KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 UN Security Council:Nuclear Weapons in North Korea
KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 UN Security Council: “Nuclear Weapons in North-Korea” 1Table of ContentsTopic introduction ................................................................................................ 2Brief country history.............................................................................................. 3Weapons of Mass Destruction ................................................................................... 5Current situation .................................................................................................. 7Further reading .................................................................................................... 8
KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 UN Security Council: “Nuclear Weapons in North-Korea” 2Topic introductionIn October of 2006, the Democratic People’s Republic of North Koreajoined the ranks of the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France,China, Israel, India and Pakistan when it successfully tested its firstnuclear weapon. It is an anomaly on the list – in a group comprised mostlyof the world’s wealthiest and most influential states, the DPRK stands outas the only member to have recently suffered from a nationwide famine,the only member to separate its economy totally from the rest of theworld, and the only member to shroud all government action in totalsecrecy. However, with another round of weapons testing in 2009, noseeming interest in dismantling its nuclear program, a very effectivecounterintelligence program, and infamously unpredictable foreignpolicy, it is not a country to be ignored. Though its ascent to prominencemay have been bizarre and the nature of its power unprecedented, NorthKorea now represents a legitimate and alarming threat to peace. Mostattempts to reconcile the situation diplomatically have faltered, but thatdoes not mean that all hope is lost. The DPRK is currently engaged in aperiod of transition – ruler Kim Jong Il being gone, his son Kim Jong Un istrying to consolidate his inherited power into effective control over thestate apparatus, and with the upcoming centenary of the birth of thecountry’s first President, Kim Il Sung, Pyongyang has pledged to placereinvigorated focus on economic development. These shifts couldrepresent only nominal gestures, but could also be genuine opportunitiesto use international diplomatic leverage to reverse the state’s nuclearambitions, and perhaps even bring it into the international fold. Theobligation is on you as delegates to take full advantage of the presentsituation.
KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 UN Security Council: “Nuclear Weapons in North-Korea” 3Brief country historyThe Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was born of several decadesof abused, vague and frequently redefined sovereignty. After spendingcenturies operating as a united and independent Kingdom, Korea fellunder Japanese occupation in 1905, when it was used for strategicpositioning in the Russo-Japanese war. Five years after that, Japanstrengthened its hold and formally annexed the entire peninsula, an erathat ended with Japan’s defeat at the end of World War II.Following the end of the war, the allied powers split Korea into North andSouth, with the USSR placing a communist regime in charge of allterritories north of the 38th parallel, and the United States handling theSouth. This was in line with the plans that the powers had made twoyears previous, when they released the Cairo Declaration, pledgingindependence “in due course.” Neither occupying power permitted fullindependence for a time, with the Soviet Union allowing only communistrule, and the United States asserting the certitude of militarygovernment. Eventually, in 1948, the South and the North issued theirown constitutions and proclaimed themselves the Republic of Korea (ROK)and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), respectively. Inthe meantime, various attempts at unification of the two Koreas flailedand floundered.The situation was further complemented by the international significanceof the divide – the United States still had considerable military presencein the south, and the Soviet Union refused to accept the legitimacy of theROK, declaring the North to be the only valid government on thepeninsula. However, the balance of power shifted between 1948 and1950, with America withdrawing troops from the ROK while the SovietUnion provided heavy assistance for the People’s Army of the DPRK.The result was that when the north declared war, it relished in a series ofdecisive victories, and took Seoul quickly, decimating much of the ROK’sarmy. Tables turned with the entrance of the United States, and againwith that of China. Eventually millions of foreign troops had becomeembroiled in the war, and the brief conflict proved very costly. Aceasefire was negotiated in 1951, with an armistice following two yearslater. This solidified the segregation of Korea into two states, and marksthe start of the present era of Korean sovereignty.Kim Il Sung, who had been placed in power several years earlier,continued to preside as the ruler of the DPRK. The 1950s and 60switnessed the cultivation of North Korea’s policies of extremeisolationism, as Kim scaled back his allegiances to Beijing and Moscow,and directed his government’s attention inwards. What followed were aseries of major economic failures and an ambitious prioritization of thedevelopment of heavy industry and other military technologies at greatcost to quality of living. Population skyrocketed, increasing threefold be-tween 1953 and 1993, which compounded resource scarcity in leading to
KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 UN Security Council: “Nuclear Weapons in North-Korea” 4major food shortages. Political oppression abounded, and borders wereclosed for all intensive purposes.At the same time, changes in the international political landscapenecessitated that the DPRK ease some policies. Where it had once beenable to depend solely on the USSR and the PRC, the downfall of theformer and the advent of diplomatic relations between the latter and theROK weakened Kim’s ability to hold out on some fronts. Most notably,North Korea had to accept its southern neighbor’s right to join the UnitedNations. This spurred a kick-start in diplomatic ties that reversed as soonas Seoul received word of Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. Towards theend of his rein, Kim Il Sung groomed Son Jong Il to inherit his near-totalcontrol of the government. When Sung died in 1994, Jong Il assumedpower and has remained in office until his death of illness in December2011. He has presided over a country plagued by many serious issues andhas adhered to most of the doctrines set in place by his father. Inaddition to the nuclear dilemma detailed below, Kim’s Korea has alsocome under heavy international criticism for human rights abuses, andhas suffered from chronic and widespread malnutrition and a very lowstandard of living.
KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 UN Security Council: “Nuclear Weapons in North-Korea” 5Weapons of Mass DestructionIn the aftermath of the Korean War, serious security concerns began totake hold of then-leader Kim Il Sung, and at this time he kicked off thecountry’s first serious nuclear ambitions. Having learned than Gen.Douglas MacArthur had considered a nuclear attack on against his country,and perturbed by the strengthening American presence in the region aswell as the thawing relations between neighbors Japan and the Republicof Korea, Kim concluded that his country needed a nuclear deterrent.He turned first to ideological allies Russia and China, but neither powersaw the situation with the same urgency as Kim. As the politics ofparanoia descended on Pyongyang and the era of isolationism began, theDPRK accelerated efforts to develop their own nuclear technology.However, it took several decades to actualize these ambitions – decadesriddled with diplomatic failures on behalf of the rest of the world toprevent such an outcome.After testing missile delivery systems that could conceivably be used todeliver nuclear payloads throughout the 1990s and 2000s, North Koreaconducted its first nuclear test in 2006, quickly proclaiming itself anuclear power. Following a flurry of diplomatic fervor, heightenedsanctions and near-universal condemnation, Pyongyang’s nuclear feverlulled for a few years before having a resurgence in April of 2009, whenscientists detonated a second, more powerful device. This met with morecondemnations and sanctions that seem to have had no visible effect.Reactors in the DPRK remain operational, and Robert Gates recentlywarned that the country might be only a few years away from compactingtheir weaponry such that it could be used to strike the United States.However, as schizophrenic as North Korean foreign policy can be, theseevents did not come out of nowhere. For quite some time, North Korea’snuclear plans were among the worst kept secrets in international politics.As early as the 1980s, American satellites observed the construction ofreactors, and by the 1990s the CIA hypothesized that the DPRK mightalready have a warhead or two at their disposal. While the exactlocations and status of specific reactors was often kept secret, Pyongyanghas on many occasions stated its interests in establishing itself as asuperpower with the capabilities of nuclear warfare, and their weapontests have been quite public. The ease with which news of their nuclearprogress has been disseminated has triggered widespread speculation thatKim wants to use their potential arsenal to command the attention of therest of world and as a bar- gaining chip in negotiations with other states,notably America. It is worth noting that since the fall of the Soviet Union,the DPRK has attempted, with varying subtlety, to cultivate a relationshipwith the US, but that these efforts have been largely rebuffed. Policy inWashington D.C. towards Pyongyang has vacillated considerably betweenadministrations, but could never be described as friendly. The mostnotable progress occurred in 1994 when the Clinton administrationbrokered a pact to halt the development of nuclear technology, but thiswas voided less than a decade later under President Bush.
KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 UN Security Council: “Nuclear Weapons in North-Korea” 6Most if not all UN efforts to mitigate the situation have gone unheeded,or worse, provoked Pyongyang to cause more public mayhem. Six-partytalks (featuring the PRC, Russia, Japan, South Korea and the US) havearguably proved the most fruitful, though almost all diplomacy has metwith tepid responses at best.
KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 UN Security Council: “Nuclear Weapons in North-Korea” 7Current situationSeen in context, the DPRK’s nuclear scare is just another facet of itseccentric international personality and series of national insecurities. Anuclear stockpile represents an eccentricity that poses considerably morethreat to the rest of the world than Pyongyang’s other garish orclandestine decisions, and as such it must be dealt with seriously anddelicately. However, it is still important to take into account the singularcharacter and narrative of the DPRK when discussing potential solutionsto the nuclear dilemma. North Korea has shown itself to be a highlyunusual state with highly unusual interests and motives. As such, it shouldnot come as a surprise that the usual responses of sanctions andcondemnations have failed to elicit the desired results.Attempts to reason with Pyongyang diplomatically, by the UN and otheractors, have been almost as inconsistent as Pyongyang’s own behavior,and have in retrospect often been fundamentally misguided. What asound policy will entail is up to you as delegates to determine, but thepast two decades have provided a plethora of examples of what not todo.Thus, we encourage you to be creative. For a number of reasons, we maybe looking over the precipice at a new era in North Korean history, whichmerits a new type of solution. In this session, the UNSC has beenentrusted with the responsibility of addressing what could be the greatestthreat to world peace since the Cold War, and your decisions could pavethe path of integration to the global community, spurn another twentyyears of deadlock, or provoke nearly unprecedented internationalcalamity.
KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 UN Security Council: “Nuclear Weapons in North-Korea” 8Further readingNorth Korea’s Nuclear Program. The New York Times. 25 July 2011.<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/northkorea/ nuclear_program/index.html>Nuclear Weapons Program. FAS. 16 November 2006.<http://www.fas.org/ nuke/guide/dprk/nuke/index.html>Q&A: North Korea Nuclear Talks. BBC World News. 20 December 2010.<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11813699>North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program. CRS Report for Congress. 25Octo- ber 2006.<http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/74904.pdf>North Korea. CIA World Factbook. 16 August 2011. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/kn.html>South Korea. CIA World Factbook. 16 August 2011. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ks.html>North Korea. Encyclopedia Brittanica. <http://www.britannica.com/EB-checked/topic/322222/North-Korea>Korea. Encyclopedia Brittanica.<http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/top- ic/693609/Korea>North Korea Missile Tests Defy UN. BBC World News. 4 July 2009. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8134115.stm>North Korea: Return of the Nukes. RT. 26 April 2009.<http://rt.com/usa/news/north-korea-return-of-the-nukes>N. Korea Says it Has Restarted Nuclear Facilities. Fox News. 25 April 2009.<http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,517875,00.html>N. Korea Conducts Powerful Nuclear Test, Reportedly Fires Short-RangeMissiles. Fox News. 25 May 2009. http://www.foxnews.com/sto-ry/0,2933,521617,00.html