Korean Peninsula

North Korea’s evolving nuclear arsenal presents a complex security challenge. What can states and international organizations do to reduce immediate nuclear risks while planning for a longer term disarmament process?

    The End of “WMD”

    Words matter. When Deadly Arsenals hits the streets on July 12 (just slightly ahead of the new Harry Potter book) it will no longer use the expression “weapons of mass destruction.” The phrase confuses officials, befuddles the public, and justifies policies that more precise language and more accurate assessments would not support.

    Collective Wisdom

    • Joshua Williams
    • June 28, 2005

    On June 27, the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, an extension of the 9/11 Commission, heard urgent testimony from three of America’s top proliferation experts. Convening in Washington, D.C., former Senator Sam Nunn, Harvard University’s Ashton Carter, and Monterrey Institute Deputy Director Leonard Spector made independent but complementary recommendations on how to better protect the United States from the threats of a nuclear terrorist attack and the global spread of nuclear weapons.

    Responding to the testimony, Carnegie Endowment Director for Non-Proliferation Joseph Cirincione said, "If we would implement these recommendations over the next four years, America would be far safer than we have been in the four years since 9/11." The proposals made by these experts parallel many of the policies detailed in the recent Carnegie study, Universal Compliance. A summary of their recommendations follows. (Read More)

    Talk Now, Talk Fast on North Korea

    There are signs that the Six Party talks between the United States, North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia on North Korea’s nuclear program could soon resume. But holding talks while North Korea continues to expand its nuclear capabilities is like negotiating with a gun to your head.

    Failure in New York

    The 2005 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference was a disaster. It was a major missed opportunity for the United States to advance either the agenda of the Bush administration or the broader agenda against the spread of nuclear weapons. It was demoralizing for almost all of the top nonproliferation officials from around the world who had gathered for this unique conclave. (Read More)

    A Meeting of the People, but not the Minds

    North Korea: The War Game

    • Scott Stossel
    • June 01, 2005
    • Atlantic

    Jessica Mathews plays director of national intelligence in Atlantic-sponsored war game.

    Nuclear Regime in Peril

    Estimates of North Korea’s Possible Nuclear Stockpile

    North Korea’s state controlled media claimed on May 11 the country had completed removal of 8,000 fuel rods from its 5 megawatt plutonium production reactor at Yongbyon. Estimates by the Institute for Science and International Security suggest the fuel elements contain between 12 and 19 kilograms of plutonium. These fuel elements will have to cool for an unknown period of time in the fuel storage pond located next to the reactor building. It is estimated that within 2-3 months, the fuel could be processed and the weapon-usable plutonium made ready for production of nuclear weapons. There is no conclusive evidence that North Korea possesses any nuclear weapons, but U.S. officials assume they have produced an unknown number of nuclear devices. (Read More)

    North Korean Conundrums

    Despite reports that North Korea may be preparing to conduct a nuclear test and may soon have access to another four weapons worth of plutonium, North Korea’s nuclear capabilities and intentions remain unclear. The known facts, however, are disturbing enough to confirm that current efforts to stop North Korea’s nuclear program have failed.

    Earlier this year, on February 10, North Korea declared definitively that it had nuclear weapons. While not supported by new evidence, the Foreign Ministry statement enhanced the perception that North Korea is a nuclear weapon state. While responsible leaders have to assume North Korea has enough nuclear material to make a weapon, there is no clear evidence that it has produced such weapons or can deliver them reliably. (Read More)

    When is a Crisis Really a Crisis?

    North Korea has taken a series of actions in the past few months that in normal times would have provoked a major international crisis. Yet, the Bush administration is unconcerned about these moves that directly threaten American security and the security of key US allies South Korea and Japan. The U.S. now appears resigned to the fact that North Korea has the ability to make nuclear weapons and is not prepared to take coercive steps or otherwise to prevent it from consolidating its status as a nuclear weapon state.

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