR Project. Consequently, in September, negotiations began between KEDO and North Korea on an agreement for the supply of the LWR Project. As a result of negotiations that lasted for more than two months, the Agreement Between the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization and North Korea on Supply of a Light-Water Reactor Project was concluded on 15 December. This Agreement lays out the basic matters concerning the LWR Project, including the scope of supply and terms and conditions of repayment. The details of the implementation of this Agreement are expected to be elaborated in future consultations. The conclusion of this Agreement is the result of the close cooperation and continued efforts of Japan, the United States, the Republic of Korea and the Secretariat of KEDO, and represents major progress in the implementation of the Agreed Framework.
It is hoped that North Korea will continue to cooperate with KEDO and will take a constructive approach to the steady and smooth implementation of the Agreed Framework, including the LWR Project, that the issue of nuclear weapons development in North Korea can be resolved, and that real dialogue between the Republic of Korea and North Korea will develop through the process of implementing the LWR Project.
The issue of nuclear weapons development in North Korea is a matter of grave concern for the security of Northeast Asia, including Japan, and at the same time, a global issue with significance for the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and international security. From this perspective, support for the Agreed Framework was expressed at the Halifax G-7 Summit held in June and confirmation was made to the effect that, "The support of the international community can be made inter alia through participation in the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization." Thirty-two countries, including Japan, the United States and the Republic of Korea, were present, along with the European Union, at the First General Conference of KEDO held in August, and many countries expressed their support for the Agreed Framework and for KEDO. This fact shows that the entire international community is tackling the issue of nuclear weapons development in North Korea. It is essential that further cooperation with KEDO, including financial contributions, be promoted among the countries of Asia and Europe as well as in the entire international community.
Japan has been playing an important role, together with the United States and the Republic of Korea, in ensuring the implementation of the Agreed Framework. Specifically, as a member of the Executive Board of KEDO, along with the United States and the Republic of Korea, Japan has been actively participating in the decision-making processes of policies concerning the operation of KEDO, and has been contributing personnel by dispatching the Deputy Executive Director of the Secretariat of KEDO, as well as policy staff members and nuclear power experts. With respect to financial contributions, Japan disbursed US$3 million for site survey expenses and US$2.8 million for the cost of operating the Secretariat when KEDO was established. In addition, Japan has expressed its intention to play a significant financial role in the LWR Project under an overall project scheme. Japan intends to continue to actively cooperate with KEDO in order to ensure the smooth implementation of the Agreed Framework, in close coordination with the United States, the Republic of Korea and other countries concerned.
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