PROBLEM: any NNWS to manufacture or otherwise acquire

PROBLEM:

The North Koreans continues to threaten the United States
and in response the United States works to isolate North Korea, but Russia and
China prove to be obstacles in this task.

SOLUTION:

The US should work with like-minded countries that are
member states of the NPT and the UN to create a legal case against North Korea
and keeping in mind Russia and China’s past trends in negotiations to further
isolate North Korea.

BACKGROUND:

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
is a multilateral treaty aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons
including three elements: (1) non-proliferation, (2) disarmament, and (3)
peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Nonproliferation is addressed in Articles I, II, III of the
NPT: Nuclear weapon states are not to transfer to any recipient
whatsoever nuclear weapons and not to assist, encourage, or induce any NNWS to
manufacture or otherwise acquire them. Non-nuclear weapons states are
not to receive nuclear weapons from any transferor, and are not to manufacture
or acquire them. NNWS must accept the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) safeguards on all nuclear materials on their territories or
under their control.

There are three key events where one can see the turning
point that led to North Korea’s “withdrawal” of the NPT. It began when North
Korea signed onto the IAEA safeguards, but denied access to one of their
plants. North Korea signed onto the IAEA safeguards in the beginning of 1992, which
is seven years after they agreed to sign the NPT. Under the terms of the
agreement, North Korea provided an “initial declaration” of its
nuclear facilities and materials, and provided access for IAEA inspectors to
verify the completeness and correctness of its initial declaration. Six rounds
of inspections began in May 1992 and concluded in February 1993. Pyongyang’s
initial declaration included a small plutonium sample (less than 100 grams),
which North Korean officials said was reprocessed from damaged spent fuel rods
that were removed from the 5MW(e) reactor in Yongbyon-kun. However, IAEA
analysis indicated that Korean technicians had reprocessed plutonium on three
occasions—in 1989, 1990, and 1991. When the Agency requested access to two
suspect nuclear waste sites, North Korea declared them to be military sites and
therefore off-limits.

After the IAEA was denied access to North Korea’s suspect
waste sites in early 1993, the Agency asked the United Nations Security Council
(UNSC) to authorize special ad hoc inspections. In reaction, North Korea
announced its intention to withdraw from the NPT on March 12, 1993. Following
intense bilateral negotiations with the United States, North Korea announced it
was suspending its withdrawal from the NPT one day before the withdrawal was to
take effect. Pyongyang agreed to suspend its withdrawal while talks continued
with Washington, but claimed to have a special status in regard to its nuclear
safeguards commitments. Under this special status, North Korea agreed to allow
the continuity of safeguards on its present activities, but refused to allow
inspections that could verify past nuclear activities. Thus North Korea was
able to avoid one of their commitments to the NPT and continues to have never
fulfilled them today. This is the second key event when it comes to North
Korea’s relation with the NPT and it is the beginning of their “withdrawal.”

The IAEA verifies NNWS compliance with commitments under the
NPT not to acquire nuclear weapons. Article III requires NNWS to conclude
agreements with the IAEA to safeguard all nuclear materials in all peaceful
nuclear activities. Negotiation of such an agreement should begin immediately
after the NNWS’ accession to the NPT and enter into force within 18 months. In
case of non-compliance with IAEA safeguards, the IAEA Board of Governors (BOG)
calls upon the state to remedy the situation and reports the non-compliance to
the UN Security Council (UNSC) and UN General Assembly (UNGA). The BOG may also
impose specific penalties, such as curtailment or suspension of assistance,
return of materials, or suspension of privileges and rights. The UNSC may
impose sanctions and approve other measures. The IAEA BOG has found six states
in non-compliance with their safeguards agreements: Iraq, Romania, North Korea,
Libya, Iran, and Syria. There are no verification provisions for nuclear
disarmament commitments under the NPT.

This is the third key event, in where North Korea claims
that they are no longer part of the NPT deal. On 10 January 2003, announced
that it was ending the suspension of its previous NPT withdrawal notification.
North Korea said that only one more day’s notice was sufficient for withdrawal
from the NPT, as it had given 89 days before. The IAEA Board of Governors rejected
this interpretation. Most countries held that a new three-months withdrawal
notice was required, and some questioned whether North Korea’s notification met
the “extraordinary events” and “supreme interests”
requirements of the treaty. This is the first time that someone has tried to
withdraw from the NPT, thus there was no precedence set on how to handle a
reinterpretation of the deal or how to enforce harsher compliance with the
withdrawal clause. The Joint Statement of 19 September 2005 at the end of the
Fourth Round of the Six-Party Talks called for North Korea to
“return” to the NPT, implicitly acknowledging that it had withdrawn.

According to the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of
Treaties, a treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the
ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in
the light of its object and purpose. The context for the purpose of the
interpretation of a treaty shall comprise of an agreement made between all the
parties in connection with the treaty. A special meaning shall be given to a
term if it is established that the parties so intended.

Three consistencies can be seen in regards to China and
Russia and how they act towards nuclear proliferation. These three
consistencies are the values: sovereignty, no threat or use of force, and
economic ties. Traditionally, China has established or vetoed Security Council
Resolutions that could lead to the use of force or threaten principles of
sovereignty, noninterference and territorial integrity. However, in the Iran
Deal, China agreed to “secondary sanctions” where third-party actors would
receive sanctions for working with Iran, but not the country itself.

Russia, as well, in the past has sought to protect their
economic ties with countries and not impede on their sovereignty. In the case
of Iran, Russia stated that the IAEA is the only party to decide the direction
of Iran. When India executed a successful nuclear test, they aired on the side
of protecting their ties with India, because they wanted to make a pipeline to
India.

Russia also has a history of voting in the United Nations to
impose sanctions on North Korea in reaction to their nuclear testing. Keeping
with the consistency of economic values, Russia has Vladivostok located in the
Asia-Pacific region, a couple hundred miles away from North Korea’s nuclear and
missile sites. This is the headquarters of Russia’s Pacific fleet and a hub for
its energy trade. If there were any malfunctions from North Korea’s nuclear
tests then it could possibly contaminate Russia itself and effect this trading
post.

Russia has also been involved in talks to build gas
pipelines from Russia to South Korea through North Korea, providing another
economic value for Russia in the Korean peninsula. There have also been talks
to restore an old rail link that used to connect South Korea to the
Trans-Siberian. These two options would both generate transit fees, in foreign
currency, for Pyongyang.

Both China and Russia have had economic ties to North Korea.
However, with sanctions against North Korea the trade has been strained. As a
result Russia stepped in to be one of North Korea’s top jet fuel supplier. North
Korea’s biggest trading partners are China and Russia and without them North
Korea could not have enough power to even power one nuclear reactor, much less
the whole country. However, it is not the same vice-versa for Russia and China.

RECOMMENDATION:

1.) The US should recall UN and NPT members to the
violations that North Korea has committed with the NPT, 2.) The US should call for
a harsher standard of compliance with the NPT to set a future precedence, 3.) The
US should emphasize on using the consistencies seen with Russia and China when
it comes to pat negotiations, and 4.) The US should call for further isolation
of North Korea from all members of the NPT and UN by labelling it as a
law-breaker.