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☞ Issue 115
글씨크기 크게 글씨크기 작게 기사 메일전송 기사 출력
Six-party talks focus on verification and monitoring

System for monitoring N. Korea’s nuclear activities in the future to be established

관리자 (2008/07/14 00:54)  

The nations involved in the six-party talks prepared a set of guidelines for the establishment of a verification system and monitoring mechanism in meetings on July 10 and 11. Pyongyang and Washington have agreed, in principle, on a framework for establishing the verification system and plan to start the verification process before August 11, when the United States officially removes North Korea from its list of terrorism-sponsoring states.

As U.S. chief negotiator Christopher Hill has repeatedly stressed, a key goal of this round of six-party talks is preparation of a concrete plan for verifying the details of the North’s nuclear declaration. Hill said on July 10 that participants in a working-group meeting that is part of this round of talks will work out some of the more complicated technical problems related to verification.

Hill also remarked that all six countries will participate in the verification process, however it remains to be seen whether the International Atomic Energy Agency will participate as well.

Hill also said that the process of verification will be carried out through visits to the North’s nuclear site, interviews with personnel and confirmation of related documents. The working-group still needs to discuss from when and from which facility the verification will begin, as well as the issue of costs.

However, the North has reportedly not agreed to a U.S. plan to conduct on-site inspections of the nuclear facility within a 24-day notification period.

Hill and his South Korean counterpart, Kim Sook, emphasized that preparing the verification plan will not be easy. As Hill has said in the past, “the devil is in the details.”

It is meaningful to note that the six countries have agreed to take a two-pronged approach to this phase of the denuclearization process by establishing a system for verification and a mechanism for monitoring to clarify suspicions about the North’s past nuclear activities.

The verification system will be focused on confirming the completeness and accuracy of the North’s declaration with regard to the amount of plutonium it has in its possession. The monitoring mechanism is aimed at putting a fixed system for monitoring into place to ease concerns related to the North’s uranium-enrichment program and suspected nuclear cooperation with third countries and is focused on present and future activities, rather than on what the North has done in the past.

The two-pronged approach grew out of an agreement reached by Pyongyang and Washington in Singapore on April 8. Unlike the North’s production of plutonium, whose existence is acknowledged by both the North and the United States, the two countries differ on the existence of highly-enriched uranium being produced by the North and the North’s proliferation activities.

The establishment of a system for monitoring the North’s activities, in particular, seems to be a strategic attempt to ease tensions via diplomatic compromise and block nuclear activity by North Korea in the future, rather than a resolution of the nuclear issue that continues to focus on past activities.
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