Verification of DPRK Nuclear Disarmament: The Pros and Cons of Non-Nuclear-Weapon States (Specifically, the ROK) Participation in This Verification Program
John Carlson, A Member of Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear non-proliferation and Disarmament (APLN)
PSNA Working Paper Series (PSNA-WP-7)
May 20, 2019
In the expert and diplomatic communities, it is generally considered that disarmament verification should be undertaken as far as possible on a multilateral basis. Partly this reflects experience with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s safeguards system, and partly it reflects the view of non-nuclear-weapon states that international participation is required to ensure transparency and credibility in the disarmament process. The main argument against this is proliferation risk from the diffusion of proliferation-sensitive information. However, a number of aspects of disarmament verification will not involve sensitive information, and where sensitive information is involved there are ways of enabling effective verification while protecting such information.
As yet no specific details have been negotiated on how nuclear disarmament in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will proceed, and how this will be verified. Whatever is negotiated, the international community will certainly want assurance of the integrity of the verification process. In particular, the ROK has a very direct interest in what is happening across the DMZ and has every reason to be involved in the disarmament effort. This paper discusses how this can be possible consistent with non-proliferation principles.