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.

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Reducing Nuclear Dangers on the Korean Peninsula:
Bilateral versus Multilateral Approaches

Thomas Graham, former US Ambassador,
Executive Chairman, Lightbridge Corporation

PSNA Working Paper Series (PSNA-WP-6)
April 9, 2019


This paper addresses the important issue of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. It reviews alternate solutions: an essentially bilateral solution with the United States as an associated party and a multilateral regime establishing a nuclear weapon free zone in a designated part of Northeast Asia which would include the militarily significant states in the region along with the NPT nuclear weapon states as associated parties. The effectiveness of a non-binding pledge versus a legally binding agreement and the possible availability of a nuclear assurance commitment itself a non-binding declaration or a legally binding obligation is analyzed. The verification requirements of a legally binding arrangement are outlined and associated issues such as transit through the zone established by an agreed arrangement are considered. The political salience of the two types of solutions, bilateral and multilateral is commented upon: for example what has the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea [DPRK] indicated it would accept and the likelihood that the DPRK is now prepared to be, or can be, persuaded to make the hard decision to eliminate weapons and accede to the vast verification requirements of a legally binding regime; and whether the United States would be willing to provide a negative nuclear assurance of any sort in a bilateral non-binding agreement situation as well as the level of verification it might demand in a legally binding agreement.

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Prof. Fumihiko Yoshida has been appointed as the new director of RECNA. The former director, Prof. Tatsujiro Suzuki, will act as the vice director from April. We appreciate your continued support and cooperation.

New Director’s Greeting “OUR MISSION” was posted and “RECNA staff” page was renewed. Please see the following page for more information.


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Dispatches from Nagasaki No.27

The notice of withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty – Statement from an atomic-bombed city

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RECNA Newsletter Vol.7 No.4 (March 31, 2019)

Newsletter Vol.7 No.4 _ On Wednesday, January 9, 2019, the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies (IPUS) at Seoul National University and RECNA held a signing ceremony of the renewed Memorandum of Cooperation and a press conference at RECNA.
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