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127 5 THE CHALLENGE OF NORTH KOREA AND IRAN North Korea and Iran now top the list of states deemed a thorn in the side of the international community and of the United States in particular. The most serious issue is their relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons, as well as of a delivery capability that makes them a regional threat and, with the development of long-range rocketry, dangerous on an extended scale. A critical test of the value of positive inducements must involve their applicability to particularly stark threats, so this chapter will evaluate the circumstances under which they could discourage the most threatening aspects of Tehran’s and Pyongyang’s policies, either via possibilities for mutually desirable quid pro quos or through beneficial catalytic effects. The North Korean Challenge The North Korean experience demonstrates, once again, (1) the relative inefficacy of threats and punishments as methods of modifying the behavior of objectionable regimes; and (2) that positive inducements work best when the regime’s domestic standing is, or seems likely to be, undermined and where inducements can help deal with its problems. At the same time, it illustrates the difficulties encountered by U.S. policymakers seeking to forge paths in North Korea policy. Evidence Relating to the Exchange Model The evidence, in this regard, is stark: almost all progress toward curbing North Korea’s nuclear programs has stemmed from positive inducements in the context 128 THE LOGIC OF POSITIVE ENGAGEMENT of finite but mutually beneficial quid pro quos; threats and sanctions, typically, have pushed the regime closer to a full nuclear weapons capability. THE FIRST QUID PRO QUO AND ITS POLITICAL CONTEXT Early grounds for optimism rested on the 1994 Agreed Framework, which, if bilaterally implemented, might have ended the nuclear programs of greatest concern to the United States. Pyongyang promised to freeze operation and construction of its two graphite-moderated reactors, which could produce weapons-grade plutonium, and of its plutonium reprocessing facility, which was suspected of being part of a covert nuclear weapons program. In exchange, North Korea was to receive two proliferation-resistant light water reactors (LWRs), furnished by an international consortium called the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), the initial members of which were the United States, Japan, and South Korea. Pending delivery of the LWRs, the United States would supply North Korea with 500,000 tons of heavy fuel annually to compensate for lost energy production. North Korea promised to rejoin the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (from which it had withdrawn in March of that year) and accept IAEA inspections of areas of potential nuclear activity. Both sides pledged not to nuclearize the Korean Peninsula, thus addressing Pyongyang’s concern about the possible reintroduction of nuclear weapons into South Korea.1 The two countries further agreed to move toward normalized political and economic relations, and several additional North Korean concessions followed. On October 6, 2000, the United States and North Korea issued a joint statement declaring that “international terrorism poses an unacceptable threat to global security and peace, and that terrorism should be opposed in all its forms” (U.S. Department of State, Office of the Spokesman 2000). In 2001 Pyongyang indicated it would ratify the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression and Financing of Terrorism (BBC World News 2001b). There also were welcome moves with regard to missile systems. North Korea had obtained tactical missiles from the USSR as early as 1969 and subsequently embarked on its own program of SCUD-based missile development. This yielded a variety of short-range missiles (capable of striking most areas within South Korea) as well as a mediumrange missile (the Nodong) with a 1,000 km range, while a two-stage missile (Taepodong-1) with a 2,200 km range was tested in 1998 with a flight over Japan. This missile was improved to yield the Taepodong-2, with a range of between 5,000 and 6,000 km. In 1999, however, North Korea agreed to a moratorium on further missile testing. 1. The United States had formally removed all of its nuclear weapons from South Korea in 1991. THE CHALLENGE OF NORTH KOREA AND IRAN 129 In an unfolding of the exchange logic, President Clinton, in September 1999, rewarded the missile-testing freeze with an easing of economic sanctions.2 New levels of cooperation now seemed possible. In 1999 Washington worried that an underground site at Kumchang-ri might be used to revive the dormant nuclear program: the regime consented to U.S. inspections...


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