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"I want to thank the Arms Control Association … for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war."
– Senator Joe Biden
January 28, 2004
Press Releases

U.S., Ukraine Extend CTR Program

Craig Cerniello

THE UNITED STATES and Ukraine agreed in late July to extend their participation in the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program for another six years. This development came as Moscow and Kiev appeared to have finally reached a compromise on the disposition of a number of heavy bombers left on Ukrainian soil following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Created in November 1991 by former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), the CTR program assists the former Soviet Union with the destruction and dismantlement of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and supports efforts to prevent their proliferation. In October 1993, Washington and Kiev signed an "umbrella agreement" that established a legal framework upon which such activities could be carried out in Ukraine. Recognizing that this arrangement was set to expire next year, the United States and Ukraine agreed on July 31 to extend the CTR umbrella agreement until December 31, 2006. The United States renewed a similar agreement with Russia, the largest recipient of CTR aid, in mid-June. (See ACT, June 1999.)

During fiscal years (FY) 1992-1999, the United States provided a total of $2.7 billion in CTR assistance to the former Soviet Union, $569 million of which went exclusively for projects in Ukraine. The conference report to the FY 2000 defense authorization bill—completed on August 5 but not yet approved by President Clinton—contains $475.5 million in new funds for the program, including $41.8 million for the continued elimination of strategic nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

According to the January 1999 START I Memorandum of Understanding (the latest official data available), Ukraine possesses 44 SS-24 ICBMs, 25 Bear bombers and 18 Blackjack bombers. To comply with START I, which entered into force in 1994, Kiev must either destroy these weapons systems or remove them from accountability (e.g., by transferring the bombers to Russia or converting them so that they may no longer perform nuclear missions) by December 2001.

The CTR program has had impressive successes in Ukraine. It was instrumental in helping Ukraine become a nuclear-weapon-free state in June 1996, when the last of an estimated 1,900 strategic warheads inherited from the Soviet Union was safely returned to Russia. More recently, in February, CTR assistance enabled Kiev to complete the elimination of 130 Soviet-era SS-19 ICBMs, as required by START I. Specifically, Ukraine destroyed 111 missiles, 130 missile silos and 13 launch control centers; 19 missiles were returned to Russia.

Bombers for Gas

In a related development, Colonel General Anatoly Kornukov, commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force, said on August 19 that an agreement had been reached in principle under which Ukraine will transfer eight Blackjack bombers and two Bear bombers to Russia in September as a partial payment on its natural gas debt. Moscow believes that, with repairs and upgrades, these aircraft will be operational until 2015-2020.

Previous attempts by the sides to conclude a bomber deal fell apart, largely because of a disagreement over the price. Russia claims that Ukraine owes approximately $1.8 billion for past natural gas deliveries, while Kiev maintains that the debt is closer to $1 billion. The value assigned to each bomber under the deal remains unclear.

Clinton Signs Controversial NMD Legislation

Craig Cerniello

ON JULY 22, President Bill Clinton signed into law the highly contentious "National Missile Defense [NMD] Act of 1999," sponsored by Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS). Despite claims by some congressional Republicans that the United States is now obligated to field an NMD system, Clinton stated on July 23 that his signing of the legislation should not be interpreted as a final decision on deployment. Rather, he reiterated that the decision will be made next year based on four criteria: technological readiness, the maturity of the "rogue nation" ICBM threat, cost factors and arms control considerations.

The bill (H.R. 4) states, "It is the policy of the United States to deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective [NMD] system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized, or deliberate) with funding subject to the annual authorization of appropriations and the annual appropriation of funds for [NMD]." The legislation also says that "it is the policy of the United States to seek continued negotiated reductions in Russian nuclear forces."

Cochran, along with Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), initially introduced the NMD legislation in March 1998, but it twice failed to reach the Senate floor by one vote, first in May and again in September of that year. However, the July 1998 release of the Rumsfeld Commission report on the long-range missile threat to the United States, North Korea's subsequent test of the Taepo Dong-1 missile and Secretary of Defense William Cohen's January 1999 announcements on the restructuring of the U.S. NMD program gave congressional enthusiasts all the ammunition they needed to force a floor vote on the bill.

The Clinton administration opposed the original version of the legislation because it made NMD deployment contingent on just one factor: the effectiveness of the technology. After the adoption of two amendments on arms control and funding procedures, however, the White House dropped its veto threat and the legislation sailed through the Senate on March 17 by an overwhelming 97-3 margin. The House approved the amended bill on May 20 and it became law with Clinton's signature on July 22.

In his statement on H.R. 4, Clinton made clear that the United States is not obligated to deploy an NMD system today. "By specifying that any NMD deployment must be subject to the authorization and appropriations process, the legislation makes clear that no decision on deployment has been made. This interpretation, which is confirmed by the legislative record taken as a whole, is also required to avoid any possible impairment of my constitutional authorities," he wrote.

In deciding whether to deploy a limited NMD system in June 2000, Clinton stated that the United States will "review the results of flight tests and other developmental efforts, consider cost estimates, and evaluate the threat" and will also "review progress in achieving our arms control objectives, including negotiating any amendments to the ABM Treaty that may be required to accommodate a possible NMD deployment." The United States and Russia held "discussions" on the ABM Treaty and START III in Moscow August 17-19.

U.S., Russia to Begin 'Discussions' on START III, ABM Treaty

Craig Cerniello

HOPING TO RESTART their interrupted strategic dialogue, the United States and Russia held face-to-face meetings in June at the Group of Eight summit in Cologne, Germany. During talks, both sides agreed to press for ratification of START II and to hold dual-track "discussions" later this summer on both START III and possible amendments to the ABM Treaty that would allow deployment of a limited national missile defense (NMD) system. The Clinton administration is expected to make an NMD architecture decision in the coming months so that it can determine what specific treaty amendments deployment would require. However, a decision on whether to deploy an NMD system will not be made until June 2000.

Although no major breakthroughs on arms control were achieved at the June 18-20 summit, the "Joint Statement Between the United States and the Russian Federation Concerning Strategic Offensive and Defensive Arms and Further Strengthening of Stability" (see document) is significant because it indicates that both nations are now prepared to resume an agenda that had been essentially frozen during the 78 days of NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia.

In their June 20 statement, the United States and Russia reiterated their strong commitment to the START II ratification process. Although the Senate gave its advice and consent in January 1996, the Russian Duma has not yet approved the treaty. A long-awaited vote on START II had been scheduled for April 2, but it was quickly shelved after NATO began its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia on March 24.

By late June, however, START II was showing new signs of life. On June 21, Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov said the treaty would be on the agenda for the fall session, which begins in September. Two days later, the Duma approved legislation guaranteeing funding for Russian strategic nuclear forces through 2010. Previously, Roman Popkovich, chairman of the Duma's defense committee, had argued that this bill was a prerequisite to START II ratification.

The Cologne statement also reaffirms U.S. and Russian readiness to negotiate START III. At the March 1997 Helsinki summit, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin reached an agreed framework for such a treaty, under which the United States and Russia would deploy no more than 2,000-2,500 strategic warheads each by the end of 2007 and would adopt measures promoting the irreversibility of deep reductions. The United States has reiterated its willingness to begin formal negotiations on START III, which has already been the subject of expert-level discussions, as soon as the Duma ratifies START II.

ABM Discussions

With respect to strategic defenses, the United States and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to the ABM Treaty and noted their obligation under Article XIII "to consider possible changes in the strategic situation that have a bearing on the [treaty] and, as appropriate, possible proposals for further increasing [its] viability." In a June 20 White House briefing, National Security Adviser Samuel Berger said that the Cologne statement "is very significant because for the first time the Russians have agreed to discuss changes in the ABM Treaty that may be necessitated by a [NMD] system were we to decide to deploy one." However, agreement to hold discussions on the ABM Treaty does not mean that Russia has endorsed amendments allowing for NMD deployment. Consistent with earlier statements, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said June 23 that U.S. NMD plans are "dangerous" and have the potential to upset strategic stability.

The Cologne statement also emphasizes the importance of the September 1997 package of strategic agreements signed in New York. These agreements extend the START II implementation period by five years, clarify the demarcation line between strategic and theater missile defenses and identify the successor states to the former Soviet Union under the ABM Treaty. (See ACT, September 1997.) The Cologne statement notes that the United States and Russia "will facilitate the earliest possible ratification and entry into force of those agreements." In his briefing, Berger restated the administration's position that it would not submit the strategic package to the Senate until the Duma has ratified START II.

Other Developments

The joint statement also recognizes the importance of the September 1998 U.S.-Russian agreement to share early-warning information on the worldwide launches of ballistic missiles and space-launch vehicles. (See ACT, August/September 1998.) Efforts to implement this long-term sharing arrangement, as well as efforts to establish a temporary joint early-warning center in Colorado Springs to deal with the Year 2000 computer problem, have been on hold as a result of the NATO air strikes. Edward Warner, assistant secretary of defense for strategy and threat reduction, said June 28 that the United States hopes to "re-engage" Russia on these issues in the near future.

At Cologne, the sides also agreed to continue the dialogue under the Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation, co-chaired by Vice President Al Gore and Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin. The Gore-Stepashin Commission, which conducts business on a broad range of issues, including arms control, will meet July 27 in Washington. Gore and then-Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov were scheduled to meet in late March, but the meeting was postponed because of the Kosovo conflict.

HOPING TO RESTART their interrupted strategic dialogue, the United States and Russia held face-to-face meetings in June at the Group of Eight summit in Cologne, Germany. During talks, both sides agreed to press for ratification of START II and to hold dual-track "discussions" later this summer on both START III and possible amendments to the ABM Treaty that would allow deployment of a limited national missile defense (NMD) system. The Clinton administration is expected to make an NMD architecture decision in the coming months so that it can determine what specific treaty amendments deployment would require. However, a decision on whether to deploy an NMD system will not be made until June 2000. (Continue)

Security Council Struggles on Iraq; France Offers New Compromise

Howard Diamond

THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL remained deadlocked in June over competing strategies for restoring UN weapons inspections and monitoring activities in Iraq. In closed-door debates, Security Council members considered three resolutions, including a new French proposal, that seek to balance incentives for Iraq, in the form of sanctions relief, with continued insistence that Baghdad eliminate all of its proscribed weapons capabilities. Much of the Security Council has indicated its support for a proposal offered by Britain and the Netherlands that, despite several revisions, remains unacceptable to France, Russia and China.

The five permanent members of the council have long been divided about how to deal with Iraq, but have made little progress since the United States and Britain conducted a 70-hour bombing campaign against Iraq in mid-December 1998. Since the air and missile strikes, there have been no chemical, biological or missile inspections by the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and no nuclear inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inside Iraq. Iraqi officials reiterated in June that Baghdad will not consider allowing international inspectors back into Iraq without prior relief from sanctions.

The differences between the current competing drafts focus on four aspects of sanctions relief: the timing for suspending sanctions; the degree to which sanctions would be lifted; the mechanism for restoring sanctions in the event of Iraqi non-compliance; and the control of the money from renewed Iraqi exports.

The latest British-Dutch plan would replace UNSCOM with a nearly identical successor called the UN Commission on Inspection and Monitoring (UNCIM), and would lift the ban on Iraqi exports—but not imports—120 days after UNCIM and IAEA reported they were receiving full cooperation from Iraq. Under this proposal, money from Iraqi exports would continue to be placed in a UN escrow account to be used for humanitarian purposes. Restrictions on exports by Iraq would be lifted for four months at a time and would require the Security Council to approve continued suspension. The British-Dutch draft would also specifically authorize Iraqi oil sales to Turkey, which have been a major source of illicit revenue for Iraq.

The United States has said it would support the British-Dutch resolution, which has been co-sponsored by Argentina and Slovenia and has also gathered support from other non-permanent members of the Security Council. Winning France's support appears to be the key challenge facing the British-Dutch plan because its vote would give the proposal a majority in the Security Council, allowing it to pass provided that Russia and China withheld their vetoes.

A competing Russian-Chinese-French draft proceeds on the basis that Iraq's disarmament obligations have been substantially fulfilled and would suspend the ban on both imports and exports to Iraq once UN inspectors returned to Iraq and established a reinforced ongoing monitoring and verification (OMV) system. Under the Russian-Chinese-French plan, Baghdad would control the revenues produced by trade. The draft would restore sanctions if the UN secretary-general reported a breakdown in the OMV system, but would otherwise require affirmative action by the Security Council to restore sanctions.

Introduced in late June, the French draft takes pieces from both the British-Dutch and the Russian-Chinese-French proposals in an attempt to bridge the strongly held differences among the five permanent members of the Security Council. Like the British-Dutch plan, the French plan calls for replacing UNSCOM with a virtually identical "Control Commission" that would have the same rights, assets and responsibilities that UNSCOM had. Like the trilateral plan, the French draft would suspend sanctions on Iraq following the establishment of an OMV system, restore them if the OMV system broke down, and require a vote by the Security Council to reimpose the sanctions otherwise. Absent a shift by one of the permanent five members, the Security Council is likely to remain deadlocked.

Senators Call on Helms to Allow Vote on CTB Treaty

Craig Cerniello

WITH TIME RUNNING out for the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) before a special conference is convened to examine ways to bring the accord into force, a bipartisan group of senators in late June urged Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) to finally act on the treaty. Only states that have ratified the treaty can serve as full participants at the conference, likely to be held October 6-8 in Vienna.

In a June 28 letter to Helms, Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), James Jeffords (R-VT), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) pressed the committee chairman to promptly hold hearings and allow the treaty to come up for a floor vote. "Many nations are waiting for the United States to lead on this important issue before completing ratification in their countries. Failure to act on the [CTB] Treaty will deny the U.S. an active voice at the conference and could severely weaken U.S. non-proliferation efforts, including the effort to bring India and Pakistan into this treaty," the letter said.

Under Article XIV, the CTBT cannot enter into force until it has been signed and ratified by the five major nuclear-weapon states, India, Pakistan, Israel and 36 other states that have nuclear power and/or research reactors. If the CTBT has not come into effect three years after it opened for signature, Article XIV allows a majority of states that have already ratified the treaty to call a special conference to "decide by consensus what measures consistent with international law may be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process in order to facilitate the early entry into force of this Treaty."

This spring, a majority of the ratifying states wrote UN Secretary General Kofi Annan requesting that such a conference be held shortly after the treaty's third anniversary on September 24, 1999. Unless the United States ratifies the CTBT before then, it will only be able to attend the conference as a non-voting "observer."

Although President Clinton signed the CTBT in September 1996 and submitted it for ratification a year later, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has not conducted a single hearing on the treaty. Senator Helms has repeatedly stated that his committee will not consider the test ban until it has first voted on the 1997 amendments to the ABM Treaty as well as the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, neither of which have yet been submitted by the Clinton administration.

Thus far, the CTBT has been signed by 152 states and ratified by 38 states, and of the 44 states whose ratification is required for the treaty's entry into force, only 19 have ratified. Britain and France are the only two nuclear-weapon-states that have ratified, but Chinese President Jiang Zemin promised June 16 that his government "will soon submit the treaty to the National People's Congress for ratification."

Serbs Withdraw; KLA to Disarm

Wade Boese

SOME 47,000 SERBIAN military and paramilitary forces completed their withdrawal from the Yugoslav province of Kosovo on June 20, leading NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana to officially end the alliance's 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. Hours later, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), an estimated 17,000 ethnic Albanians fighting for Kosovo independence, agreed to turn in its weapons and disband.

On June 21, Secretary of Defense William Cohen said Serb forces left Kosovo with nearly 800 tanks, armored personnel carriers (APCs) and artillery batteries in tow. Under the terms of a June 9 military agreement, no Serb forces can be within a 5-kilometer "ground safety zone" extending from the Kosovo border into Yugoslavia.

With scant evidence of destroyed equipment, the Defense Department is backing away from earlier calculations that 120 tanks, 220 APCs and 450 artillery and mortar positions were struck by the more than 23,000 bombs and missiles used in NATO air strikes. Any Serb weapon losses, however, are unlikely to be replaced soon as the March 31, 1998 UN arms embargo on Yugoslavia remains in force.

Moreover, future Yugoslav force levels for tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters are capped by the 1996 Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control. Though Belgrade suspended implementation of the agreement March 31, and has yet to resume, the other parties (Croatia and both entities of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Muslim-Croat federation and Bosnian-Serb-controlled Republica Srpska) have said that Yugoslavia has assured them it will abide by the agreement.

For their part, KLA members are prohibited from possessing proscribed weapons (everything but pistols and non-automatic rifles) after midnight July 21. By that date, all KLA heavy weapons and 30 percent of all small arms are to be turned over to registered weapons storage sites. Sixty days later, all KLA weapons, including small arms, are to be in the storage sites under the control of KFOR, the international security force in Kosovo. While skepticism about KLA compliance runs high, initial reports show some weapons are being handed over.

'Rudman Report' Adds Fuel to DOE Reorganization Fire

Howard Diamond

SPURRED BY THE COX Report's allegations of Chinese espionage at U.S. nuclear weapons labs and a blistering report by a high-level investigative panel that concluded the Department of Energy (DOE) is incapable of reforming itself, both the House of Representatives and the Senate are considering legislation that would create a semi-autonomous agency within DOE to manage the nation's nuclear weapons complex. As of late June, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson continued to express strong opposition to any restructuring plan that called for the creation of a separate entity either within or outside his department.

The two similar bills—one sponsored by Representative Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and the other by Republican Senators Pete Domenici (NM), Jon Kyl (AZ) and Frank Murkowski (AK)—would establish a new agency to take control of DOE's nuclear weapons production facilities, laboratories and related operations offices. The administrator of the new agency would be "dual-hatted" as an undersecretary of energy, reporting directly to the secretary of energy.

Secretary Richardson's objections to the reorganization plan have focused on whether the new agency would be bound by policies established by other DOE offices. Both the House and the Senate proposals would give the agency administrator autonomy from the department in establishing counterintelligence, security and safety policies.

In response to espionage at the weapons labs, Richardson gave new authority to DOE's Office of Counterintelligence, and in May announced the establishment of two new high-level offices for Security and Emergency Operations and for Independent Oversight and Performance Assurance. He has objected that those reforms, meant to increase the department's control over the weapons complex, would be undermined if the new agency were allowed to set its own policies.

Rudman Panel Reports

The move to reform DOE was bolstered by the report of a special investigative panel of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, led by former Senator Warren Rudman. (See feature.) The Rudman Report, requested in March by President Clinton to examine security at the weapons laboratories and released on June 15, describes DOE as a "dysfunctional bureaucracy that has proven it is incapable of reforming itself" and calls for the creation of an autonomous or semi-autonomous Agency for Nuclear Stewardship. Similar to proposals now being considered by Congress, the Rudman panel urges the new agency head be made an undersecretary of energy and report directly to the secretary of energy.

The presidential panel strongly advised against giving control of the nuclear weapons complex to the Defense Department and affirmed the validity of the "government-owned, contractor-operated" system used by the nuclear labs. The panel also recommended that the laboratories' Foreign Visitors' and Assignments Program continue, though with a greater emphasis on security.

The Rudman Report praised the national laboratories for their "brilliant scientific breakthroughs," but concluded that their lackadaisical approach to security and their ongoing resistance to reform could only be addressed by legislative reorganization of DOE. Referring to the administration's February 1998 order to improve security in the Energy Department, the panel reported that it had never encountered "an agency with the bureaucratic insolence to dispute, delay, and resist implementation of a Presidential directive on security, as DOE's bureaucracy tried to do to the Presidential Decision Directive No. 61...."

The Rudman panel also took issue with the Cox Report and with Secretary Richardson's response to it. (See ACT, April/May 1999.) Agreeing with damage assessments made by the Intelligence Community and a review panel led by retired Admiral David Jeremiah, the Rudman Report criticized the Cox panel's work, observing "many attempts to take the valuable coin of damaging new information and decrease its value by manufacturing its counterfeit, innuendo; possible damage has been minted as probable disaster; workaday delay and bureaucratic confusion have been cast as diabolical conspiracies." Richardson, while receiving praise for his energetic approach to reform of DOE, was criticized for overstating his success in improving security when he asserted after the Cox Report's release in May that "our nation's nuclear secrets are, today, safe and secure."

SPURRED BY THE COX Report's allegations of Chinese espionage at U.S. nuclear weapons labs and a blistering report by a high-level investigative panel that concluded the Department of Energy (DOE) is incapable of reforming itself, both the House of Representatives and the Senate are considering legislation that would create a semi-autonomous agency within DOE to manage the nation's nuclear weapons complex. As of late June, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson continued to express strong opposition to any restructuring plan that called for the creation of a separate entity either within or outside his department. (Continue)

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Approves Holum

Craig Cerniello

THE SENATE FOREIGN Relations Committee on June 30 approved John Holum, former director of the now-defunct Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), as President Clinton's nominee for the position of undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs. The full Senate must now vote on his nomination.

During his June 28 confirmation hearing, in which only Senators Charles Hagel (R-NE) and Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) participated, Holum addressed the effectiveness of the State Department's reorganization plan as well as the administration's efforts to reduce the threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Although once opposed to the merger of ACDA into the State Department, Holum said, "Our reorganization plan, diligently implemented, will make us more effective than we otherwise would have been in combating proliferation, reducing arms, and advancing key political-military missions."

After explaining the various tools available to the United States in reducing the weapons proliferation threat, such as intelligence assets, global treaty regimes and sanctions, Holum said that ballistic missile defenses must be part of the equation. In his prepared testimony he said, "Arms controllers must also recognize our discipline's limits, and be prepared to integrate arms control with defense planning. In light of new estimates on the ballistic missile threat, in particular from North Korea and Iran, National Missile Defense, or NMD, is now closer to becoming another integral part of our strategy against proliferation." During the hearing, however, Holum explained that no decision has yet been made on NMD deployment and that such a decision would be based on four key criteria: the effectiveness of the technology, maturity of the "rogue nation" ICBM threat, cost factors and arms control considerations.

CD Ends Second Session With Little Progress

Wade Boese

THE 61-MEMBER UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) remained deadlocked at the June 25 conclusion of its second working period of the year, having failed to begin any negotiations or to resolve any outstanding issues. Sole U.S. resistance to initiating work on prevention of an arms race in outer space may forestall any talks—including those on a fissile material cutoff treaty—in the conference's third and final working part, scheduled to take place July 26–September 8. No delegation opposes fissile cutoff talks, but the CD has yet to adopt a consensus work program for 1999, a prerequisite to negotiations.

The conference did, however, move closer to a compromise on the long-divisive issue of nuclear disarmament. Speaking on June 17, CD President Ambassador Mohamed-Salah Dembri of Algeria indicated unanimous acceptance for a nuclear disarmament ad hoc working group, though he added that its mandate still needed to be resolved. If finalized, the mandate would likely resemble the February 2 proposal by Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway calling on the CD to "study ways and means of establishing an exchange of information and views" on nuclear disarmament.

Despite the apparent readiness of the nuclear-weapon states to agree to a working group, their staunch opposition—with the exception of China—to formal CD negotiations remains unchanged. A working group on nuclear disarmament, however, would mark a step up from last year's "troika" process where the past, present and future presidents of the conference simply held consultations with delegations on the issue.

In past years, the Group of 21 (G-21) non-aligned countries, led by India and Pakistan, has sought time-bound negotiations on nuclear disarmament as its highest priority, while the nuclear-weapon states, minus China, have opposed any formal negotiations on that subject. Because the conference operates by consensus, this central disagreement has impeded any substantive work since completion in 1996 of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Outer Space

While most member-states, including Russia, China and France, favor an ad hoc committee on outer space, the CD is weighing a working group because the United States will support nothing more formal. Washington, which has repeatedly claimed that there is no arms race in outer space, may oppose even a working group, partly out of concern for the implications such a move could hold for U.S. national missile defense (NMD) plans.

Uncertainty over an outer space mandate has further reinforced U.S. reluctance to work on the issue. Beijing and Moscow, worried about U.S. NMD plans, have called for preventing the "weaponization" of outer space, while some non-aligned states use the much broader term of "militarization," which is aimed at checking the military use of space for command, control, communication and intelligence purposes.

Also in the second working part, India termed a U.S., British and French proposal to exempt fissile cutoff talks from the annual, standard practice of agreeing on a work program "unacceptable." (See ACT, April/May 1999.) Indian Ambassador Savitri Kunadi said June 24 that such a move "divorces the work of the CD from the overall reality in which that work is undertaken."

The CD is facing a repeat of the 1997 conference, in which no negotiations took place. Even if a work program is adopted in this year's final six working weeks, a new work program will have to be agreed upon next year for any negotiations in 2000.

U.S. Says N. Korea Site Nuclear Free; Perry Visits Pyongyang

Howard Diamond

FOLLOWING THE determination by a U.S. inspection team that a North Korean underground construction site did not contain facilities relating to nuclear weapons, presidential envoy William Perry met with senior North Korean officials during his May 25 to 28 visit to discuss the possibility of a major shift in relations between Pyongyang and Washington. The inspection of the site in Kumchang-ni was described by the Clinton administration as essential to preserving the 1994 Agreed Framework and a prerequisite for any hopes of improving relations between the two states.

Perry, President Clinton's special coordinator for North Korea policy and former secretary of defense, described his meetings with senior North Korean political, diplomatic and military figures as "very intensive, extremely substantive, and quite valuable in providing me with insights in [North Korean] thinking on key issues of concern." Perry's delegation, which included State Department Counselor Ambassador Wendy Sherman and five other current and former U.S. officials, was the highest ranking U.S. group to ever visit North Korea.

Speaking to reporters in Seoul on May 29, Perry indicated he had fulfilled three goals during his trip to Pyongyang. According to Perry, he was able to "establish meaningful relationships with a wide range of senior [North Korean] officials," and "reaffirm" Pyongyang's commitment to "the current elements of our relationship," including the 1994 nuclear agreement. Most importantly, Perry said he was able "to explore [North Korean] thinking about the possibility of a major expansion in our relations and cooperation, as part of a process in which U.S. and allied concerns about missile and nuclear programs are addressed." Perry said he had not received "a definitive [North Korean] response to this idea," and suggested "it will take some time for [North Korea] to further reflect on the views I expressed." Perry refused to go into detail on the nature of his proposals to Pyongyang and did not take questions.

Appearing with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on May 17, South Korean Foreign Minister Hong Soon-Young said Perry was carrying to Pyongyang "a comprehensive package proposal…full of attractions and full of incentives." Hong added, "it is a package of incentives and disincentives and a package of carrots and sticks." Albright also announced that the United States would donate 400,000 tons of emergency food aid in response to the World Food Program's April appeal, bringing the annual total of U.S. food aid to North Korea to 600,000 tons. The United States donated 500,000 tons of food to North Korea in 1998.

Korea policy experts have speculated that Perry's trip was meant to test North Korea's willingness to deal over its development and export of ballistic missiles in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions, normalization of diplomatic relations including the exchange of ambassadors, and potentially even some form of security guarantees—all steps that can be taken by the president with limited congressional involvement. The terms of such a "grand bargain" have been discussed in Washington since the adoption of the Agreed Framework, which anticipates such improvements in U.S.-North Korean relations.

A dramatic shift in U.S. policy will probably not come easily. Perry's appointment as policy coordinator in November 1998 followed North Korea's August 1998 launch of its three-stage Taepo Dong-1 missile over Japan and allegations that the underground construction site in Kumchang-ni was part of an ongoing nuclear weapons program. Angered by Pyongyang's provocations, and convinced the Clinton administration's Korea policy was failing to meet U.S. security concerns, Congress threatened to cut-off financial support for the nuclear accord. The administration salvaged the funding by agreeing to conduct a high-level review of its policy. However, doubts remain in Congress about whether engagement with North Korea can work.

Administration critics insist, notwithstanding its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Agreed Framework, that Pyongyang remains committed to building nuclear weapons and developing and exporting long-range ballistic missiles. While unwilling to accept that Pyongyang can only be dealt with using sticks, Washington has limited its dealings with North Korea to technical-level, issue-by-issue discussions that have been prone to frequent breakdowns and long lapses without progress.

Perry is expected to complete his policy review in June, and has said he will return to the private sector. Ambassador Sherman is likely to be named as the administration's North Korea policy coordinator. A former assistant secretary of sate for legislative afairs, Sherman has a close relationship with Secretary Albright, which could prove critical in keeping high-level attention on the issue.

Kumchang-ni and KEDO

After months of negotiations, North Korea agreed in March to allow the inspection of the underground site in Kumchang-ni after dropping its initial demand for $300 million in compensation. Instead, the United States will provide North Korea with a pilot agricultural program to help grow potatoes and is continuing to provide large quantities of food aid, which it insists is given on a strictly humanitarian basis.

The Kumchang-ni site was examined by a team of 14 U.S. scientists and proliferation specialists, May 18 to 24. State Department spokesman James Rubin said May 28 that the U.S. team found "an extensive, empty tunnel complex," and that "a full technical analysis is underway to determine…what the site might have been intended for." Rubin added that "based on what we know thus far, there is no basis to conclude that North Korea is in violation of the Agreed Framework." The conclusions of the technical review will probably be released at the end of June.

Questions, however, about whether North Korea moved key pieces of equipment prior to the visit are likely to linger, with skeptics arguing that U.S. satellites showed increased vehicle and personnel activity before the inspection. According to Rubin, the site "was at a stage of construction prior to the time when any relevant equipment, other than construction equipment, would be expected to be present." Washington's access arrangement with Pyongyang provides for an additional inspection next year and annually beyond that if requested by the United States.

The Kumchang-ni inspection will help the administration to fulfill the security-related conditions set by Congress for U.S. financial support of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), the international consortium created to implement the 1994 nuclear accord. For FY 1999, Congress provided $35 million to support KEDO's annual obligation to provide North Korea with 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil while two light-water reactors (LWRs) are being built. For the past two years, KEDO has failed to deliver the required quantity of fuel oil by the end of its scheduled delivery year, which ends in late October. Since completing 1998's deliveries early this year, KEDO will have delivered 140,000 tons of this year's required heavy fuel oil by mid-June.

KEDO continues site development work in Sinpo, North Korea where the two 1,000-megawatt (electric) LWRs called for in the nuclear accord will be built, and appears to be closing in on completing the financial arrangements for the $4.6 billion project. On May 3, KEDO signed an agreement with the government of Japan, whereby Tokyo will pay the interest on a $1 billion loan to KEDO from the Japanese Import-Export Bank that will fulfill Japan's commitment to fund a "significant" portion of the LWR project. KEDO continues negotiations with the Japanese Import-Export Bank on the terms of the loan, and is in similar talks with the government of South Korea and the South Korean Import-Export Bank.

Seoul has committed itself to a "central" role in the LWR project and has pledged to pay 70 percent of the project's actual cost. The United States, while funding much of the oil program, has committed itself only to taking responsibility for finding any additional funds that might be required to complete the LWR project. Once the financial arrangements are settled, KEDO hopes to sign the prime, or "turn-key," contract for the LWR project with its prime contractor, the Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO). Completion of the prime contract would allow KEDO to order long-lead time items for the LWRs and to accelerate the pace of construction at the site in North Korea.

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