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23 Foreword North Korea’s nuclear weapons test of October 9, 2006 gravely escalated the long-running international crisis surrounding its nuclear program, exacerbated fears of a nuclear arms race in Northeast Asia, and severely challenged the global norm of nonproliferation enshrined in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Following the test, the United States reaffirmed its security commitments in the region, and the United Nations passed unprecedented sanctions to prevent the shipment of dualuse materials and technologies to or from North Korea, as well as a ban on luxury goods. Despite differing interpretations of enforcement responsibilities, the sanctions demonstrated rare international resolve to condemn a violation of nonproliferation obligations. Then, on February 12, 2007, following secret U.S. negotiations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), representatives to the six-party talks produced a surprise joint agreement on a roadmap for the eventual denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Although the February breakthrough provides some grounds for optimism, North Korea’s track record of commitment to negotiated agreements and its nuclear behavior suggest skepticism is still very much in order. The recent events in North Korea are but one of many instances where the international community has failed to confront clearly and forcefully the proliferation of nuclear materials and technologies. Libya’s decision to verifiably disarm is a notable exception, but this small success story has been overshadowed by the North Korea case, as well as by Iran’s continuing assertion of its “rights” under the NPT to pursue the full nuclear fuel cycle for (supposedly) peaceful use. Indeed, there has long been debate over the usefulness of the NPT, and key states have often been either unable or unwilling to intervene under its provisions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. To address the complex issues related to nuclear proliferation in Asia, The National Bureau of Asian Research, with support from the National Nuclear Security Administration at the Department of Energy, organized a one-day workshop in Washington, D.C. in December 2006 to explore the implications of the spread of nuclear weapons in North Korea and Iran for regional security, the global nonproliferation regime, and U.S. nonproliferation policy. The papers featured in this volume of NBR Analysis, written by former officials from the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, Gary Samore and Mitchell Reiss, emerged from the workshop. Gary Samore, currently Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair at the Council on Foreign Relations, and formerly director of nonproliferation and export controls at the National Security Council, challenges the contention that the weakness of the global nonproliferation regime stems from legal shortcomings in the NPT. He argues, rather, that the lack of political will among the great powers to enforce existing agreements is eroding the regime and its intent. He acknowledges that further proliferation is likely, but maintains that the presence of political barriers in Northeast Asia and technical barriers in Southwest Asia should curb the further spread of nuclear weapons in each region. He argues that U.S. policy should focus on these political and technical barriers to prevent further proliferation. Mitchell Reiss, former director of policy planning at the U.S. Department of State and currently Vice Provost for International Affairs at the College of William and Mary, proposes that the United States lead efforts to strengthen nonproliferation norms by reaffirming the original intent of the NPT through a program he labels “Atoms for Peace 2.0.” Such a program would be founded on the sharing of scientific knowledge, technical expertise, and nuclear technology for peaceful purposes under the auspices of an expanded IAEA technical assistance budget. With their distinguished government service and their continued involvement on nonproliferation issues, Samore and Reiss challenge conventional thinking on recent developments in the nuclear arena and offer innovative insights and strategies for addressing them. These essays are essential reading. Richard J. Ellings President The National Bureau of Asian Research ...


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