"The Arms Control Association’s work is an important resource to legislators and policymakers when contemplating a new policy direction or decision."

– General John Shalikashvili
former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Members Call: The Trump Administration's INF Decision



Soviet inspectors and their U.S. escorts stand among Pershing II missiles dismantled in accordance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in January 1989. (Photo: U.S. Defense Department)On Feb. 2, the Trump administration is expected to suspend its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and formally announce its intention to withdraw from the treaty in six months in response to a long-running dispute over Russian compliance with the treaty.

The INF Treaty is one of the most far-reaching and most successful nuclear arms reduction agreements. It helped bring an end to the Cold War and paved the way for agreements to slash bloated strategic nuclear arsenals and to withdraw thousands of tactical nuclear weapons from forward-deployed areas. The potential collapse of the INF Treaty, combined with the uncertain future of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, creates the potential for increasing nuclear competition.

Join executive director Daryl Kimball and policy director Kingston Reif to learn more on the likely impact and consequences of this decision on the U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control relationship and on the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

Existing Members: Check your email for a registration link or contact Tony Fleming, director for communications, at [email protected] to register. 

Non-Members: Join today to receive a registration link and call-in details. 


Join staff experts to learn more on the likely impact and consequences of this decision on the U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control relationship and on the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

Remarks to the 17th Republic of Korea-UN Joint Conference on Disarmament and Nonproliferation Issues



Prepared remarks by Kelsey Davenport to the 17th ROK-UN Joint Conference on Disarmament and Nonproliferation Issues
December 5, 2018

As we look toward the 10th Review Conference of the NPT in 2020, the nonproliferation treaty regime faces serious challenges.

Regional rivalries, a deterioration of U.S.-Russian relations, and qualitative nuclear buildups create significant challenges to efforts to fulfill the goals and objectives of the NPT as it enters its sixth decade.

Given these challenges, it is more important than ever that NPT states parties work together with urgency to seek consensus on steps to strengthen the treaty in this review cycle.

While the success of the Review Conference should not be solely measured by whether or not there is agreement on a final document, these texts are important guideposts to assess progress and to establish political commitments designed to fulfill treaty objectives. Coming off of the failure to garner consensus in 2015, it is more important than ever to work with urgency and creativity to develop consensus solutions in 2020.

As the UN Secretary General noted in his comprehensive disarmament agenda released earlier this year:

“The existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to humanity must motivate us to accomplish new and decisive action leading to their total elimination. We owe this to the Hibakusha—the survivors of nuclear war—and to our planet.”

Over the next 20 minutes I will describe in more detail four key challenges facing the NPT and outline some possible paths forward that hopefully answer the UN Secretary General’s call for “new and decisive action.”

1) Reinvigorating Progress on Article VI

One of the most significant challenges to the NPT is the uncertain future of U.S.-Russian cooperation on arms reduction treaties and the failure to negotiate further reductions as agreed in the 2010 NPT Review Conference action plan. While it is positive that the United States and Russia met New START limits as required earlier this year, prospects for further negotiated cuts remain bleak.

U.S.-Russian relations have deteriorated dramatically since Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine. Compounding the situation is the accelerating effort to replace and upgrade U.S and Russian nuclear arsenals, Russian and American nuclear saber-rattling, and the ongoing dispute over Russian noncompliance with the INF Treaty.

The Trump administration is demonstrating a marked disinterest in providing leadership on disarmament. The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review makes no mention of U.S. legal obligations to pursue arms control and disarmament measures as required by Article VI – rather Washington defers action until security conditions have improved. Nor does the NPR put forward any new proposals for working with Russia on a new round of reductions or steps to reduce risk.

Now, the Trump administration announced Dec. 4 it will suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty in 60 days over Russia’s deployment of the noncompliant 9M729 missile. Diplomacy to address the problem has not yet been exhausted and should be pursued. Worse still is the U.S. equivocation about the future of the New START Treaty, which is scheduled to expire on Feb. 5, 2021, unless Moscow and Washington agree to extend it.

While Russia has offered to begin talks to extend New START and restart strategic stability dialogue with the United States, these discussions have not begun.

Without INF or New START extension, in 2021, there will be no legally-binding limits on the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals for the first time since 1972 – in short, the United States and Russia would be in violation of their NPT Article VI obligations.

How can states parties to the NPT prevent this dangerous reality?

First, in the short term, all NPT states parties must press the United States and Russia to agree to extend New START before the start of the 2020 Review Conference and to agree to further, sustained negotiations to reach agreement on verifiable reductions of all types of nuclear weapons, whether strategic, intermediate-range, or short-range.

Second, the United States and Russia, and the United States, Russia and China, must enter into regular strategic stability talks, and engage in an expanded dialogue that also considers the impact of new technologies and advancing ballistic missile defenses. While China may not have numerical parity with the United States or Russia, Beijing’s expanding nuclear arsenal and delivery systems pose a risk to strategic stability. Perhaps one area of discussion could be moving away from nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and agreement that hypersonic glide vehicles remain conventional. U.S. President Donald Trump opened the door to such discussions with Russia and China during the G20 meeting in Argentina this week.

Third, in the lead up to the 2020 Review Conference and at the conference itself, member states should refrain from using the NPT cycle to continue to debate the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The TPNW plays an important role in reinforcing the taboo against nuclear weapons and advances the goal the NPT. But the TPNW is not going to lead to progress on disarmament in the near term and acrimonious debate over it risks continued polarization and entrenchment within the NPT process.

And now I’ll turn to the increased risk of use.

While the prospects of expanding arsenals pose a significant challenge, progress on Article VI cannot be measured through warhead reductions alone. Reductions are an important marker, but there are other critical steps that can and must be taken to reduce nuclear risks and realize disarmament, including checking the expanding role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines.

All five of the recognized nuclear weapon states, as well as states outside of the NPT that possess nuclear weapons, are upgrading and investing in new nuclear-capable missiles– some of which are designed with the intent to make the use of nuclear weapons “more credible.” The emphasis on lower-yield nuclear weapons, nuclear-capable cruise missiles and forays into hypersonic missiles represent a dangerous and destabilizing trend that could lower the threshold for nuclear weapons use. Investments in these new systems contravene the obligations set forth in Article VI.

The 2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review expands the circumstances under which the United States would consider using nuclear weapons to include non-nuclear attacks, even if a state is complying with the NPT. Ambiguity and confusion over whether or not Russia’s nuclear doctrine includes an “escalate to deescalate” policy further heightens tensions.

This greater reliance on nuclear weapons – combined with some of the new systems designed to make deterrence more “credible” and the significant portion of the deployed U.S. and Russian nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles that remain on prompt launch– increases the prospect of nuclear use.

Given the global consequences of even a single nuclear strike, this is an area ripe for NPT states parties to press for additional measures that reduce nuclear risks.

First, given the polarized environment, it would beneficial during the review cycle for all NPT states parties – particularly the United States and Russia - to reaffirm the 1985 statement of U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” Furthermore, states should unequivocally reaffirm their support for progress on Article VI and, at a minimum, the goals outlined in the 2010 Action Plan.

Second, NPT states parties should call for an end to these “launch under attack” postures and urge all states to adopt a clear policy of nuclear no first use.

As a tangible step toward no first use, states could push all five of the nuclear weapon states to commit at the 2020 Review Conference that the sole purpose of nuclear weapons is to deter a nuclear attack.

The United States came close to declaring sole purpose for the U.S. arsenal in 2016. as former Vice President Joe Biden said in the final days of the Obama Administration in January 2017, “The President and I strong believe we have made enough progress that deterring—and if necessary retaliating against—a nuclear attack should be the sole purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.” And now, in the United States, momentum is gathering around moving toward no first use as policy. For instance, U.S. Representative Adam Smith – who will chair the House Armed Services Committee beginning with the new Congress– will again introduce his bill calling for no first use to be adopted as U.S. nuclear policy.

While the actions outlined previously address some specific and immediate challenges, in looking at Article VI and the NPT more broadly - it also may be to time consider pursuing a new enterprise free from the consensus-based, least-common-denominator thinking and the entrenched positions of established factions within existing forums. As the UN Secretary General noted in his disarmament agenda, existing international institutions for addressing disarmament have stagnated.

One bold idea is a new series of disarmament summits, modeled on the Nuclear Security Summit Process. An NSS-like process that emphasizes the same concept of national and multilateral commitments, would give likeminded states the option to pursue steps that push beyond the status quo on key issues and create political pressure to follow up on pledges and demonstrate progress.

Additionally, the current disarmament architecture has not been able to integrate states that possess nuclear weapons outside of the recognized nuclear order (namely India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea) into multilateral efforts. Increasingly, the nuclear arsenals of these states will impact the ability to make progress on Article VI. A summit series could be a more inclusive forum that includes these states.

Ultimately, a summit-like process could help to transform bilateral tracks into multilateral talks that would include both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states, creating a process of multilateral arms control and risk reduction that would lead toward a full realization of Article VI of the NPT and the broader goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

2) Preserving and building upon the JCPOA

The 2015 multilateral nuclear deal between Iran, the European Union, and six countries, resolved a decades-long crisis over Iran’s nuclear program, and brought Tehran back into compliance with its NPT safeguards obligations. The deal was endorsed by the UN Security Council, which in Resolution 2231 notes the importance of NPT compliance. The JCPOA also exemplifies the continued centrality of the NPT and the international commitment to prevent proliferation.

But, despite Iran’s record of compliance with the JCPOA and the obvious nonproliferation value of the accord, the United States withdrew from the deal, re-imposed sanctions, and is threatening states with punitive measures if they do not stop legitimate business with Iran allowed under the JCPOA and encouraged by the Security Council.

The remaining P4+1 parties to the nuclear deal with Iran, particularly the European partners, have taken significant actions not only to reaffirm their commitment to the JCPOA, but also to develop mechanisms to protect legitimate trade with Iran. While the EU’s blocking regulation and creation of a Special Purpose Vehicle to facilitate trade sends a strong political signal, these mechanisms are bound to fall short in providing the sanctions relief envisioned under the deal. This puts the long-term viability of the deal in question.

Collapse of the nuclear deal would have profound negative implications for Iran, the Middle East, and the NPT.

In the lead up to 2020, maintaining international support for the nonproliferation value of the JCPOA is critical. The NPT review cycle offers an important opportunity for states to reaffirm their support for the JCPOA and denounce the U.S. withdrawal as not only jeopardizing the deal, but also undermining nonproliferation efforts writ large.

But NPT member states should not stop at defending the JCPOA. The nuclear deal was not intended to set a precedent, but we would be foolish not to look at the unique and positive nonproliferation elements of the nuclear deal and try not to expand upon them to better serve nonproliferation and safeguards efforts in the region and writ large.

Under the JCPOA, Iran, for instance, agreed to real time monitoring of uranium enrichment levels, greater accountancy at uranium mines, and a time-bound process for allowing IAEA access to undeclared sites. Is there value in other states making similar pledges to incorporate such steps into safeguards practice? Learning from the JCPOA to further strengthen safeguards must be explored.

Additionally, we should look to build on the JCPOA to develop ideas that would reduce the threat of proliferation at the regional level. Iran, for instance, agreed to a 15-year ban on reprocessing and said it may never pursue this technology. Why not pursue a region free of reprocessing in the Middle East, initially through voluntary pledges by states? The commitments could be announced at the 2020 Review Conference. This would be a positive step toward realizing the goal of a MEWMDFZ, protect against the development of stockpiles of separated plutonium as states build up nuclear power infrastructures, and bolster the NPT.

This is particularly critical now, as there is a growing interest in nuclear power in the Middle East. This will also provide greater assurance that Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful as limitations under the JCPOA begin to expire.

3) Finding a Path Forward on the MEWMDFZ

While we are on the Middle East, let me say a few words about the MEWMDFZ. Nearly 25 years after the 1995 resolution on establishing a MEWMDFZ played a critical role in securing the indefinite extension of the NPT, the promise of the zone has failed to materialize.

We cannot forget that it was disagreement over the MEWMDFZ that prevented consensus on a final document in 2015. And failure to outline a path forward ahead of 2020 risks derailing consensus on the NPT Review Conference again.

Yet few new and creative ideas are being brought forward to advance the zone. The United States and Russia appear unwilling to take a leadership role and have lost credibility since 2015.

The Arab League purports to seek progress on the zone, but it is not apparent that any of these states have reached out to Israel to engage in discussions over the zone or brought forward new and creative ideas. And when some of these states also fail to condemn statements by Saudi Arabia threatening to pursue nuclear weapons and when they fail to condemn the use of chemical weapons in Syria, it erodes the credibility of these states as honest brokers for the zone. It gives the impression that the politics of the issue are more important than achieving results.

Building on the JCPOA, as highlighted above, to make progress on the zone is one idea. Another positive step could be a new consultative process, similar to the lead-up to 2015. Perhaps the UK, as one of the three conveners, could take a leadership role in facilitating a new dialogue for a conference agenda ahead of 2020.

Alternatively, the UN General Assembly First Committee voted in favor of an Arab League proposal on the zone in November, which would require the UN Secretary General to convene a conference on a zone in 2019 and every year after until the zone is realized. There are critical questions yet to be answered about the scope of this process. And, as Israel voted against it, it is unclear if all states in the zone will be willing to engage with it. But a UN-led process could serve a similar consultative role in developing a path forward if states are willing to engage in good faith.

Additionally, ahead of the 2020 NPT Review Conference, members of the Arab League and the broader Non-Aligned Movement that recognize that a weakened NPT bodes ill for the zone, should make clear that realistic steps toward the MEWMDFZ will be supported, but holding consensus on the 2020 Final Document hostage by insisting on unrealistic and arbitrary demands for the zone concept will not be tolerated.

4) The North Korea Challenge

North Korea represents a dual challenge to the NPT – bringing Pyongyang back into compliance with the treaty and the current lack of agreed upon consequences of withdrawal.

At the end of 2017, the United States and North Korea were locked in a spiral of escalating tensions and increasingly hostile rhetoric. Thanks to the leadership of South Korean President Moon Jae-in in reaching out to Pyongyang, the crisis stabilized and a path for meaningful negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program was opened. And in an historic meeting between the U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the two leaders agreed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to build a peace regime.

While North Korea’s voluntary actions early in the process, such as the long-range missile and nuclear test moratorium, and blowing up the test tunnels at Punggye-ri are positive steps that have limited qualitative advances in the country’s nuclear arsenal, North Korea continues to expand its nuclear arsenal and develop nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in direct contravention of its NPT obligations and UN Security Council resolutions. Continued failure by both the United States and North Korea to agree to reciprocal steps in the negotiations risks a return to the escalating tensions of 2017.

One step that the NPT member states should encourage is exploring how to convert the voluntary test moratorium and dismantlement of Punggye-ri into a legally-binding commitment to refrain from nuclear testing by securing North Korea’s signature and eventual ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In a special, high-level meeting on the CTBT at the UN in September, a group of foreign ministers led by Japan called on Pyongyang to solidify its voluntary nuclear test moratorium announced in April by signing and ratifying the treaty. Interim steps could include deploying monitoring equipment at the North Korean test site.

As another interim step in this vein, NPT states should encourage the United States to include the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization in any visit to inspect the dismantled test site. Not only would the presence of the CTBTO aid in assessing the condition of the test site and the reversibility of North Korean actions, it would also gauge North Korea’s willingness to work with international inspectors, such as the IAEA, which must be part of any verification regime agreed to as part of a denuclearization process.

Furthermore, the North Korea case highlights the critical need to make progress on the consequences of withdrawal. Withdrawal by any state undermines the security and benefits envisioned by the NPT.

In the 25 years after North Korea first announced its intent to withdraw from the NPT, insufficient action has been taken in the NPT context to address the gaps highlighted by the North Korean case. Even if the 2015 Final Document had been adopted, it would not have addressed this serious, outstanding issue that is more urgent now than ever, given the current geopolitical climate.

States could agree, by consensus at the 2020 NPT Review Conference, that any state will be held responsible under international law for actions committed by a state in violation of the treaty prior to their withdrawal.

Similarly, a consensus endorsement of the principle that states can demand the return of materials and technology transferred to any state that choses to withdraw from the NPT, would be a common sense step and provide further assurance that peaceful programs cannot be converted to nuclear weapons programs without consequence.


I would like to conclude by again quoting Secretary-General Guterres: “ There are moments in history when individual and collective courage and conscience come together to change the course of events.”

The NPT faces unprecedented challenges; but with dedication, urgency, and creativity they can be overcome and goals of the treaty realized.

Thank you.

Subject Resources:

What Can the EU Do to Reduce the Nuclear Threat?



Remarks by Greg Thielmann
Polis 180 Fireside Chat
Powerless Europe? The Future of Nuclear Weapons Policy in Europe
Berlin, Germany
November 28, 2018

Toward the end of October, President Donald Trump announced at a political rally that the United States would be withdrawing from the 31-year old Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (“INF”) Treaty, which had banned an entire category of ground-based missiles from the U.S. and Russian arsenals. There has since been considerable discussion about what this decision portends for the entire nuclear arms control enterprise. I cannot presume to know how Germany and other European states can best protect their national security interests. But I can offer some thoughts on how Europe can help America cope with the Trump phenomenon, which I see as America’s greatest leadership crisis in my lifetime.

My first job as a diplomat in the Department of State was to help implement the 1979 “Dual-Track” decision of NATO (der Doppelbeschluss)–according to which NATO planned to deploy 572 nuclear-tipped missiles in Europe while seeking to negotiate equal but lower limits on the 600 Soviet theater missiles already deployed against NATO. The government of Chancellor Helmut Schmidt played a critical role in pushing for such action. He worried that the U.S.-Soviet Strategic Arms Limitation Talks process had left Europe vulnerable to a growing force of Mittelstrecken Raketen for which it had no comparable counter. Indeed, the SS-20s being deployed were more mobile, longer-range, less vulnerable, and more accurate than the SS-4 and SS-5 missiles they were replacing. Moreover, they would carry three times as many warheads.

The only U.S. nuclear weapons based in Europe which could reach Soviet territory then were carried by medium-range bombers, themselves increasingly vulnerable to Soviet anti-aircraft weapons. And thus, the scene was set for a highly-charged contest of wills between the Soviet Union, the United States, and the five NATO countries that had agreed to station new INF missiles on their territories. Germany would have the largest and most critical contingent, including 108 very accurate and fast Pershing II ballistic missiles.

I was present in Geneva at the opening of the negotiations 37 years ago this Friday. I was also present for three years in Embassy Bonn’s Political Section, when the first U.S. deployments arrived in 1983–the “Year of the missile”–and when the Soviet negotiators walked out of the Geneva negotiations.

But with the coming to power of Mikhael Gorbachev in 1985, the mood changed and negotiations resumed the next year. By the end of 1987, the Soviet leader and Ronald Reagan had signed a “zero-zero” treaty with an even lower range floor on banned missiles than the parties had first discussed. Within three years of the treaty entering into force, nearly 2,700 missiles had been eliminated.

This saga is worth recalling–partly to appreciate how unlikely such an outcome seemed in 1979 and how much the treaty ultimately contributed to the reductions of Cold War tensions. It is also important to realize how important the treaty’s verification provisions were for establishing precedents applied to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which followed in 1991. And to remember the creative and hard-working personnel on both sides, who conscientiously fulfilled the treaty obligations.

During the last decade, there have been voices raised in both Moscow and Washington, arguing that the treaty had outlived its usefulness in a post-Cold War world where the European situation was fundamentally different and a world where third countries were increasing their arsenals of intermediate-range missiles.

In 2014, the United States officially accused Russia of testing a cruise missile with a range in excess of that allowed by the treaty. Russia, in turn, levied three charges against the United States, the most serious being that the U.S. missile defense launchers being deployed in Romania were prohibited because they were capable of launching cruise missiles banned under the treaty.

These compliance concerns have now been subject to confidential discussions between the United States and Russia for five years without resolution. Although Trump’s announcement that the United States intended to withdraw from the INF Treaty appeared to be the beginning of the end, it was not the first step taken in that direction. Moscow appears to have decided a decade ago to ignore the treaty’s range limits on cruise missiles. Last year’s U.S. defense budget included research and development funding for new ground-based missiles, which would eventually violate the treaty when they are first flight-tested.

It is my contention, and the view of the U.S.-Russian-German “Deep Cuts Commission” (of which I’m a member) that neither side has made sufficient efforts to use the treaty’s verification mechanism to address this problem.

There is still time. The treaty requires six months notice before withdrawal can occur, and that notice has still not been officially provided.

Ironically, the U.S. revelation in public last year of the Russian manufacturer and designator of the offending missile has opened up a path to resolution, which has not yet been explored. After years of Moscow saying it did not know what the United States was talking about, it now acknowledges having developed and deployed the missile in question–the Novator 9M729—but says the United States is wrong about its capabilities. There is now a curious parallelism in the U.S. response to Russia’s complaints about the missile defense launchers in Romania and Poland. Washington contends that the Aegis Ashore Mk 41 launchers are not capable of doing what the Mk 41 launchers at sea can do.

The argument is now ripe for an invitation to experts for mutual on-site inspection and technical discussions to examine the capabilities of the systems in dispute. Yet neither side has made such a proposal! Here is where Germany and its fellow NATO members can play a constructive role. Russia’s 9M729 cruise missiles threaten the territory of NATO’s European members. The U.S. missile defense deployments in Eastern Europe have been endorsed by NATO. The alliance should press hard for Washington and Moscow to get serious about resolving this issue by conducting mutual inspections and taking necessary confidence-building steps. The onus for the dissolution of the treaty should fall heavily on the side, which refuses this obvious path on INF and fails to pursue the rejuvenation of talks on strategic arms control.

Germany can buttress its diplomatic initiatives on this and other nuclear issues by fulfilling its commitment to increase its defense budget. Russia takes seriously NATO’s policy of regarding an attack on any member as an attack on all members. The best way to increase the credibility of NATO’s mutual defense commitment is for Germany to strengthen its conventional defenses, continue hosting the deployment of U.S. troops, and participating in the modest but important defense measures in the Baltic states.

I hope Germany will remember that Trump became president through our peculiar electoral college system, which awarded him the job after losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million. Although our system may be flawed, it does self-correct, and that slow process has begun. America is, at long last, rising to the challenge that Trump poses to our institutions and our friends in the world. Our press is vibrant; our courts remain independent; and the mid-term elections have just returned control of the U.S. House of Representatives to the opposition party; even the executive branch agencies have just delivered a stinging rebuke to the administration’s shameful denial of climate change science.

I especially want to highlight the significance of the Democratic Party winning control over the House of Representatives. Defense funding must pass the Senate and the House to become law. Democratic Party leaders have been opposed to Trump’s plan to introduce new nuclear weapons and they advocate a “no-first-use” policy for the U.S. deterrent.

There will be tensions as Germany looks after its obligations and pursues its national interests. But Americans need to remember what close friends do to protect each other from folly. My model is the refusal of Germany to join the United States and Britain in their disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003. Our long-term interests were betrayed by London; not by Berlin. Likewise, when the United States violated its commitments under the 7-party Iran Nuclear Deal, Germany, Britain, and France are trying to honor theirs. A focus on our mutual long-term interests is important for the difficult days ahead.



Remarks by Greg Thielmann for the Polis 180 Fireside Chat: Powerless Europe? The Future of Nuclear Weapons Policy in Europe, Berlin, Germany

Country Resources:

Fighting Against the Current: The Pursuit of Nuclear Arms Control in the Coming Year



By Greg Thielmann
Hertie School of Governance
Berlin, Germany, Nov. 26

Let me begin by recognizing the “elephant in the room” – Donald Trump. Last May, America’s president announced that the U.S would pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six other states. Five weeks ago, Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. In recent weeks, North Korea has made obvious that Trump’s depiction of Kim Jung-un’s agreement to de-nuclearize North Korea was greatly exaggerated. And the Trump administration continues to stall on President Putin’s invitation to extend the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty when it expires in 2021.

It is obvious that President Trump is at least partly responsible for the perilous position of nuclear arms control as we approach the end of 2018. He is both ignorant of the subject and disinterested in learning; he instinctively rejects the concept of shared interests with other nations; he dismisses any agreement negotiated by his predecessor; and he has now placed the National Security Council under the malign influence of arms control skeptic John Bolton.

But Trump-bashing aside, I want to step back and mention some underlying, “pre-existing conditions” that are relevant to the question of enhancing mutual security through arms control.

Vladimir Putin made a serious error in rejecting President Obama’s offer to follow up New START with an additional 1/3 reduction in the level of U.S. and Russian nuclear forces. Instead of tightening future constraints, Putin apparently authorized the testing and deployment of a new missile banned by the INF Treaty, undermining a regional balance of U.S. and Russian nuclear forces that had held for a quarter-century. Even more consequential for Europe was his violation of Russia’s commitment in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum to “respect the independence, sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine.”

But, of course, Russia was not alone in complicating arms control progress:

  • U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2002 was a huge mistake.
  • It is also regrettable that the U.S. encouraged Ukraine and Georgia to consider NATO membership since it was understandably viewed in Moscow as a provokatsia.
  • And I believe that the U.S. badly mishandled evidence that Russia was violating the INF Treaty. Instead of employing the treaty’s proven mechanism to resolve compliance issues through expert discussions and on-site inspections, Washington simply sought to extract a confession from Moscow in high-level talks, while withholding (for intelligence reasons) the details of the incriminating evidence it had obtained and curtly dismissing compliance issues raised by Russia.

Given the U.S. reaction to Soviet ballistic missile defense investments in the 1960s, it’s ironic that the U.S. has been so insensitive to Moscow’s expressions of concern about the construction of a U.S. ballistic missile defense infrastructure in Eastern Europe.

The Aegis Ashore program to deploy SM3 interceptors in Romania and Poland was devised to protect the U.S. and Europe against ballistic missile attacks from the Middle East. The U.S. initially assessed that Iran could test ICBMs by 2015 and that such missiles could be armed by then with nuclear warheads. But when that year rolled around, Iran had demonstrated no interest in pursuing long-range missiles -- either ICBMs or even IRBMs. Moreover, Iran agreed to accept very stringent constraints on its ability to produce fissile material for warheads, along with unprecedented transparency measures.

And yet, the schedule for deploying the missiles in Poland to protect all of Europe against a threat that had never materialized was neither canceled nor postponed.

Meanwhile, Russia had raised concerns about the legality of the Mk-41 launchers used by these interceptors, in light of the launcher’s use on warships to launch several different kinds of missiles, including the nuclear-armed Tomahawks that were the look-alike “cousins” of the Gryphon land-attack cruise missiles banned by the INF Treaty. Yet Washington curtly dismissed Russia’s charges as propaganda.

For more than three years, Moscow denied U.S. assertions that Russia had an illicit system, claiming it didn’t know what Washington was talking about. Finally, once the U.S. specified the missile’s manufacturer and military designator, Russia acknowledged having the system but contended that the U.S. was mistaken about its range.

Both sides may have legitimate grievances, or at least plausible concerns, about actions taken by the other side. They should be energetically addressed by the treaty’s Special Verification Commission. Instead, the dialogue to date seems to consist of trading accusations about the other side’s treaty violations, while asserting that there is no basis for any suspicion of one’s own activities. Neither side has proposed mutual on-site inspections by experts to determine the capabilities of the systems in question.

The Deep Cuts Commission – a “Track 2” effort composed of US, Russian, and German security experts -- has been meeting for nearly five years to analyze challenges to nuclear arms control. The commission issued a statement November 15 with regard to INF Treaty compliance concerns, proposing that:

… both sides need to acknowledge the concerns of the other side and that Washington and Moscow should agree to reciprocal visits by experts to examine the missiles and the deployment sites in dispute. If the 9M729 missile is determined to have a range that exceeds 500 km, Russia could modify the missile to ensure it no longer violates the treaty or…halt production and eliminate any such missiles and [their] associated launchers.

For its part, the [U.S.] could modify its missile defense launchers to clearly distinguish them from the launchers used to fire offensive missiles from [U.S.] warships, or agree to transparency measures that give Russia confidence the launchers [ashore] cannot fire offensive missiles.

For decades, the INF Treaty has provided an important buttress for stability in Europe by constraining nuclear superpower arsenals. Moreover, the treaty framework could also provide a valuable foundation for addressing new challenges to stability in the sub-strategic category of nuclear systems. There is still a chance that further diplomatic efforts can save the treaty. We should all press hard toward this objective. If Moscow and Washington let it die, we will all soon regret it.



Remarks by Greg Thielmann to the Hertie School of Governance panel discussion in Berlin, Germany, Nov. 26

Subject Resources:

Remarks to the Amman Security Colloquium



Remarks from Thomas Countryman to the Amman Security Colloquium
University of Jordan, Amman
November 7, 2018

Let me thank the organizers for this invitation, and for the opportunity to visit Amman again. Last night, a colleague reminded me that I was never considered to be the most diplomatic diplomat, and retirement has loosened my tongue further. I will speak frankly but am not trying to cause any offense.

Opening panel of the Amman Security Colloquium with (left to right) NTI executive vice president Deb Rosenblum, Dr Khaled Toukan of Jordan’s Atomic Energy Agency, former Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman, and senior advisor with the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs Tom Coppen. (Photo: Samantha Pitts-Kiefer/Twitter)Of the many topics that should be considered at this conference, I will address only two: the Middle East Nuclear Free Zone, and the escalation of U.S.-Iranian confrontation.

The failure to convene a conference to begin discussion of a Middle East Nuclear and WMD-Free Zone is a disappointing diplomatic failure, for which I take my share of responsibility. No one ever thought it would be easy to achieve such a Zone, but many understated the difficulty of even beginning a process. There simply is no precedent in modern history for such an ambitious undertaking in a region constantly beset by conventional conflict, and where key states are largely incapable of speaking to each other in a normal fashion. Still, we came closer in 2013 than many appreciate, and it remains valuable to analyze carefully not just — on a macro scale - the regional obstacles, but also the particular sticking points we encountered.

We had an agreement in principle among regional states (not including Iran and Syria) to convene the conference once there was an agreement on a simple agenda. Unfortunately, both the Arabs and Israel viewed the initial agenda as pre-determining the entire course of negotiations. The Arab states saw the inclusion of a broader spectrum of regional security issues as creating a diversion for Israel to permanently sideline actual discussion of a treaty; while Israel believed a treaty would be meaningless without at least a discussion of the wider security issues separating it from its neighbors. This is exactly the kind of stalemate that defines the challenge of diplomatic work, and we believed it was possible for a small group to devise an agenda that struck an appropriate compromise between these views, between the specific and the ambiguous, that would at least allow the beginning of a process. Unfortunately, we were never able to convince Egypt, which has diplomatic relations and security cooperation with Israel, to engage directly with the Israelis in search of such a compromise.

At the 2015 Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference, the Egyptian delegation — granted carte blanche by the Nonaligned Movement — sought to remove, from the mandate for the conference, any requirement for compromise. Although agreement was reached between Cairo and Washington on a number of clauses in the draft final document, the United States was unable to agree to remove words that had been central to the decision in 2010: “on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at”. This single issue prevented consensus on a document that fully satisfied nobody, but that was at least a modest step forward for NPT parties on a wide range of other issues.

Unfortunately, my forecast for 2020 is not any more optimistic. The primary actors in this little drama have largely lost interest, and most have lost credibility. There is no reason to expect that the United States, whichever more openly embraces the Netanyahu government’s stance on every issue, will make the effort we made from 2011 to 2015 to have Israel look more favorably on the benefits of such a conference. Russia has largely sacrificed its credibility on WMD issues with its own use of chemical weapons and its uncritical — and simply unbelievable — defense of the use of chemical weapons by its ideological partner, the Assad regime in Damascus. The United Kingdom still has credibility but is largely consumed by Brexit and other challenges.

On the regional side, Israel feels no pressure from any side to engage in further discussions, and — to my knowledge — no Arab state has sought bilateral discussions with Israel if only to explore what may be possible. Egypt continues to views its leadership on this issue as being more important than achieving results. And the credibility of Arab states as advocates for a WMD-free zone has diminished, with too few Arab voices condemning Syria’s use of chemical weapons against civilians, and virtually no Arab state condemning Saudi Arabia’s stated readiness to pursue nuclear weapons.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The UK could assert a leadership role in moving forward at least a discussion of process. I don’t expect Egyptian diplomats to seek a dialogue with their Israeli counterparts, but less timid Arab diplomats could do so. The Chairman of the 2020 Review Conference could use his position to require the Arab states and the conveners (i.e., Egypt and the United States) to engage in discussion of a compromise text on the issue before or at least at the very beginning of the RevCon, rather than putting it off until the final 24 hours of the conference. Perhaps the most important question is whether the Nonaligned Movement will continue to allow its interest in the success of the entire Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to be held hostage to this single issue. I can confidently tell you now that if - as in 2015 — Egypt is given the sole authority to decide the fate of a Final Document, without being required to report back to the nonaligned membership, the result of the 2020 Review Conference will be the same or worse as in 2015.

A far more important issue for the region is the increasing confrontation between Iran and the United States. The U.S. President’s decision to be the first of seven signatories to violate the JCPOA — violate is the correct term, because there is no provision in the deal for a signatory to ‘withdraw’ — has undermined global confidence in the reliability of the United States, undermined the systems of agreements and alliances that have reduced conflict in the world, increased the risk of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and created a growing risk of a major military conflict between the United States and Iran.

US credibility has been damaged. It is hard to imagine why Iran — or North Korea — would want to conclude an agreement with a President who discards international agreements so easily.

The U.S. decision, combined with similar decisions on other treaties, undermines a global system that has — if not always preserved peace — greatly reduced the number of conflicts in the world, and promoted economic prosperity. By violating UNSCR 2231, the United States has further damaged the ability of the UN Security Council to resolve world issues, and it has forfeited the power of one of its main arguments, that Iran (and North Korea) are in violation of Security Council resolutions. If the European Union does not take every possible measure to preserve the JCPOA, as it seems inclined to do, it would be hard to imagine why the EU bothers with a foreign policy.

The JCPOA did not solve all issues between Iran, its neighbors, and the United States; no single agreement could. But it undid much of Iran’s physical progress toward the creation of bomb material, and it did establish a lasting verification program that would have ensured Iran could never achieve nuclear weapons. Iran has so far resisted the temptation to respond to the U.S. violation by resuming enrichment or suspending cooperation with the IAEA. I hope it continues to do so. But there are already voices in Tehran — and in Riyadh — talking about resuming, or initiating, activities intended to advance a nuclear weapons program.

The United States has abandoned any pretense of seeking a diplomatic breakthrough between Iran and its neighbors and opted instead for a declaration of all-out economic warfare against the Islamic Republic. It has provided no diplomatic off-ramp for Iran and the United States to discuss these issues, setting the complete fulfillment of American demands as the prerequisite for dialogue. The Administration has adopted every element of a policy of ‘regime change’, omitting only the words ‘regime change’.

I see the likelihood of war between Iran and the United States growing through one, or a combination, of the following factors: the U.S. President’s inexperience and recklessness; the advice of his top two foreign policy officials, who have long advocated for military action against Iran; the urging of Middle Eastern regimes that want to use the U.S. military to change the balance of power in the region; and/or a foolhardy provocation from Iran itself. And of course, the proximity of U.S. and Iranian naval forces in the Gulf means that an unintended incident is always a possible event, and would offer an excuse for militaristic leaders on either side to escalate to actual conflict.

I’m not sure how the threat of war looks to those of you here in the Middle East. From Washington, what I see is increasingly reminiscent of the rhetoric, and the outright falsehoods, deployed by the Bush Administration when ideologues, including John Bolton, drove the United States into its most disastrous foreign adventure of the last half-century, the invasion of Iraq. There were many losers in that misconceived war, but only one clear winner: Iran.

The threat Iran poses to the region and its stability is clear. It seeks to be the winner in a regional ballistic missile race, but it’s not the only regional state playing that game. It holds thousands of political prisoners, though fewer than the tens of thousands held in Egypt. It has for years murdered its own citizens living abroad, but so has Saudi Arabia. It interferes in Yemen, but it is NOT primarily Iranian military activity that has caused the greatest famine and epidemic of disease that the Arab world has seen in the last 50 years. The Iranian leadership is hypocritical, corrupt and kleptocratic, but that is not a unique condition, as you can see from a visit to Washington.

I do believe that Iran’s malign activities must be countered, met with resolve. I would like to see the United States lead that effort. But I would also like to see the United States choose its partners in that effort not according to how fervently they hate Iran, not according to how well they stroke the President’s ego, but according to their reliability and effectiveness, and according to whether those partners share values that used to be important to Washington, such as respect for human rights and a preference for peaceful resolution of disputes. When Iran’s secret nuclear program was disclosed in 2010, the world reacted with condemnation and concern, and the United States was able to organize effective multilateral sanctions. Today, the world is more concerned about Washington’s violation, and the imposition of unilateral U.S. sanctions — which can never be as effective as the multilateral effort of six and seven years ago - underlines how the United States has isolated itself, further weakening its alliances and partnerships across the globe.

This is a more dangerous situation for you who live in this region than it is for me, living in the United States. I believe it is crucial for the States of the region to focus on the objectionable activities of the Iranian government, rather than falling back to the simplistic and dangerous axiom that Iran is an implacable enemy.

These view expressed herein should be understood to be solely those of the author and should not be attributed to the association, its board of directors, officers, or other staff members, or to organizations and individuals that support the Arms Control Association.


Remarks from Thomas Countryman to the Amman Security Colloquium

The Past, Present and Future of the Chemical Weapons Convention



The Past, Present and Future of the Chemical Weapons Convention

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
Conference on Chemical Weapons, Armed Conflict, and Humanitarian Law
Queens University, Kingston, Ontario
October 29, 2018

Good afternoon. Thanks to the Canadian Red Cross for inviting me here to Queens University to participate in this important and timely conference on one of the world’s most dangerous types of weapons.

Chemical weapons use has been outlawed worldwide for over 90 years and outlawed comprehensively through the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which bans all development, production, and deployment of deadly chemical arms and requires the verifiable destruction of remaining stockpiles.

Over the past twenty-plus years of the CWC’s existence, it has become a very sophisticated, resilient and effective disarmament regime. The OPCW has been tremendously successful in overseeing the demilitarization of vast chemical weapons stockpiles.

But the work of eliminating prohibited chemical weapons stockpiles is not quite over.

Not all states are party to the CWC, the use of chemical weapons has not completely abated, and the chemicals and technologies that can be used to create these weapons are still, all around us.

As the Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Fernando Arias said in an interview last month:

“…our mission to verifiably destroy declared stockpiles has a conceivable end point. But our mission to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons requires constant vigilance.”

Conferences like this one are a part of the ongoing work to reinforce the taboo against chemical weapons. In my talk today, I’m going to sketch out what the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention is and what it has accomplished. But to understand where we are, we need to consider where we have been. So, I want to begin with a brief review of the history surrounding the development, use, and reactions to chemical warfare. Then I will talk about the CWC itself, what it does and the challenges the regime faces today.

The Use of Chemical Weapons and the Evolution of the Norm Against Them

The use of harmful chemicals in warfare, personal attacks, and assassinations dates back centuries, but the rise of industrial production of chemicals in the late 19th century opened the door to more massive use of chemical agents in combat.

The first major use of chemicals on the battlefield was in World War I when Germany released chlorine gas from pressurized cylinders in April 1915 on the front lines near Ypres in Belgium.

Ironically, this attack did not technically violate the 1899 Hague Peace Conference Declaration, the first international attempt to limit chemical agents in warfare, which banned only “the use of projectiles” designed to diffuse poison gases.

Later, both sides would employ chemical weapons. And with the more widespread introduction of mustard gases in 1917, chemical weapons and agents injured some one million soldiers and killed approximately 100,000 during World War I.

In the United States and Canada, the public was particularly shocked by the prevalence of ailments suffered by returning veterans due to their exposure to chemical agents. That revulsion would, in turn, lead to the push for the Geneva Protocol of 1925 which sought to ban the use of biological and chemical weapons in the field of conflict.

However, the Geneva Protocol does not regulate the production, research or stockpiling of these weapons. It allows nations to reserve the right to retaliate with chemical weapons should it be subject to chemical attack.

Unfortunately, many of the countries that joined would join belatedly and with major reservations. China, France, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom all joined in the 1920s. Others would not join until much later. Japan did not join until 1970 and the United States until 1975. While limited, the Geneva Protocol helped to establish an international norm against CW use.

The taboo, however, was not strong enough.

Between the two world wars, there were a number of reports of use of chemical weapons in regional conflicts: 

  • Morocco in 1923-1926
  • Libya in 1930
  • China in 1934
  • Ethiopia in 1935-1940, and
  • Manchuria in 1937-1942

After the end of World War II in 1945, several states, particularly the United States and the Soviet Union build up chemical weapons stockpiles as part of their Cold War standoff.

And there were sporadic chemical weapons attacks in regional wars, including in the Yemen war of 1963-1967 when Egypt bombed Yemeni villages, killing some 1,500 people.

There were major uses of chemical weapons by Iraq in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war and in Saddam Hussein’s bombing of the Kurds in Halabja in 1988. Saddam Hussein’s chemical attacks helped created a sense of urgency to the slow-moving CWC negotiations, which had begun in the early 1980s.

The failure of the United States in the 1980s to condemn the attacks against Iran undoubtedly emboldened Saddam Hussein. In response, other countries in the Middle East, particularly Syria, accelerated their chemical weapons programs.

Since the Chemical Weapons Convention came into force in 1997, the most significant cases of chemical weapons use have –of course – been in Syria during its brutal civil war.

Chemical Weapons Use Since 1997

The Assad regime launched chemical attacks against opposition forces on numerous occasions beginning in 2012, including a massive Sarin attack in August 2013 that killed more than 1,400 people.

The UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) found the Syrian government responsible for numerous other attacks, including in April 2014, March 2015, March 2016 and April 2017.

It also found the Islamic State responsible for chemical weapons attacks in August 2015 and September 2016.

Human rights observers continue to document further chemical weapons incidents in Syria.

In February 2017, North Korean agents used VX, a nerve agent, to assassinate Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In March 2018, the Russia agents used a Novichok to assassinate a former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter in the UK. These most recent incidents and attacks over the past six years have severely tested the chemical weapons prohibition regime.

The Path to the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention

Today that regime is centered around the CWC. But the path to the CWC was not easy or quick.

And it was by no means a fate accompli.

In 1974, the Soviet Union and the United States commenced bilateral discussions on reducing chemical weapons stockpiles.

Formal, multilateral negotiation began at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva in 1980.

The questions the negotiators had to grapple with were not simple, some of them included:

  • Should a new treaty just address certain American and Russian or Soviet stockpiles of nerve agents and mustard gas, or blister agents, as a first step towards a more comprehensive treaty?
  • Should it be a global treaty?
  • Should it ban just certain chemical agents and stockpiles that could be used for weapons or should it be a comprehensive ban? If so, what does that actually mean? How do you verify compliance?
  • Also, how do you establish criteria that would enable you to distinguish between the toxic chemicals that we need to prohibit and those that are needed for peaceful purposes that and or that we simply don't have to worry about it?

Through the 1980s there were no major breakthroughs. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union began developing even more dangerous agents, the Novichoks, and it expanded the production program of the traditional chemical warfare agents.

Nevertheless, under Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the Russians began to recognize and accept the need for mandatory onsite inspections as part of any global chemical weapons control regime.

Another important impetus was the engagement and support of the chemical industry. By the late-1980s, the industry had begun to realize that there might be a treaty and if so, they needed to get on board and make sure it would be something they could live with.

By 1989 these U.S.-Soviet negotiations produced a bilateral memorandum of understanding concerning verification and data exchange.

Finally, the CWC negotiations were concluded and the treaty was opened for signature in January 1993. The 65 ratifications needed for entry into force were achieved by April 1997.

The Chemical Weapons Convention

Today, the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) current has 193 states party and is implemented by the 500-person strong Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) headquartered in The Hague.

Israel has signed but has yet to ratify the convention. Three states have neither signed nor ratified the convention—Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan.

North Korea is perhaps the country of greatest concern. It has an estimated to possess a large arsenal of chemical weapons, likely over 5,000 metric tons, including mustard, phosgene, and nerve agents.

Syria is a party to the convention but is not in compliance.

The major work of the OPCW involves reviewing states-parties’ declarations detailing chemical weapons-related activities or materials and relevant industrial activities. After receiving declarations, the OPCW inspects and monitors, on an ongoing basis, states-parties’ facilities and activities that are relevant to the convention, to ensure compliance.

The Chemical Weapons Convention mandates several key obligations:

  • Developing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling, or retaining chemical weapons.
  • The direct or indirect transfer of chemical weapons.
  • Assisting, encouraging, or inducing other states to engage in CWC-prohibited activity.
  • The use of riot control agents “as a method of warfare.”

The CWC regulates chemical agents and the facilities that produce and store according to a set of categories and “schedules” listed in the treaty that based on the severity of risk they pose:

  • Schedule 1 chemicals and precursors pose a “high risk” to the convention and are rarely used for peaceful purposes. These include VX and sarin.
  • Schedule 2 chemicals are toxic chemicals that pose a “significant risk” to the convention and are precursors to the production of Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 chemicals. These chemicals are not produced in large quantities for commercial or other peaceful purposes. One example is phosgene.
  • Schedule 3 chemicals are usually produced in large quantities for purposes not prohibited by the CWC but still pose a risk.

Destruction Requirements

The main result of the CWC over the past decade has been the verified destruction of the vast bulk of declared chemical weapons stockpiles and facilities. This has been an enormous undertaking.

Of the 193 states-parties to the CWC, eight had or still have declared chemical weapons stockpiles.

Of those eight countries, Albania, South Korea, India, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Russia have completed destruction of their declared arsenals.

As of December 2016, 90 of the 97 chemical weapons production facilities declared to the OPCW have either been destroyed or converted for peaceful purposes.

In addition, the OPCW has undertaken more than 5,000 inspections of more than 200 chemical weapons-related sites (stockpiles, former production facilities, and laboratories) and more than 1,100 chemical industry sites in 82 countries.

Russia and the United States

When Russia, the United States, and Libya declared that they would be unable to meet their final destruction deadlines by the treaty-mandated date of 2012, CWC state parties agreed to extend the deadlines with increased national reporting and transparency.

At the time the CWC was concluded, Russia had the largest declared stockpile with 40,000 metric tons at seven arsenals in six regions—oblasts and republics—of Russia.

The United States declared 28,577 metric tons at nine stockpiles in eight states and on Johnston Atoll west of Hawaii.

The U.S. Army initially planned to construct three centralized incinerators to destroy the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile, and early schedules optimistically showed the United States completing operations in 1994.

Congress subsequently banned transportation of chemical munitions on safety and security grounds, necessitating the current plan for a destruction facility at each of the nine U.S. sites at which chemical weapons are stored.

These concerns over transportation of chemical weapons and over incineration as a method of disposal led to major changes in the U.S. demilitarization program, adding to cost and creating schedule delays. In my view, however, the changes were worthwhile from a public health standpoint.

The United States aims to complete the process by 2023. It will have cost around $45 billion to complete.

The Successful CW Removal and Destruction Operation in Syria

In 2012, the Syrian government finally admitted what had been long suspected: that it had chemical weapons. Then, in August 2013, the Assad regime launched a Sarin attack with rockets into the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, which led U.S. President Barack Obama to threaten the use of force to try to destroy Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal in August and September of 2013.

This threat prompted Moscow to work with Washington to help compel Assad to join the CWC on September 12, 2013 and declare its chemical weapons stockpile and agree to a plan for its elimination soon after.

This led to an ambitious operation that led to the verified removal and elimination of Syria’s massive arsenal of 1,308 metric tons of chemical agents, storage and production facilities, and associated equipment under the auspices of the OPCW—all in the middle of the ferocious Syrian civil war.

The complex, multinational disposal operation was a major milestone that effectively eliminated the threat of further large-scale chemical weapons attacks by the Assad regime against the Syrian people and neighboring states.

The destruction processes were carried out through a remarkable operation on board the US Merchant Marine ship, Cape Ray, and in four countries – Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The OPCW announced that the entirety of Syria’s declared stockpile of 1,308 metric tons of sulfur mustard agent and precursor chemicals had been destroyed by January 2016.

However, reports continue to surface of chemical weapon use in Syria, raising questions about the accuracy of its initial declaration.

Current and Future Challenges to the CWC

CWC states parties and the OPCW have almost fulfilled the foundational goal of the CWC: the destruction of the world’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles. More than 96% have been destroyed under OPCW supervision.

Unfinished Business: But despite the global ban and the successful destruction work, we are still seeing the ongoing use of chemical weapons by states and by some terrorist networks, the remaining U.S. stockpile must be destroyed, and four more states, Egypt, Israel, North Korea, and South Sudan still need to join the convention.

  • Destruction of the remaining U.S. Stockpile by 2023
  • Universalization: North Korea and its est. stockpile of 5,000 tonnes of agent, and the Middle East
  • Noncompliance and accountability

National Implementation: Another challenge is ensuring compliance with the treaty’s provisions on national implementation, meaning efforts to put in place effective regulations and export control mechanisms for chemical agents.

Adapting Verification System: The CWC verification regime also needs to be adapted to match verification resources to CW proliferation challenges. More than half of all OPCW inspections are still related to disarmament, limiting the ability of the organization to detect and deter proliferation. There is an increasing number of chemical production facilities that pose proliferation risks, such as flexible, multipurpose production plants.

Closing the Loophole on Riot Control Agents: Article II.9(d) of the Chemical Weapons Convention designates law enforcement, including domestic riot control, as a potentially acceptable purpose for the use of certain toxic chemicals.

However, the range of potentially permissible chemicals has not been established. This provides a possible loophole for the use and development of ever-more sophisticated agents for such purposes would work against the prohibition of chemical weapons. There are 39 countries pushing to close this loophole.

Developing A New Attribution Mechanism

The war in Syria has put the issue of attribution in the spotlight, particularly in instances where CWC member-state Russia, which is Syria’s ally, has used its UN Security Council veto to thwart investigations.

The independent OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) has determined that chemical weapons were used by Syria and the Islamic State group, but Russia has blocked its renewal by the UN Security Council last year.

With new authority granted by CWC member-states earlier this year, Arias has said the OPCW is putting in place arrangements for the purpose of identifying entities responsible for chemical weapons use.

A special office for attribution will consist of a head of investigations and a few investigators and analysts who will be supported by existing Technical Secretariat expertise and structures.

“Those responsible [for chemical weapons attacks] should now have nowhere to hide and should be held accountable by the international community for breaking the global norm against chemical weapons,” Arias said last month in an interview with Arms Control Today.

The fourth review conference of the CWC will take place next month and member states will grapple with the ongoing task of ensuring that treaty obligations are fully implemented and that the CWC and the OPCW can be adapted in order to meet new challenges.

To help the OPCW in that mission, governments and nongovernmental actors have a responsibility to ensure the chemical weapons prohibition regime has the necessary political and public support, and technical and financial resources to verify compliance – and hold accountable those who may violate the chemical weapons taboo.

I want to thank you for the chance to speak to you today. I look forward to your questions.


Remarks by Daryl Kimball to the Conference on Chemical Weapons, Armed Conflict and Humanitarian Law at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario on October 29, 2018 

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Tools of the Trade: Interactive Tech Fair on Nuclear Detection & Response



The Nuclear Security Forum
Tools of the Trade:
Interactive Tech Fair on Nuclear Detection & Response

Friday, October 12th, 2018

Opening Remarks (TRANSCRIPT BELOW) By:
Jay Tilden, Associate Administrator and Deputy Undersecretary for Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation, NNSA

Keynote By:
General James Jones, Former National Security Advisor & Supreme Allied Commander Europe

The Partnership for a Secure America, the Arms Control Association, the Hudson Institute, and the National Nuclear Security Administration held an interactive lunch event featuring former National Security Advisor General James Jones, and experts from the National Nuclear Security Administration. This was be the second event of the bipartisan Nuclear Security Forum series.

This workshop explored U.S. government capabilities for preventing, detecting, and responding to nuclear and radiological terrorism threats. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage directly with NNSA’s Office of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation and participate in live demonstrations of radiation detection equipment used in field operations. Each stage of this interactive tech fair allowed attendees to explore tools of the trade with specialized equipment and NNSA experts.

Radiological materials are an essential tool for medical diagnosis and treatment, power generation, national security, agriculture, and many industries. Legitimate shipments of radioactive materials are routinely conducted and regulated by domestic and international entities, but in rare cases these shipments have been lost or stolen. Had these or similar materials fallen into the wrong hands, they could have been used malevolently in dirty bombs or radiation exposure devices.

The U.S. is fortunate that, to date, attacks using radiological materials have not occurred but the NNSA maintains state of the art instrumentation and highly qualified scientists and engineers to counter and respond to radiological threats, as well as providing relevant subject matter expertise to governmental decision makers during an accident or incident.

NNSA’s Office of Counterproliferation and Counterterrorism stands ready to counter and respond to any malicious use of these materials through innovative science, technology and policy driven solutions. Join us on Friday, October 12th for a first-hand look into how NNSA’s experts counter and respond to threats of nuclear terrorism.

For more information about The Nuclear Security Forum and to read our first of its kind report "Empowering Congress on Nuclear Security: Blueprints for a New Generation."

Partnership for a Secure America, the Arms Control Association, and Hudson Institute would like to thank the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for their support of this nuclear security initiative.


Jay Tilden: Thank you for the kind introduction, Nate, and thanks to the Partnership for a Secure America, the Arms Control Association, and the Hudson Institute for sponsoring this important and timely event. Today, this forum will provide a snapshot into how we, at the National Nuclear Security Administration work to prevent, detect and respond to a broad range of nuclear threats, including nuclear terrorism, as well as some of the equipment we use in this mission. After my opening remarks, we are honored to have as our keynote speaker, retired Marine Corps General Jim Jones. I look forward to hearing General Jones’ wise perspectives, given his over 40 years of service to the country in multiple national security positions, including Commandant of the Marine Corps, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander, US European Command, as well as the 22nd National Security Advisor.

Later on, you all will be able to see the some of the equipment and talk with our Radiological Assistance Program team members who are here today, and let’s give those folks a big thank you not just for being here, but for being ready to respond at a moments’ notice to protect the public health and safety. My goal is to briefly put the equipment and these teams in context.

First, I will review how the NNSA applies science to understand the range of potential threats, then how that understanding informs the many USG agencies and various programs we use to prevent, detect, or interdict such threats, and finally, a general discussion on how NNSA responds to such a nuclear threat.


Today, we face two primary nuclear threats; the first has existed for decades, and that is a nuclear terrorism threat involving a lost, stolen or diverted nuclear weapon from proliferant states or from a potentially failed nuclear weapon state. Additional scenarios that we are prepared for include a terrorist group obtaining radiological or nuclear material and fashioning this into some type of radiological dispersal or explosive device. The second major line of concern involves an actual nuclear attack, by a proliferant, rogue, or hostile nation with nuclear weapons. This attack may be done in a potentially non-attributable manner, possibly with a smaller, more tactical nuclear device, placed surreptitiously in our homeland or that of a close ally. Until proven, this scenario would likely be viewed initially as a possible nuclear terrorism event.

To understand the potential for nuclear terrorism, we must start with the technical range of possibilities. To bound that, we rely upon our historical knowledge base and the deep subject matter expertise resident at our national laboratories in the areas of nuclear weapons and potential improvised nuclear or explosive devices. We use the “state of the art” tools and techniques developed by our close partner, NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs (Who maintains the nation’s nuclear deterrent), to inform our understanding of what we might be up against if we confront a “loose nuke” or other terrorist improvised nuclear explosive threat. We have a dedicated cadre of federal, national laboratory, plant, and support contractor professionals who are committed to both understanding the potentialities as well as deploying and supporting any USG response.

Much of this same knowledge base helps us to prepare for either an overt or surreptitious nuclear attack by a hostile nation, or threat thereof. All of this is underpinned with the latest intelligence as provided by the Intelligence Community and DOE’s own intelligence office.

Informing USG Programs

Ok, so now that we have framed the problem from a technical, threat-informed perspective. NNSA uses these perspectives to inform a broad swath of nonproliferation and counterterrorism efforts across the U.S. government. Starting with the Prevent “away game,” my colleagues in NNSA’s Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation continue to secure, minimize or remove all manner of nuclear or high-activity radiological material around the globe. NNSA is continuing to retrofit highly enriched uranium research reactors to low enrichment fuel, making that material unattractive for a terrorist group. Furthermore, not only is NNSA continuing to develop, in conjunction with commercial partners, new medical technologies that remove highly radioactive sources from the civil marketplace, they are also providing security upgrades to those facilities that retain such high activity sources.

Removing these materials from the terrorist reach remains the primary objective of our multi-layered approach.

Regarding the “transition domain (i.e. pathways or materials in transit)” NNSA and the Department work closely with key interagency organizations across the federal government, including the Intelligence Community, DoD, Homeland Security and the FBI, to detect, identify and interdict or disrupt such threats, be they nuclear material smuggling, illicit technology transfers, or an actual nuclear terror plot. NNSA continues to install both fixed and mobile nuclear material detection systems in key partner countries while providing training to those customs, border, and law enforcement agencies regarding detection and interdiction of nuclear or radiological materials outside of regulatory control. In support of these efforts, we also provide both commodity identification training and table top exercises to these partner countries to connect the technical, operational and policy elements of their governments in response to a realistic terrorist or illicit transfer scenario. Through these table top exercises and the select provisioning of detection equipment, we sensitize other countries about nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation to help them counter nuclear dangers for themselves and for others in their region, far from our shores.

In the Fall of 2015, NNSA provided Commodity Identification Training and an "Eminent Discovery" WMD counterterrorism interdiction tabletop exercise for the Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Unit and Kenyan Wildlife Service, which controls most of the borders. The exercise familiarized the Kenyan participants on WMD threats and precursor materials to enable a national level coordinated response. According to Kenyan media and U.S. Embassy reporting, in August 2016 five Kenyans were arrested on terrorism-related charges after trafficking chemical precursors, explosive devices, and an object containing Cesium-137. The Kenyan officials involved in this interdiction had attended the commodity identification training and exercise NNSA had provided the previous year and attributed their success to that training.


Now, this brings us a bit closer to the “Home game” in securing the nation. There are a lot of organizations and a great number of people who contribute to the nuclear counterterrorism mission and securing the nation. DHS, through its Customs and Border Protection and Domestic Nuclear Detection functions, serves as the front trenches of the last lines of defense. Careful use of law enforcement and intelligence information, combined with radiation detection equipment at our ports, border crossings, and airports could be the first trigger leading to the disruption of the nuclear plot. I’d like to reiterate here, that one of the best “technologies” is in fact our intelligence and law enforcement colleagues and their networks.

So if a threat were to reach our shores and homeland, the Department of Energy and the NNSA have teams that stand ready to respond to a broad array of nuclear incidents or accidents. Often one of our earliest assets to engage is Triage, a secure, on-line capability that provides remote support to law enforcement, public safety officials, and emergency responders in the event that nuclear or radiological spectra, a.k.a. alarm information, has been obtained.

Triage has on-call scientists and specialist available 24 hours a day to analyze transmitted data, assess radioisotope identification, and confirm within 60 minutes of receipt, if the material is indicative of a threat or concern to the public health and safety. If any domestic radiation portal monitors detect a radiation source and on-site personnel cannot clear the alarm (determine it is an authorized shipment), the Department of Homeland Security also relies upon our Triage to provide definitive analysis of their detection data.

NNSA’s response assets include both national-level and regionally distributed technical capabilities for Crisis Response and Consequence Management phases of an event. One of NNSA’s most deployed elements, the Radiological Assistance Program, or RAP, is a unique national, yet regionally distributed asset composed of highly trained and skilled scientific and health physics personnel who have unparalleled radiological expertise among national, state and local emergency response organizations. RAP, which just celebrated its 60th anniversary, is based out of eight DOE and NNSA locations across the country as well as here in DC. RAP can be fully mobilized within two hours in an emergency, responding to state and local matters like lost sources or potential exposures to radiation, as well as supporting law enforcement or intelligence-based search operations for material out of regulatory control.

RAP teams are also part of the interagency effort, often led by DHS, to secure major public event venues, like the Superbowl, presidential inaugurations, the Boston Marathon, and other designated events.

For example, in 2016, a vessel that had previously made stops in Pakistan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia was approached and boarded by the U.S. Coast Guard 10 nautical miles offshore from Astoria, Oregon. Basic radiation pager detectors alarmed after a Coast Guard sweep of the ship, indicating both gamma and neutron activity. Additionally, two people on the ship’s manifest were unaccounted for – possibly a clerical error or they had jumped ship at a prior stop, raising further suspicions.

The Coast Guard called in support from the DOE, FBI, and Oregon 102nd WMD Civil Support Team. Our RAP Region 8 team deployed immediately, with specialized equipment to support the FBI. The four-person team spent several hours aboard the ship and were able to prove that the radiation emanated from natural sources within the cargo. The ship was then permitted to travel to its next port of call, the Port of Vancouver, Washington.

This exemplifies the focus and commitment of the members of our RAP teams. Most often, they are unlikely to know the situation they will be encountering but with state of the art equipment and training, they are among our nation’s first and best resources to confirm a potential radiological or nuclear event.

Another element within the agency that can be deployed preemptively, like RAP, during an emerging incident or in support of consequence management is the Aerial Measuring System, or AMS. Using fixed and rotary-winged airframes with state of the art sodium iodide detectors, AMS can measure naturally occurring radiation as well as radioactive sources or the disposition of radioactive matter on the ground as a result of an incident. Once mapped real time via GIS technologies, these measurements can be used to secure major public events (identifying radiological or nuclear anomalies that could indicate a threat) or in a real emergency, to guide state and local agencies regarding immediate protective actions. The Aerial Measuring System’s flight pattern will be informed by the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability, which is the nation’s premier modeling capability for dispersal and deposition of radiological material. We use NARAC, and its real time weather feed, to not only model potential impacts as a situation is emerging, but also to quickly inform decision makers and public health and safety officials during an event.

Both the Aerial Measuring System and NARAC were employed along with expert personnel to Fukushima after that reactor accident in March 2011, providing critical advice to US and Japanese emergency managers. We recently recapitalized the NARAC high performance computer to improve speed and accuracy of throughputs. We continue to replace and upgrade a wide range of our RAP and other deployable equipment and in FY19, we will begin replacement of the Aerial Measuring System’s airframes, all thanks to congressional support of our budget requests.

If a US nuclear weapon were involved in an accident, the Accident Response Group would be deployed with the military to stabilize and safely remove the damaged weapon and return it to NNSA custody. If the incident was an emerging threat involving a foreign nuclear weapon or improvised explosive device with radiological or nuclear signatures, NNSA has several response assets that would be tailored to the problem and deployed, domestically or internationally, in support of the FBI stateside and DoD or Dept. of State internationally. NNSA is also instrumental in the provisioning and sustainment of the FBI Stabilization Teams. Known as “Stab,” these regional teams marry the conventional IED professionals in major metropolitan areas with enhanced tools and training provided by NNSA, forming a distributed capability to speed our understanding and actions on any high-consequence explosive device while the national team is enroute. Once the device is rendered unworkable and safe—NNSA determines when and how the device can be safely moved out of the incident site. Finally, we are part of an integrated team including the FBI and IC professionals that would perform detailed traditional and nuclear forensics to attribute the device to the responsible party.

None of these actions would be possible without technical reach-back or ”Home Team” support—the dedicated and knowledgeable scientists, engineers and specialist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, the Remote Sensing Laboratory and the Pantex plant. When combined with our federal team leaders and senior energy officials, these home teams provide decisive real-time diagnostic and assessment support via highly secure mobile communications to the deployed teams.

Protecting the Public Health and Safety During and After and Event

While we hope never to have to use them, our consequence management efforts seek to save as many lives as possible. As a nation, we need to continue to educate and prepare our citizens for all hazards, from natural ones (fires, floods, earthquakes) to manmade ones (radiological or nuclear accidents or attacks). I would like to remind you that the ability to generate panic or fear equates to a coercive power in our adversary’s eyes, both hostile nation states and terrorists. A major dividend of investing in preparedness will be communities that are less prone to panic, which in turn saves lives, increases our resilience, and reduces our adversaries’ power of coercion.

Through longstanding relationships with federal, state and local emergency preparedness and response agencies, NNSA has made great improvements in our capability for modeling, understanding the public health and safety consequences of a radiological or nuclear incident, as well as improving interagency messaging to the public before and during an event. NNSA sustains a small cadre of medical and health physics professionals, known as the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center and Training Site at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to both train and advise state and local medical institutions on how to save lives during a radiological emergency.

Hopefully this broad overview of our people, assets and their application of technologies to detect nuclear materials and nuclear or radiological threats will give you a sampling of the great work we are doing in these areas. I am honored and quite proud to work with such smart, dedicated people, on these issues.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing your questions and comments during the remainder of this event.


Remarks by Jay Tilden, Associate Administrator and Deputy Undersecretary for Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration, at a congressional staff event co-hosted by the Arms Control Association, Partnership for a Secure America, and the Hudson Institute.

ACA Board Chair on Pathways to a Nuclear Weapon Free World



Pathways to a Nuclear Weapon Free World

Remarks by Thomas Countryman
Chairman of the Arms Control Association
to the International Symposium for Peace 
Nagasaki, Japan
July 28, 2018


Panelists discuss working toward sustainable peace at the International Symposium for Peace “The Road to Nuclear Weapons Abolition” held on July 28 in Nagasaki. (Photo: Kengo Hiyoshi/Asahi Shimbun) Let me thank the organizers of today’s conference for bringing me again to Japan. In my current focus outside the government of the United States, continuing to push for real progress on nonproliferation and arms control measures, it's always a special pleasure to come to Japan. The Japanese role in leading the international diplomatic challenge to create the highest standards in arms control and nonproliferation is unparalleled. Not only as a partner of the United States but in its own leadership role, Japan has done much to create the modern nonproliferation regime that has greatly reduced but not yet eliminated the threat that weapons of mass destruction pose to all of us.

It is especially moving to be here in Nagasaki. Visiting the memorial yesterday, a sacred place, brought back to me what President Abraham Lincoln said at the site of the bloodiest battle America ever witnessed: that those who have fallen on this site “have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract”. I sensed on this spot what no book can convey: the enormous challenge and the risk that humanity continues to face in the presence of 15,000 nuclear weapons in this world. Here I want to commend the very special role the hibakusha have played in preserving vital lessons for the memory of humanity. For 70 years, they have spread the simple truth that a human being is not just a statistic. They will touch future generations long after their own has passed from this world. I wish that every American and every world leader would have the opportunity to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki as I have.

Current Challenges

It is much easier to talk about the challenges to nuclear disarmament than it is to describe a simple path to a world free of nuclear weapons. So let me dwell first on the current challenges that we face.

First, the two major nuclear powers, the United States and the Russian Federation, have passed a turning point in their nuclear doctrines and nuclear arsenals. After about 40 years of a steady decrease in the size and diversity of their nuclear arsenals and the mission that each assigned to their nuclear weapons, both Washington and Moscow have turned a corner towards expanding the size and variety of arsenals and the circumstances for their use.

U.S. 2018 Nuclear Posture Review

The U.S. administration’s Nuclear Posture Review from this February is not a radical change from the previous nuclear posture but it is a significant change in direction. In calling for the development of new low-yield nuclear weapons, the United States is thinking more actively and – in my view - making more thinkable the use of low-yield nuclear weapons in the context of a conventional conflict. As so many have pointed out, there is no such thing as a limited nuclear war once that threshold has been crossed. “A nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon," George Shultz, who served as President Ronald Reagan's top diplomat, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in January. "You use a small one, then you go to a bigger one. I think nuclear weapons are nuclear weapons and we need to draw the line there."

Secondly, the Nuclear Posture Review describes with more specificity than before circumstances under which the United States would consider the use of nuclear weapons to encompass not only first use by an opponent but also a response to a devastating attack by cyber or other means. Just two years ago, the Obama administration considered carefully the possibility of proclaiming a no-first-use doctrine for U.S. nuclear weapons. That U.S. policy has now shifted towards a broader definition of possible first use is of deep concern to me.

Finally, I am most disappointed in the Nuclear Posture Review in that it effectively renounces the traditional leadership that the U.S has exercised on non-proliferation and arms control issues. It makes no mention of America’s binding legal obligation under Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to pursue a reduction in arsenals. It makes no new proposals for how the U.S. will move forward in negotiations with Russia and others. And it defers any meaningful action until security conditions in the world have improved. This retreat from global leadership, whether in arms control, in climate policy or in free trade agreements is unworthy of a nation that claims to be a superpower.


As concerned as I am about the direction of U.S. policy, I am even more concerned about the continuing development by Russia of new weapons and new delivery methods. Russia seems driven by an exaggerated fear, in fact, a paranoia, about the future capabilities of U.S. missile defense. I call these fears exaggerated because I believe that missile defense can never provide an impenetrable shield. Russia is building not only new generations of ICBMs but even more dangerous weapons systems that seem to step out of the pages of a science fiction comic book, including a nuclear torpedo of unlimited range and a nuclear-powered cruise missile. Russia seems intent on probing the boundaries of existing arms control agreements, particularly the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty which laid the basis for the next 25 years of successful arms limitations. Even more than the uninformed statements by the U.S. president, the rhetoric of the Russian president - increasingly defining Russia’s national power as a function of its nuclear arsenal - erodes both the prospect of future arms control and the moral taboo against initiating the use of nuclear weapons. The 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is due to expire in 2021 and although President Putin has raised the prospect of extending the treaty, President Trump has so far rebuffed such proposals.

Joint Comprehensive Program Of Action

In the shorter term, I am especially concerned about the U.S. decision to withdraw from, that is to violate, the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action with Iran. This agreement is unprecedented, both in its inspection and verification requirements, and it prevented the risk of a tenth state breaking into the nuclear weapons club. I do not believe that Iranian development of a nuclear weapon is imminent but I am deeply concerned about the follow-on effects of this decision, that is the undermining of U.S. credibility and commitment to any agreement, the creation of a serious dispute between the U.S. and its best allies in Europe and Asia, the erosion of the international rules-based order and a resurgent radicalism in Iran.

North Korea

I am less pessimistic but still deeply concerned about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. President Trump did the right thing, trading in violent rhetoric for an opportunity for dialogue. There are dozens of reasons to distrust North Korea’s approach to negotiations and to doubt the capability of the Trump administration to negotiate a meaningful, verifiable denuclearization of North Korea. But the pursuit of negotiation is far preferable to simply sleepwalking towards war, as we seemed to be doing a year ago.

Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)

The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty remains central to our shared global ambition to prevent the development of new nuclear weapons and to reduce existing arsenals. On the surface, the deliberations at NPT conferences often seem utterly divorced from the real world. In fact, all the concerns I’ve just listed have a real effect on the degree of consensus you can reach among NPT parties and on the commitment that other parties show to the treaty.

For the 2020 Review Conference, I can foresee the worst but I am determined to work for the best. The RevCon can easily be upset either by the U.S. and Russia sniping at each other or by the continued inability of the states in the Middle East to sit down together and begin the process of discussing a nuclear-weapon-free-zone in the Middle East. But the most severe threat to the unity of states-parties is the growing frustration of non-nuclear weapon states with the pace of nuclear disarmament. Seeing no new U.S.-Russian agreements since 2010 and the new threatening developments in Washington and Moscow that I’ve already described, the majority of the world’s non-nuclear weapon states have made clear that they will demand more urgent progress in 2020.

Moving Towards a Nuclear Weapon Free World

So what can we do to move towards a world free from nuclear weapons?

Near-Term Steps

There are a number of steps that the United States and Russia could take right now that would change the current trajectory. First and most simply, to hear President Trump and President Putin repeat what Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan said in 1985 - that a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought - would be of value, would provide some reassurance that these two leaders understand their responsibilities to humanity. Secondly, the United States and Russia need to extend New START. Third, they need to make a political decision to work harder on resolving the dispute about compliance with the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty. And fourth there needs to be a more regular dialogue between Moscow and Washington on both the military and political level, to pursue risk reduction measures that would prevent a conventional conflict from escalating to a nuclear one and to explore other steps that would allow each to maintain security at a lower level of armament. Finally, the United States should reassert the leadership it showed after 2010 when it led an intensive dialogue among the P5 nuclear-weapon states to give the world greater transparency, to reduce nuclear risks, and to lay the groundwork for future multilateral arms control.

It’s not easy to get either Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin to do something that reminds them of Mikhail Gorbachev or Barack Obama. In fact, it’s not easy to get them to do something unless you can convince them that it was their own brilliant idea. But it is an obligation of the rest of the world to continue to press for this. I know from my own experience with bilateral diplomacy that meetings with either Russian or American leaders always have an agenda filled with urgent items and that concerns about long-term items such as arms control simply fall out of the conversation. It is crucial that not only Japanese leaders but all world leaders press both Presidents to take serious action.

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Beyond Moscow and Washington, what can non-nuclear weapon states do for themselves to move us towards a nuclear-weapon-free world? Many non-nuclear weapon states have sought to answer that question by negotiating a new treaty banning nuclear weapons, adopted last July.

The drafting of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons last year was historic. Some would like to see it as simply an expression of frustration on the part of the non-nuclear weapon states. It’s a lot more than that. It is a strong moral and ethical statement. And more than that, it is something tangible, something that can be touched by the hibakusha and the citizens of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It is a statement of reality that the risk of nuclear war is not born only by the nuclear-weapon states but by the entire world. And it is intended to serve as an impulse for further action globally on nuclear disarmament. I’m well aware of its limitations. The TPNW will not by itself immediately eliminate any nuclear weapons. And it does not provide a pathway for Washington and Moscow to overcome their current impasse.

I don’t see the discussion between advocates and skeptics of the TPNW as being an argument about practicalities or about whether this treaty can work. It is - or it should be - a respectful discussion about deterrence. Nations that face no immediate military threat tend to underestimate the importance that military alliances and military deterrence play for those states that do face actual military threats. Similarly, those states whether in Europe or in Asia that feel reassurance under the nuclear umbrella of the United States tend not to appreciate how strongly concerned other states are about the disastrous humanitarian effects that a nuclear war would cause.

What is needed now is a multi-sided discussion on a topic that is easy to define and extremely difficult to resolve: how to guarantee the security of the world and of each nation without resort to nuclear deterrence. This is a discussion that has to bring together not only the idealists and social activists who helped to bring about the TPNW but also the security experts and military leaders who have the responsibility of providing for their nations’ security. It has to bring together not only nuclear-weapon states but those who are allies of nuclear-weapon states and those who feel themselves to be far from any military threat. Given my own experience with the ineffectiveness of the United Nations as a place to discuss such difficult issues, I think it has to start smaller than a conference of 190 countries.

UN Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda

Washington and Moscow are not going to lead this discussion. What can the rest of the world do? The UN Secretary General has laid out a comprehensive blueprint on what needs to be done on disarmament issues to provide genuine security for our citizens. I love the document. I’d like to focus in particular on what he says about nuclear disarmament.

He calls on the United States and Russia to resolve INF compliance concerns, extend New START and pursue additional reductions. He encourages all states to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, to negotiate a fissile material cutoff treaty, establish a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, pursue nuclear risk reduction measures, and develop nuclear disarmament verification standards and techniques. He warned that the international community is moving backward on disarmament. “Let us all work together to bring new urgency to achieve the universal goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world,” he said while unveiling his agenda at the University of Geneva in late May.

So how do we take forward an idea on which not only everyone in this room but most of the world is united upon?

Joint Enterprise

Now is the time to convene a high-level summit approach to help overcome the impasse on nuclear disarmament. Leaders from a core group of states can invite their counterparts - 20 to 30 heads of states of nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon countries - to join a one or two day summit on steps to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. This could be a starting point for ongoing regular disarmament discussions at the expert and ministerial level. As the former foreign minister Kishida argued, this dialogue must be based both on a clear understanding of the devastating impact of nuclear weapon use and an objective assessment of the security concerns of states.

This is not a new idea. Four of the best American thinkers on such issues - George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn - have been arguing for several years for a Joint Enterprise, a new multilateral effort that would take concrete, practical steps to create the conditions that would make possible genuine nuclear disarmament. As outlined by the “four horsemen,” a Joint Enterprise summit would be supplemented by a joint communique from all participating states and national commitments to work towards disarmament. Unfortunately, the leadership of such an effort will not come from either Washington or Moscow. When the long-time ‘leader of the free world’ is deliberately stepping away from leadership, the other democratic nations of the world must take up the challenge. It’s up to Japan, to Germany, to Canada, to other nations that still believe in multilateralism to get this effort started.

Discussion of the conditions that would help achieve a nuclear weapons-free world must become as common among world leaders as discussions about tariffs or immigration. The constant raising of this topic is the responsibility of Presidents and Prime Ministers, and it is the duty of citizens of all nations to remind their leaders of this responsibility.

It is written in Pirkei Avot, a well-known Jewish text, that “you are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Here in Nagasaki, we say again that all of us – elected leaders, civil society organizations, and ordinary citizens – “we will not desist from this duty.”

Thank you and God bless you!




Remarks by Thomas Countryman to the International Symposium for Peace in Nagasaki, Japan

Press Briefing: Three-Party Talks on Peace and Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula



Dr. Tony Namkung, Daryl G. Kimball, Mark Fitzpatrick, and Kelsey Davenport address peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula at the National Press Club, July 27, 2018 (Photo: Arms Control Association)

National Press Club, First Amendment Lounge
529 14th St NW, Washington, DC
July 27, 2018 · 2pm-3:30pm


The transcript is available below.

This week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was pressed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee members on the status of negotiations with North Korea and the fulfillment of the pledge made by President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

Pompeo noted that there is an "awful long way to go" on complete and verifiable denuclearization, but that such remains the goal before the end of the Trump administration. He said the United States will not let diplomacy drag out forever.

But as the summit statement makes clear, progress toward the goal of denuclearization will depend, in part, on whether there is a process and a framework for establishing an enduring peace regime on the Korean peninsula.

On July 27—the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice—Tony Namkung will deliver remarks at a briefing hosted by the Arms Control Association on how a “three-party” framework for talks on reducing tensions and building a peace regime could work.

Namkung has been intimately involved for many years in fostering dialogue between North Korea, South Korea, Japan, and the United States and has made more than 70 trips to North Korea. He is largely credited with facilitating the release of three Americans from North Korea in 2014 and the release of two journalists in 2009. He was instrumental in President Jimmy Carter's visit to North Korea in 1994, which was critical for negotiations leading to the Agreed Framework. He has also advised Governor Bill Richardson on his work with North Korea. Namkung is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies.

Namkung’s presentation will be followed by an expert panel on the key steps and sequence for the final and verified denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, featuring:

  • Mark Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the IISS-Americas and the head of the Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme for the International Institute for Strategic Studies,
  • Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association, and
  • Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association.

The event was on the record.


    KIMBALL:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Daryl Kimball and I am the executive director of the independent, nonpartisan nongovernmental Arms Control Association based here in Washington, DC. We are dedicated to addressing the threats posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons, including, of course, nuclear weapons.

    We are here today at the National Press Club for our briefing on “Three-Party Talks on Peace and Talks on Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

    We gather here today on the 65th anniversary of the armistice of 1953. But as we all know, decades later, however, tensions between North Korea, South Korea, and South Korea's ally, the United States, has not ended.

    Over the course of the last several decades, North Korea has pursued dangerous capabilities including nuclear weapons and missile technology to protect their security, they say, and to deter potential U.S. aggression.

    For a long time, beginning with U.S. president George H.W. Bush, the U.S. has sought to use diplomacy and pressure to keep North Korea in compliance with its nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty obligations by verifiably halting and eliminating North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities.

    There has been some limited success in the past, such as the 1994 Agreed Framework pursued by President Bill Clinton that halted North Korea’s plutonium program for about eight years, but ultimately that agreement and other efforts fell apart as the two sides accused one another of failing to follow-through on their respective commitments.

    So, today, North Korea has a nuclear weapons arsenal of some 20-50 warheads–the exact number is not clear—and ballistic missiles that can deliver those weapons to targets in northeast Asia. Last year it successfully tested a long-range missile capable of reaching the United States.

    The reality is that any conflict with North Korea today would likely involve nuclear weapons and the death of millions if not tens of millions of Korean, Japanese, and American people in the region and beyond.

    After raising tensions through North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, Kim Jong Un—as well as Donald Trump and his threats of “fire and fury”—brought the situation last year nearly to the point at which many believed a war could break out. But Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump with the help of South Korea's President Moon Jae-in have now embarked on a different kind of effort, an effort to create a peace regime on the peninsula and an effort to halt and reverse, and hopefully, eliminate North Korea's dangerous nuclear and missile programs.

    So, earlier this year, the North Koreans said they would halt nuclear testing and ballistic missile testing.  North and South Korean leaders held a summit in Panmunjeom.  And later, North Korean destroyed some of the test tunnels at its one official nuclear test site.  

    And then, of course, at their historic summit in Singapore, June 12th, President Trump committed to providing security guarantees to the DPRK and Kim Jong Un re-affirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  

    And then after the summit, of course, President Trump agreed to temporarily suspend U.S.-South Korean military exercises as a sign of good faith and North Korea dismantled a missile test launch facility.  And then, of course, just in the past 24 hours, we've seen the State Department confirm that military transport aircraft has arrived back in South Korea with the remains of U.S. military personnel lost in the war.  

    So, all of these steps are important, confidence-building steps, but they're all reversible.  And the situation that we have today is still very uncertain and still dangerous.  And in their first round of post-summit follow-up talks held in Pyongyang earlier this year, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and his North Korean counterparts, unfortunately, did not make significant progress in their negotiations on these issues.  

    It's not clear to me or the Arms Control Association whether there's a clear process and the necessary political will to follow through on the ambitious goals outlined by President Trump and Chairman Kim in Singapore.  So, clearly, to maintain progress in the weeks and months and years ahead, each side is going to have to show greater flexibility, creativity, and leadership to advance the action-for-action steps on denuclearization as well as establishing a peace regime on the peninsula.  

    So, we're gathered here today because we wanted to focus attention on these two very important objectives and how the process can be moved forward, what some of the key steps might be, and what some of the priorities might be.  

    And we're very pleased to have with us here today Tony Namkung, to talk about how a three-party framework for talks on reducing tensions and building a peace regime on the peninsula could work.  Tony has been intimately involved for many years in fostering important dialogue between North Korea, South Korea, Japan and the United States and he has made an incredible number of trips, more than 70 or so, over the years.  And he's currently a visiting scholar at the University of Washington's Jackson School of International Affairs.  

    So, I'm going to invite, in just a second, Tony up here to the podium to address that topic.  And then after he takes a few questions from those of you here in the audience, we're going to hear from our expert panel of Mark Fitzpatrick who's Executive Director of the Americas and the Head of the Non-Proliferation Program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and Kelsey Davenport, the Director for Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association on the denuclearization task and the steps ahead.  And then we'll take your questions for them after they speak.  

    So, with that introduction, I want to invite Tony to come up to the podium to deliver his remarks and then we'll take your question.  So, thanks for being here.  The floor is yours.  

    NAMKUNG:  Thank you, Daryl Kimball, for that kind introduction, and thanks to the Arms Control Association for hosting this occasion.  A special thank you to Ambassador Cho Yoon-je of the Republic of Korea for attending today's briefing.  I am truly honored.  

    We awoke this morning to the welcome news that North Korea had returned 55 sets of MIA remains from the Korean War on this, the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice Agreement that halted the fighting.  

    So, it seems especially timely to ask once again how to begin the Korean peace process that has eluded us for so long.  Such a peace process in parallel with nuclear talks is essential if we are to make headway in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  

    To understand why we have to understand the DPRK's long-standing objective–an end to its lifelong enmity with the United States, or what the North calls the U.S.'s hostile policy.  What this entails, according to Pyongyang, is the normalization of political and economic relations, the relaxation of sanctions, and above all, a peace regime on the Korean peninsula.  

    President Trump and Secretary Pompeo seemed aware of Chairman Kim Jong Un's desire to end enmity and have taken important steps to address it.  What better way to start than to sit down at the negotiating table with Kim Jong Un, sign a joint statement with him and suspend joint exercises, or to say as the President has, that he is prepared to end the Korean War and to normalize relations, something his predecessors never tried. 

    Ultimately, he may have to find a way to forge an alliance with Pyongyang alongside the one with Seoul, or as Secretary Pompeo put it on June 7, we want to achieve a fundamentally different strategic relationship between our two countries.  How else to assure Chairman Kim that he will be secure enough to consider yielding his nuclear arms?  

    The fact that our leaders understand that denuclearization needs to be accompanied by peace and by a wholly different relationship as two equally important imperatives shows us how far the United States has come from the old and tired crime and punishment and sticks-and-carrots models of past negotiations.  

    But also let me be very clear, the United States has reached out to North Korea in entirely new and unprecedented ways.  If the extraordinary momentum achieved in Singapore is not to die on the vine, the DPRK must also take actions on the nuclear issue that are equally new and unprecedented beginning with the opening of regular diplomatic channels that do not exist at the moment and the taking of rapid actions that will demonstrate its unalterable commitment to what Secretary Pompeo calls final, fully verifiable denuclearization.  

    So, how best do we begin a peace process?  My answer is three-party talks or consultations involving the United States, South Korea, and North Korea.  Why?  

    First, they are the only states with forces in Korea.  So, all three former combatants have to agree to end the war.  They could begin with the declaration committing them to sign a peace treaty and pledging non-hostility in the meantime.  

    They could work out confidence-building measures to reduce the risk of deadly clashes.  Since their forces are involved, all three would have to agree on most CBMs.  

    Second, while such arrangements could be negotiated bilaterally between the two Koreas, U.S. involvement in a peace process that parallels and does not precede denuclearization might ease concerns among conservatives in the South.  President Moon understands this and appreciates the need to stress the validity of the alliance and to operate within it in order to avoid the mistake of the so-called Sunshine Policy of his liberal predecessors.  

    Third, three-party talks will likely be acceptable to Pyongyang, which has moved well beyond its one-time dismissal of South Korea as a U.S. puppet and insistence that peace had to be negotiated with Washington.  It has gradually adopted a more realistic position moving from treating the South as a junior partner to full-fledged equal.  

    The 1991 basic accords between the Koreas was signed by the two governments.  Although forces in the Korean Workers' Party have long controlled inter-Korean relations through various entities, a February 16, 2012 statement by the Foreign Ministry's Institute for Disarmament and Peace broke new ground by calling for the improvement in inter-Korean ties as the key to effective diplomacy with the other powers by which they meant denuclearization.  

    By calling for the United States to play a facilitative role in the Korean peninsula and by calling for China to keep out, the stance has been quite evident in Track II context.  

    Fourth, DPRK Foreign Ministry officials tend to think of reconciliation as an interim solution prior to reunification in which the role of U.S. forces is redefined as peacekeepers and not only between the two Koreas but also vis-à-vis China and Japan easing potential conflict between them and servicing as harmonizer and stabilizer in the region.  

    Three-party talks will force the foreign ministries to play a central role since the Korean Workers' Party cannot sign treaties with foreign powers.  If the North and South prove reluctant to sign a peace treaty because they are not separate states, the issue of sovereignty can be finessed at the conclusion of negotiations by formally casting the treaty as a United Nations treaty, which both could sign as they have with the past UN treaties.  

    Fifth, while Washington has yet to officially endorse the three-party talks, the Trump administration may be amenable.  When President Moon Jae-in proposed the idea of a three-way declaration of the end of the Korean War recently to President Trump, his response was, that's a great idea.  South Korea can be helpful in advancing this approach since neither the DPRK nor the United States is likely to be the first to propose three-way talks.  

    What then is China's role?  It would be involved at a later point in negotiating a formal treaty and sign it as a guarantor.  It would also play a central role in eventually creating a Northeast Asia security forum model on the CSCE in Europe, building on its past chairmanship of the six-party talks.  

    It is not only the issue of a peace regime that should be handled on the three-way basis.  The nuclear issue may best be handled in three-way talks as well.  

    The Panmunjeom declaration of April 27 between North and South by confirming, quote, "the common goal of realizing through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean peninsula," unquote, acknowledges the critical role that South Korea must play in denuclearization, not only in the creation of a peace regime.

    And by further stating that South and North Korea agreed to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, it has opened the door to initial three-party and later, multilateral negotiations.  

    During the six-party talks, there were two occasions where the North and South Korean foreign ministries met, once in Bali and once in Beijing, to discuss nuclear issues.  Granted, they were strictly speaking not bilateral talks because South Korea happened to occupy the chair of the energy and economic assistance subgroup in the six-party talks and North Korea is always quick to point that out.  

    But these contacts along with the South Korean Foreign Ministry visit to Yangon to negotiate the purchase of fresh fuel rods show that the two Koreas could discuss issues pertinent to denuclearization.  And North Korean foreign ministry officials seemed open to further context if others, namely the United States, is involved.  

    So, these are some of the trends and policies that have been evident in past talks between the U.S. and North Korea and between the two Koreas themselves that suggests a three-way approach may be the most useful for moving ahead on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  

    But what will clinch the process of denuclearization is an understanding that the United States, North Korea, and South Korea are bound up in a larger historical process in which their respective roles are radically shifting.  Let me explain.  

    I have stated already that Track II meetings have shown that North Korea today is open to an interim solution, interim state of affairs in the peninsula whereby reunification, while remaining the eventual goal of all Koreans, is deferred to future generations to resolve.  

    They have also stated in these meetings that during this period, U.S. troops can and should remain in Korea.  American officials shared similar statements in official talks as early as in 1992, so did South Korean President Kim Dae-jung during his summit with Kim Jong Il in 2000 and other officials over the years.  

    North Korean officials in Track II meetings have been known to propose different versions of this idea that have caught Americans by surprise.  For example, U.S. troops should be moved into the DMZ so that they can naturally protect the South against the North, but also protect the North against the South.  

    In other words, they should be transformed into a peacekeeping force.  Over time, they can play more of a facilitative role urging the two Koreas to reach new military agreements that strengthen the peace regime and process.  

    As I have said, the future role of U.S. troops is not limited to peacekeeping in the peninsula.  They are there also to buffer Korea from conflicts among the major powers in the region whether the issues are territorial disputes, military buildups or more serious clashes.  

    An entire generation has passed since the end of the Cold War.  In the meantime, China has become a major player both in the region and in the world.  Perforce, the U.S.'s relative standing in the region has lessened.  

    If denuclearization and peace can be achieved in the Korean peninsula, it could become a zone of peace where one half remains a strong alliance partner with the United States while the other half enjoys friendly relations with it.  North Korean officials have been known even to propose a U.S.-DPRK mutual security treaty to be followed by a Marshall plan to rehabilitate the North Korean economy.  

    The argument goes like this, "You and Japan were bitter enemies at one time.  Today, you are the closest of allies and Japan, thanks to your support, is a world economic powerhouse.  Why can't we be as well?"  However unrealistic, such statements are said in earnest and should be listened to.  

    Today, we face three leaders, Donald Trump, Moon Jae-in, and Kim Jong Un who each, for his own reasons, seeks to carve out a new legacy different from his predecessors.  Seemingly out of nowhere, an unforeseen electoral victory in the United States and impeachment in South Korea and the death of a leader in North Korea have produced leaders who seem willing to take new risks presenting a unique opportunity, the first in 65 years, to bring about a Korean peninsula both at peace, free of nuclear arms and aligned with the United States.  

    President Donald Trump began his presidency with the mistaken notions that as a satellite of China, North Korea would bend to China's will and could be pressured through tough economic sanctions to give up its nuclear weapons.  

    Thanks largely to President Moon's advice, he has come to understand that diplomacy, bolstered by a gradual lifting of sanctions, may better achieve his aims.  His actions, not only to instantly agree to a summit with Chairman Kim but to praise him as an honorable leader and even to pledge to rebuild North Korea's economy to a level equivalent to that of South Korea, have broken all precedent.  

    As stated earlier, Secretary Pompeo's remark that the United States seeks a fundamentally different strategic relationship with North Korea suggests that he is listening, carefully listening, to the North Koreans' deepest concerns.  

    In Hanoi the other day, Pompeo stated, "In the past, we were opponents on the battlefield.  But today, our security relationship is all about cooperation.  The fact that we're cooperating and not fighting is proof that when a country decides to create a brighter future for itself alongside the United States, we follow through on American promises.  

    Then, I have a message for Chairman Kim Jong Un, President Trump believes your country can replicate this path.  It's yours if you'll seize the moment."  

    And as if the words of North Korean officials whom he met a day or two earlier were still ringing in his ears, he said, "When the leaders in Hanoi go to bed at night, that notion of conflict with America is the last thing on their minds."  

    A final thought, there was a time in Korea about a century ago when young Korean patriots, many of them Christians converted by American missionaries, sought independence from Japanese colonial rule inspired by American notions of freedom, independence, and self-reliance.  

    They admired Woodrow Wilson for his Fourteen Points about self-determination for all peoples until they found out that it did not apply to Korea.  American missionaries who were their role models taught them that personal and national salvation were one.  But when the chips were down, did little to help them remove the Japanese yoke.  

    When the nonviolent March 1st uprising in 1919 for national independence was brutally put down by Japan, some among them, Kim Il Sung included, fled into the hills of Manchuria to take up arms.  Others equally patriotic felt it best to operate within the colonial system and seek to reform it from within.  

    Another group actively collaborated with Japan.  That was the beginning of the deep division in Korea that led to the two Koreas we know today.  

    Next March 1st will mark the centennial of this uprising.  President Moon Jae-in has called for North Korea to celebrate it with him as a reminder that both sides at one time fought for national independence.  He should be sure to remind North Korea that the United States was a beacon of hope in those days and can still be during a century later.  Thank you.  

    KIMBALL:  Thank you.  If you could stay there for just a minute, Tony, while we take some questions from the floor.  

    I mean, first, let me to say thank you very much for outlining that forward-looking vision and practical steps for realizing the–one of the key goals that President Trump and Chairman Kim agreed to in Singapore and we've paid a lot of attention here in Washington to the denuclearization side and I think it's important that we look at the other issues that are part of this complex package.  

    So, let we invite reporters from the floor to pitch your question to Tony Namkung and if you could just–if you have a question… if you could wait for the microphone to come your way before asking your question.  

    Anyone has–Tony has answered all your questions about moving forward.  Yes.  All right.  

    Mark Fitzpatrick, our future panelist, has a question.  So, Mark.  

    FITZPATRICK:  OK.  Thanks.  

    Tony, I was intrigued when you mentioned that you–North Korean officials with whom you’ve dealt suggested at times a security relationship with the United States and I'm just wondering whether this is because–are they thinking they would like to trade partners, the United States for China?  Is it because they don't like being under China's power and pressure?  

    NAMKUNG:  Well, you know the expression a shrimp among whales.  North Korea–Korea, as a whole, has–for decades and centuries actually been victimized by the potential big power predations of countries like Japan and China and Russia.  

    The U.S. is in a special category.  Since the late 19th century, there's always been an undercurrent of thinking that the United States is distant, they can be a good partner, it can be a good ally.  Just for precisely that reason, it doesn't pose an immediate existential threat for the future of the Korean people.  

    So, yes, I am suggesting that with the emergence of China in the region and in the last generation, that this–the opportunity has come for the United States to not necessarily displace China but to play that kind of facilitative role as peacekeeper on the peninsula, as a harmonizer and stabilizer in the region and so forth.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.  Any other questions?  Otherwise, I have one.  

    All right.  Tony, so, you mentioned in your remarks that President Moon Jae-in has called for progress towards the declaration of the end of the war by some of the key parties.  

    In practical terms, I mean, what kinds of actions do you think would be necessary in the ongoing diplomacy in order to realize that?  There may be additional talks between Secretary of State Pompeo and his North Korean counterparts.  There may be additional meetings between the three heads of state in New York or elsewhere by the end of the year.  Is that realistically possible?  

    NAMKUNG:  Well, as I suggested at the outset of my talk, the next step really is for North Korea to take.  The U.S. has gone way, way beyond it has ever gone in reaching out to North Korea.  

    This not to detract from all of the steps they have taken, the cessation of testing, the dismantling of the test facilities, the return of the remains and so forth.  But the mood has darkened considerably in Washington, D.C. in the last month since Singapore and it's really incumbent on them to make an equally dramatic and unprecedented move on the nuclear issue.  

    I think that that is the way to get things started.  And as far as three-way declarations are concerned by the time of the UNGA, I doubt it very much.  South and North Korea having a little bit of trouble in getting together on that issue, it will come I hope by the end of the year but not by September.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.  I think there's one question here.  If you could just identify yourself.  

    QUESTION:  My name is Beenish Pervaiz and I work with NTI, Nuclear Threat Initiative.  My question was related to the word denuclearization itself and there has been a lot of talk about how it is a very ambiguous term in terms of what it means to the U.S., to South Korea, North Korea.  

    NAMKUNG:  I'm sorry.  What–what means?  

    QUESTION:  The word denuclearization itself …  

    NAMKUNG:  Denuclearization.  

    QUESTION:  … and the definition of the word.  So, in very concrete terms, do you think that there is a baseline understanding that the three countries could agree upon in terms of what denuclearization would mean and what do you think that would be?  

    NAMKUNG:  I don't think that the parties are anywhere near reaching any kind of consensus on the meaning of denuclearization and probably will not be able to achieve that for some time to come.  The only way to think about this that makes sense is that with every passing month, every passing two or three months that there will be something dramatic done on the question of denuclearizing North Korea or the Korean peninsula and that if we build on those steps, one more dramatic each time than the other, than the previous step, that we can move closer and closer to a day when the peninsula will be free of nuclear weapons.  

    But to expect North Korea today, to give you a timeline, is I think wholly unrealistic.  Although, I have to say that I have heard from some North Koreans that the next presidential election may be a good time to make some really serious progress building on some confidence building measures, some steps on denuclearization and then something very dramatic on the eve of the next presidential election, which is the way that North Korea usually conducts business.  

    KIMBALL:  Great.  Well, thank you very much.  

    NAMKUNG:  There is a question in the back.  

    KIMBALL:  We have one more.  OK.  

    NAMKUNG:  Go ahead.  

    KIMBALL:  Yes, sir?  Ma'am?  Sir?  Very good.  

    QUESTION:  Hi.  I'm D. Parvaz with ThinkProgress.  A lot of these discussions seems to focus on sort of how the different players will come to the table, but I'm wondering how this might work domestically within North Korea where, for better or for worse–more for worse here, I gather, there's been a lot of sacrifices made to create this nuclear program and maybe getting rid of it might serve to destabilize the leadership there.  

    How will they negotiate that and how will they sell this to their population as a good thing having for decades sold the necessity of these weapons as an absolute tool of survival?  

    NAMKUNG:  Well, those of us involved in Track II meetings with the North Koreans over the years have heard countless times that if they feel that the threat of an invasion or aggression or whatever has been utterly, totally removed as I said earlier that the leaders in Hanoi go to bed and the last thing on their minds is a conflict with the United States, they will then give up their nuclear weapons at that point.  

    That's not to say that they may not hold on to a handful of them at some point as a final deterrent against any changes in the future such as anything but Clinton, George W. Bush policy that overturns all the agreements that have been reached.  But if we can reduce it to something manageable, I think that that would be a good outcome.  

    Now, I do not see denuclearization as a threat to the regime, not at all.  I see it as the opening of–as President Trump has put it on a number of occasions, a bright and prosperous North Korea, something that all sides in North Korea would welcome.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Yes, sir?  

    QUESTION:  Check.  Thank you.  Reporter from Hong Kong Phoenix TV.  

    I have a question regarding today's news which is “North Korea returns 55 remains of U.S. soldiers to the United States.”  I know you were–in 2014 at the negotiation of the three Americans returning home, how would you comment on this–on today's news?  

    NAMKUNG:  Well, shortly following the announcement that they had ceased testing, I think this was sometime in the first month of–the first week of December 2017, they indicated very–they sent very clear signals that they were prepared to engage in three confidence-building measures, the first of which was to return the other three prisoners, the second of which was to return the remains.  

    At that time, the figure was about 200, I believe that number is still valid and they will see other shipments, other transfers in the period ahead.  And the third was to allow Korean-American families with relatives in North Korea to be reunited.  

    So, clearly, even at that point in time, they were embarked on a path to try to reach an accommodation with the United States.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.  We'll take a couple more questions.  

    QUESTION:  Hi, this is on behalf of CNN so I'm just going to ask it.  It's a similar question to ThinkProgress.  I'm just wondering if you could elaborate a little more how Kim Jong Un has indeed made a strategic choice to denuclearize and to what extent and if he really does, to what extent, want to join the international community.  

    NAMKUNG:  Well, this question is always a two-way street.  I mean, he will move as fast as the others move.  And if the others demand that he move first and unilaterally, then he will not move.  So, it's as simple as that.  

    The saying in Korea is you point a gun at me, I'll point a gun at you.  You give me a piece of rice cake and I'll give you a piece of rice cake.  

    North Korea is always reactive.  North Korea never takes the initiative incidentally.  So, it waits for you to act and then it reacts.  

    But normally, the reaction is commensurate with the action and that's the only way to answer that question. 

    KIMBALL:  All right.  I think we have one more right here.  

    QUESTION:  Hi, Rebecca Kheel from The Hill.  I'm wondering what you make of Secretary Pompeo's disclosure this week that North Korea is still producing fissile material.  Does that mean anything?  Is it a bad sign?  Does it negate any of the confidence-building measures we've seen?  

    NAMKUNG:  Well, the agreement in Singapore, really, doesn't spell out exactly what has been pointed out many times by many people exactly what's involved in the implementation of the agreement.  It doesn't come as any surprise to me that they are continuing to add fuel, continuing to build up their fissile material because it's not a subject that has come up in the negotiations up to now.  

    So, yes, we would like to see them completely cease everything related to the nuclear missile programs.  But I don't think that's in the cards.  It's all a matter of negotiations.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  We're going to get to get into some of these denuclearization questions in just a few minutes with the next panel.  

    Let's take one more final question for Tony Namkung.  I think there was one more in the rear?  

    QUESTION:  Yes.  I just had a question about the general mindset of Korea.  Why would they engage in the sort of like self-harm–their GDP is extremely low, so they're not really getting any benefit from the way that they're conducting their behavior.  And as you said, if they were to partner with other countries and be more open, they would probably prosper exponentially.  

    So, what's the real reasoning for sort of inflicting these wounds on themselves?  They always go forward and go back.  It seems like they're kind of repeating a pattern that's been repeated throughout history, at least, in the onset of it.  So, what's the benefit that they think they're receiving from?  

    NAMKUNG:  I don't know that they think there's any benefit to behaving or acting that way.  But so long as the security issue is not resolved, nothing else can move forward.  It's really as simple as that.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  One more question, just identify yourself, please.  

    QUESTION:  Sure.  Al Jazeera English.  

    Question for you.  You said that the skies were darkening in Washington.  What did you mean by that?  And you also said the North needs to do a significant move, take a significant move?  What does that look like?  What are you looking for?  

    NAMKUNG:  Well, it's been long been my practice not to suggest actual moves for–on the part of the negotiators.  They’ll have to figure out what would a significant and dramatic move might look like.  

    But I believe that the mood has darkened and it's darkened largely because the expectations were so high from the very beginning, that we were about to march into the sunset together.  And that North Korea would denuclearize within a year or something.  

    The problem that we’re seeing now is that these expectations were much too high and we're seeing the fallout from that.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, very good.  

    Well, thank you, Tony, very much …  

    NAMKUNG:  OK.  

    KIMBALL:  … for being with us.  

    NAMKUNG:  Thank you very much.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.  

    And the next panel will address mainly the questions that are now starting to come up about denuclearization, the sequencing, and the key steps and what is a realistic expectation about the pace for denuclearization if there is, as Tony Namkung underscored, the kind of progress on the steps for the peace regime that it appears that President Trump and Kim Jong Un have agreed to try to pursue.  

    So, to address those questions, we have–we're honored to have with us Mark Fitzpatrick who is the Executive Director of the IISS-Americas and Head of the Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Program at IISS.  And I would just also note that he has served in the State Department in the past, for 26 years, including as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation.  Mark is a leading nonproliferation expert in the field.  

    And then also, with us here today is our own Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Kelsey Davenport, who is our lead on North Korea and Iran nuclear nonproliferation challenges.  

    And so, the two of them are going to be talking about the steps and the pace and the challenges of the denuclearization process and then we'll take your questions for them.  

    So, Mark, take it away.  

    FITZPATRICK:  Thanks very much to Daryl for having me.  Thank you, all.  

    I was kind of afraid of the way those questions were going, all the air would have been sucked out of the room and I won't have anything more to say.  

    But let me start, though, by saying that I'm very, very pleased with the confidence-building measures that North Korea did follow through on the return of the remains.  I was involved in the first return of U.S. remains when I was at the State Department.  That was 28 years ago, so it's good to see that process continuing.  

    But I was going to talk about what we–what is needed, what are the steps for denuclearization.  And my very first point is one that Tony just pricked.  It took all the air out of it because my first point was the first thing you need to do is define what you mean by denuclearization.  

    Before North Korea can actually begin to declare things, you got to agree on what is it–what's the problem set?  What are they going to declare?  And then, I think, Tony very realistically said we're a long way, he said, from getting agreement on what it means the definition and it's is not to happen for some time.  

    But still, I'm going to say, you need to understand, agree, what it is that North Korea is going to denuclearize.  And I thought it was interesting in Secretary Pompeo's hearing on Wednesday, which Kelsey kindly shared her notes with me, that the secretary said–he insisted that North Korea understands the U.S. definition of denuclearization and that North Korea agreed to denuclearize fully.  

    So, they understand what the United States means.  But it's not written down anywhere and everybody that’s ever negotiated with North Korea knows you've got to write these things down or they don't have any weight.  

    The last time we did this, 2012, the Leap Day deal, I was really excited about it and it didn't write down that the moratorium on long-range testing included space launches.  So, North Korea did a space launch and I–so they said, we told you that was a violation.  We told you.  You understood.  

    And North Korea said, “it's not written down.”  So, you've got to write these things down.  

    And the fact that we're a long way from writing it down is a little discouraging.  

So, one answer… what does denuclearization mean? Some people point to the 1992 denuclearization agreement between North and South in which both sides, North and South agree–North and South Korea agreed that they would not test manufacture, produce, receive, possess, store, deploy, or use nuclear weapons nor would they possess plutonium reprocessing or uranium enrichment facilities and that they would use nuclear energy solely for peaceful purposes.  

    So, that was the denuclearization agreement of 1992.  And I was thinking about that this morning.  Is that denuclearization or is it non-nuclearization?  

    Because they didn’t have nuclear weapons they had to get rid of.  They didn’t have uranium enrichment that they had to dismantle.  They just were saying what they wouldn't do.  

    So, I think it was sort of a–it was the equivalent of a nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty for the Korean peninsula.  Now, we're in a much different situation, of course, because North Korea has nuclear weapons.  They have enrichment.  They have plutonium reprocessing.  

    So, now, we really do need a denuclearization definition and agreement to take these things that they have and get rid of them, starting off with the things they produced, the nuclear weapons which might be up to 60 according to the Defense Intelligence Agency.  The stockpile of highly and–I'm sorry–stockpile of–let's start off with plutonium because that’s easier.  We can kind of figure out how much plutonium they’ve been able to produce between 33 and 50 kg, at least there's a–you know how long the reactor was running to produce it.  

    And then, of course, the highly enriched uranium.  Anybody's estimate, but Sig Hecker from Stanford suggests maybe 250-500 kg.  

    And then there's the stockpile of low-enriched uranium.  You got to get rid of the stockpile of tritium and lithium-6.  

    OK.  Then you also get rid of the ability to produce more of all that.  So, obviously, North Korea would have to eliminate the plutonium production reactor at Yongbyon, also the IR 2000 reactor that produced plutonium for the weapons program, the uranium enrichment facility at Yongbyon that has–it's been known.  

    And then the one that is mooted at Chollima, sometimes called Kangson, the one that was in the press earlier this month.  Everybody looking at this knows that North Korea had to have a second enrichment plant.  Now, it's in the open sources of where that is.  

    So, North Korea would have to get rid of that one and any other facilities.  They probably had at least one more and centrifuge production facilities and anything else associated with the weapons program. 

    Now, to be decided is whether North Korea would have to get rid of all nuclear facilities.  I mean, they have some–they have some presumably that maybe are only for civilian purposes, the experimental light-water reactor, maybe they could keep that one.  That’s a point of negotiation.  

    I think there's a case could be made for keeping it if that would be a quid pro quo for getting them to get rid of all the other stuff.  

    OK.  So, that’s in nuclear.  Then denuclearization has to also include demissilization.   They have to include the missiles as well.  

    And so, they got to get rid of the threatening missiles.  And the question here is do they have to get rid of just the ones that threaten the United States or how about the ones that threaten Japan and South Korea?  

    And Japan has made very clear its point that it has to be all of them and…that seems a pretty reasonable proposition that anything that could deliver nuclear weapon should be removed and we can provide some technical expertise and what that means.  That’s a lot of missiles.  You get rid of the engines, the motors, the airframes, the test facilities, and so forth.  

    Then the next question.  OK.  Beyond the missile–the nuclear and the missile, what about the other WMD?  Secretary Pompeo, according to Kelsey's notes, he said that it includes–denuclearization includes chemical weapons and biological weapons as well which is pretty logical.  

    Now, the thing about this is that North Korea has never admitted to having chemical weapons or biological weapons but everybody–everybody who know–who's in this business assumes that they have chemical weapons.  Defectors have said so and you can point to production facilities.  

    So, it's assumed that they have chemical weapons.  And, well, actually they used them, so they do have them.  They used it to assassinate Kim Jong Nam in Kuala Lumpur.  

    Biological weapons, I think, is a big question mark here.  I think nobody should just assume that they have biological weapons.  They probably have a biological weapons defense program but, anyway, they'll have to come clean about any that they do have.  

    They have joined the Biological Weapons Convention but there's no verification for that.  They haven't joined the Chemical Weapons Convention.  They’d have to do that and that does have a verification.  

    Now, the big question, will North Korea have to make a full accounting of everything they have ever produced or any diagrams they've ever compiled?  If they have an atomic archive in some warehouse, would they have to turn that over?  And if they didn’t turn it over, would it–would the discovery of any past documents mean that North Korea was violating the whatever agreement?  

    I just came back from an event elsewhere in town about the Iran deal and the argument being made there was, yes, Iran is in violation because it had these documents.  So, I think it's a question about historical records.  But all the procurement, would they have to come clean about all that?  

    That’s a big step.  I'm not sure they're going to be willing to do that.  

    OK.  I shouldn’t talk for too much longer here but I'll just say, a big question is… Tony was so pragmatic and realistic that you're not going to get them to do all this right up front.  So, at least stopping production while talks continue, that's–and they are stopping the testing of nuclear weapons and the testing of missiles, but they haven't said what missiles they're stopping the testing of.  Does this moratorium,  it should include all missiles–all ballistic missiles, I would say.  

    One question you might ask is could they be allowed to have the space launches that killed the 2012 Leap Day Deal?  In my institute, we've just made a case that, yes, yes, they could.  The space launches can be differentiated from ballistic missiles.  It would still require a lot of technical limitations, though.  

    Last couple of points I'll make is that any declaration that North Korea makes is not going to be complete.  And, I mean, because no country's declarations are complete.  Even countries in very good standing with the NPT, when they make the declaration, they always forget things.  

    So, it's an iterative process and we have to not play a gotcha game with North Korea.  And we have to help them–the United States will have to help them to explain what they will need to declare.  It's going to be – it’d have to be a cooperative process.  

    Last point.  Verification, I would argue, has to be in conjunction with dismantling.  So, the point was made that North Korea has dismantled something, the nuclear test site, the Sohae rocket engine test.  But they did–they did it without any verification.  

    So, there's no confidence that what they declared that they destroyed, they actually destroyed it completely or irreversibly or the collapse of the tunnels at the test site, how far in did the tunnels collapse?  Without verification, it really undermines the confidence-building nature of the action and it impedes future verification because it destroys forensic evidence.  

    So, even though North Korea may continue to destroy things or say they're destroying things and this would–we could see this is some evidence of good faith, I would argue as a nonproliferation wonk that it's not really that meaningful unless it's verified.  I'll stop there.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you, Mark.  

    It is an ambitious set of tasks you just outlined and I want to turn to Kelsey for elaborations of some those issues and also the question of the process by which this might be pursued by the USG and others.  

    DAVENPORT:  Great.  Well, thank you, Daryl, and thanks to all of you for coming today.  

    I think Mark did an excellent job talking about what's critical in terms of getting the substance of denuclearization right and I want to focus now a little bit on the process and the role of Congress.  

    And these are areas that don't necessarily generate a lot of headlines, but I think it's critical that we have a more in-depth and robust discussion about both of these areas because we don't just need diplomacy with North Korea, we need smart and effective diplomacy.  And a lot of that comes down to getting the process right and if we look at what's been going on with the Trump administration right now, I think there are a number of ways where we could strengthen and refine that process to make for more effective diplomacy.  

    So, first on the process side, I want to make four and a half points and you'll see why I say four and a half in just a minute.  But the first point is I think the United States really needs to think about appointing a special envoy or clarifying who in the State Department is actually leading these negotiations.  

    The Singapore Summit declaration tasked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with actually leading the U.S. talks.  And symbolically, I certainly think that that is very important, that the head of the State Department is involved in this process.  

    But when you have the State Department's chief diplomat flying off to Pyongyang, that I think raises some unrealistic expectations that every time there's a meeting with the Secretary of State, that there is going to be some announcement or there are going to be some substantive results.  And diplomacy just doesn’t work that way, particularly when we have a process that's going to be this complex and time-consuming as a denuclearization agreement with North Korea.  

    So, I would encourage the State Department to think more about how the Obama administration pursued the Iran talks.  You had the Undersecretary of State for political and military affairs, Wendy Sherman, sort of leading the day-to-day negotiations and Secretary Kerry sort of coming in when necessary, when you needed that extra political impetus to make some of those bigger decisions or when there actually was an announcement.  

    So, related to that question of a special envoy, my second point on process is on the importance of creating working groups.  And again, it's not clear if this is something that the State Department has actually taken in hand.  But when you look at the different elements of the Singapore declaration and when you look at the different elements that Mark laid out that denuclearization is going to constitute, when you look at the question of sanctions relief, these are very different baskets that are all going to need to be coordinated but also require some very specialized work.  

    So, looking at the creation of working groups, again, just a simple step that could be taken on process that I think would be effective.  

    The third sort of process point is sort of a mix between process and substance.  And again, this harkens back a little bit to sort of what Mark was saying about the importance of actually writing down a definition because we have seen North Korea exploit ambiguity before and that’s to really think about some type of dispute resolution mechanism.  

    Because even when–if we get to the point where we have these definitions written down or as Mark said, we get to the point where there is a declaration, I think there is going to be sometimes deliberate obfuscation on the part of North Korea or there are just going to be things that are missed, elements that come down the road, and this isn't just on North Korea, this is also on the U.S. delivering on whatever it commits to as part of this process.  

    And establishing a dispute resolution mechanism earlier, I think, can be critical for finding ways to sort of work through these problems as they arise in a way that it does not actually sort of disrupt the substance and the progress that these negotiations are and does not–does not put up any roadblocks towards getting towards the ultimate goal of these negotiations.  

    The fourth point I would make on process would appear to be, I think, somewhat self-evident but it's not something that's happening and I think it is quite–it is quite critical to rectify.  And that’s the importance of regular briefings by the administration for Congress.  

    Secretary of State Pompeo testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week and it was the first time, I quote, "the first time," that the Senate had heard from the State Department after the Singapore Summit, nearly 2 months ago, and this is the first time that key members of Congress who work on U.S. foreign policy are getting a readout about what occurred sort of at that meeting.  

    And this is important because when Congress is not read in, when they are not involved, I think they we've seen in the foreign policy space they tend to take these sort of matters into their own hands.  And I want to get into that a little bit more in my discussion of Congress.  

    But some of the roadblocks that Congress might put up, some of the Congressional attempts to sort of dictate the results of this process in a way that could really hamper the Trump administration could be rectified if there are regular briefings.  

    And my sort of point five on that–on that fourth point is that these–this should not just come from the U.S. government.  And one area where I think there is an interest in sort of more knowledge, more understanding is the position of the South Korean government and what the South Korean government wants to see come out of these negotiations, what their priorities are, and what their concerns are.  

    Already we saw after the Singapore Summit several members of Congress, speak out against the suspension of U.S.-South Korean joint exercises and there were some proposals floated for legislation that would prevent the United States from actually suspending those exercises.  

    So, again, this is a barrier that Congress considered putting up that could very easily have been relegated if it was more clear that both sides were onboard with the suspension and did not think that that would address U.S. military readiness.  Relatedly, just this week in the National Defense Authorization Act, members of Congress and House of Representatives agreed on legislation that would prevent a drawdown of U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula without congressional approval.  

    Again, this really could hamper us down the road and some of this, I think, could be easily mitigated if there was more clarity for Congress as to the administration’s, scope of the negotiations, their objectives, and what elements the South Korean government is supportive of or has concerns about.  

    So, for the second part of my remarks, I just want to say a little bit about Congress.  And the U.S. Congress, I think, is often overlooked in terms of the role that they can play sort of in North Korean diplomacy.  

    And I think right now, Congress, like the American people writ large, are generally inclined to support talks but they are somewhat suspicious of the Trump Administration's ability to actually carry out a successful negotiation.  And they are frustrated over the lack of knowledge that they’ve received about the process to date.  

    And I think where that could–sort of confluence of events could lead us is Congress putting up some roadblocks that hinder the negotiations and cause problems both immediately or set the United States up to have to overcome roadblocks in the future.  

    So, just three quick areas I want to address.  First, I hope this would also be self-evident, but if you look at the history of the U.S. Congress, it's certainly not, and that is now is not the time for new sanctions.  I think we have, particularly with this Congress, sort of a very pro-sanctions approach and the general confusion that leads many members of Congress to the conclusion that sanctions are strategy.  

    Sanctions are not strategies.  Sanctions are a tool that can be used to implement a strategy.  But simply continuing to ratchet up sanctions now when North Korea has–appears interested in negotiations, is not going to get North Korea to capitulate.  

    So, where the focus really should be on the sanction side right now for the U.S. Congress is continued enforcement.  And I do think there is a reason to be concerned that sanctions pressure on North Korea is slipping.  

    There are a number of indicators that we can see just from the truck movement across the Chinese-North Korean border.  In the last few weeks, that’s returned to some of the levels we saw sort of pre-2018.  

    Tourism, again, is increasing in North Korea.  There are other indicators, like exchange rates and gas costs, that I think are indicative of a slowing in the implementation and enforcement of sanctions.  

    And some of this is due to the rhetoric of President Trump.  When the U.S. president says the North Korean threat is over, when the U.S. president says we don’t need to engage in maximum pressure, most of us in this room I'm sure all know that the threat is not over, and that we do still need sanctions pressure.  

    But his messages, his words, the words of the U.S. president, do have resonance in other parts of the world.  And when you're talking to the group that may be trying to implement sanctions and conduct some of the controls and the checks on goods passing through a port in Indonesia that may have North Korean origin and they hear the President of the United States saying there is no threat, I think you have just then an erosion of sanctions because people just don't think they need to actually implement the U.S. and the UN measures any longer.  

    So, Congress, I think can play a very constructive role in encouraging better sanctions enforcement and encouraging that the elements of the U.S. government that work on sanctions enforcement are fully funded and continuing sort of the critical outreach that helps with enforcement and compliance.  

    The second congressional space, it has to do with oversight.  And here, I think, given President Trump's track record, there is reason to be concerned that he may accept a deal that is not strong from a denuclearization perspective.  

    So, Congress can play a role in exercising oversight, in setting good benchmarks for a deal, but they have to walk a very fine line between articulating sort of solid goals and objectives and boxing the president in.  And sort of on this latter area, boxing the president in and setting unrealistic expectations, I would draw attention to a letter that 10 Democratic senators sent to the Trump Administration in June that I think set some very unrealistic expectations.  

    They talked about the need for anytime-anywhere inspections.  I don't think that that's realistic.  They talked about needing to get rid of all North Korean ballistic missiles.  Again, that may not be necessary.  

    But setting, I think, unrealistic expectations that a good deal does not need to meet, I think can raise this–this disconnect between what Congress expects and what can actually be delivered.  But Congress can and should, like I said, play a role in exercising oversight and setting some realistic expectations.  

    So, finally, just one last point on Congress, and again, this is a place where I think Congress should be playing more of a role and it's not, and that’s thinking proactively about the monitoring and verification mechanisms that are going to be necessary to actually implement any sort of deal with North Korea.  

    And I think, Mark rightly highlighted the importance of verification and just how critical it's going to be to get that component right.  And we have a lot of existing tools available to implement some of the monitoring and verification.  Certainly, what exists at the International Atomic Energy Agency for fuel cycle monitoring, a lot of that is very robust.  

    But when we talk about actually verifiably dismantling warheads, when we talk about looking at North Korea's uranium enrichment and determining if what they’ve actually produced equals what they say they've produced, some of the technology and the processes are not there yet.  

    So, Congress directing greater investment towards these areas, encouraging the U.S. national labs to take on some of these challenges to a more robust extent, looking at the capabilities of international organizations like the International Atomic Energy Agency, bumping up funding there when necessary, this is a role that I think Congress can and must play and it has the added of not going to waste.  

    I mean, if our negotiations with North Korea don't get to the point where we get–where we–where we actually need to apply these monitoring and verification mechanisms, the fact that we've done the research that we've developed the processes, this can still be applied elsewhere.  

    So, this is critical research on verification technology and in a process that the United States needs be doing anyway for arms control writ large.  

    So, I will stop there.  I will look forward to your questions.  Although, I plan to send any hard ones to Mark.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you, Kelsey.  Thank you, Mark.  

    We have ample time for questions from the audience.  If you just identify yourself and wait for the microphone to come your way, that would be great.  

    And while we're waiting for those hands to come up, I just wanted to ask–we can take one here–but I wanted to ask Mark to elaborate slightly more on what you mean by the need to, as a priority step, of putting a halt or a freeze on North Korea's activities.  What beyond the nuclear test halt and ballistic missile halt would be ideal and how do we make sure that it holds?  

    FITZPATRICK:  So, I see this halt as equivalent to a ceasefire when parties have been in a conflict.  And you have–you call a ceasefire, stop firing at each other or in the case of the North Korean case, stop adding to the problem.  

    So, they’ve stopped testing of missiles since last November and nuclear weapons tests as well, that's just a very initial thing, though.  It needs two other forms of halting.  They really need to halt the production of additional fissile material.  No more plutonium, no more highly-enriched uranium.  

    Now, that’s not something that's easy to verify through national technical means.  I mean, you can–you can see if the reactor is not operating.  

    So, you'd need some–it'd be good to have some verification, then you get into kind of a sticky territory.  But at least, that’s something I'm sure the United States would be asking for, any party would be asking for, no more fissile material production.  

    And then no more development of more kinds of delivery systems.  The missile development should really cease.  Now, the fact that North Korea stopped the Sohae testing site, that’s–stopped, they apparently dismantled, that’s a good thing.  

    But they should also stop development of the submarine-launched ballistic missile, for example.  Those should be important confidence-building steps.  

    And then it's not all going to be unilateral.  The United States is going to have to also halt something, I think, if it's going to be anything that's going to really last.  And that means no more sanctions.  That seems to be the reasonable quid pro quo.  

    And as a de facto matter …  

    KIMBALL:  No more sanctions, period, or no more new …  

    FITZPATRICK:  No more new sanctions.  Yes.  

    KIMBALL:  OK.  

    FITZPATRICK:  I mean, the sanctions are already there, they will continue to be applied and additional entities may be added to a blacklist, but that's no new forms of sanctions.  

    But as a de facto matter, that's already happening because there aren’t going to be any new United Nations sanctions and I suspect there won't be any new forms of U.S. sanctions either because President Trump will want diplomacy to succeed.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thanks for that elaboration.  I think we have a question here.  

    QUESTION:  Is this on?  OK.  This question is for Ms. Davenport.  

    You mentioned some of the steps and strategies the Obama administration had employed in dealing with Iran.  Now, obviously, that is not what this administration is interested in doing in terms of copying any of those steps.  So–and so much so that we saw Secretary Pompeo–was that yesterday?  It seems like a million years ago, it's a day before yesterday–before Senate, trying to explain what was policy and what were just statements that the president was making or that he himself was making on Twitter or in person because it seems like even that’s confused, what is policy and what is just things being said off the cuff.  

    So, realizing, of course, that Iran and North Korea are different and that they're–well, they're entirely different cases.  What's common–the common goal is going to be requiring any kind of trust moving forward in either renegotiating the Iran deal or negotiating any kind of deal with North Korea.  

    The administration, of course, can compartmentalize Iran is Iran, North Korea is North Korea, but North Korea will certainly be looking at how Iran's been treated.  

    So, given the lack of things that are in writing with North Korea and all the things that were in writing with Iran, how can this process move forward with the kind of sort of trust assurances and progress that needs to be made in order for denuclearization however you define it to happen?  

    Sorry, that was a very long question.  

    DAVENPORT:  No, it's a very good question.  And I certainly think that the United States does face a credibility deficit under the Trump administration and it's not just for the Iran deal.  It's for pulling out of the Paris climate accord, it's for comments made in relationship to NATO, Trump's actions at the G7 summit.  

    So, and certainly, there is reason to be concerned about the U.S. follow through on any agreement.  And I think, given how the Iran deal situation has turned out with the United States withdrawing from the deal, violating the agreement by reimposing sanctions for no legitimate reason, and effectively calling into question the basis of what Iran wanted out of the deal, sanctions relief, I think we might see North Korea try to demand more upfront and more that's actually tangible in terms of what the results they get immediately.  

    So, that may sort of play into the North Korean calculus.  I think relatedly, the United States has also damaged its credibility with allies and other partners in the region when it comes to cooperating with tools that the United States employs like extraterritorial sanctions.  

    A lot of the reason that Iran was pushed to the negotiating table was due to, I think, some very smart and effective sanctions diplomacy that was employed by the Obama administration, getting states on board even when it was against their national economic interest to employ some of these measures.  And by sort of violating and reimposing without good reason, I think that has called into question the willingness of some of these critically important states like China to continue to comply and actually abide by some of these U.S. extraterritorial sanctions.  

    So, I definitely think that there is a trust deficit, but I don't think that it's insurmountable.  And certainly, the fact that Pompeo went back to Pyongyang after the Singapore Summit, the fact that North Korea followed through on delivering the POW remains, I think all of these small steps are critical in terms of sort of creating that culture of accountability for both sides.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Other questions?  Yes, sir, in the back.  

    QUESTION:  Edward Ifft, Stanford University.  

    This word, denuclearization, bothers me a lot.  I think it's a very poor word to use, although I guess we are stuck with it.  And the term complete denuclearization, of course, is even worse.  

    South Korea gets a third of its electricity from nuclear reactors.  Past agreements have not only allowed the North to have civilian reactors, but we've agreed to help them with that.  I don't think anyone's proposing eliminating nuclear medicine.  It seems to me, what we're doing, and why don’t we just say this, we're trying to create a nuclear-weapons-free zone on the Korean peninsula.  

    There are five of those in the world.  We know how to do that.  Ideally, it will be a WMD free zone, and to that, we can add constraints on fissile materials and ballistic missiles.  

    The other thing that bothers me is a lot of people in this town are saying that this whole process must begin with North Korea making a complete declaration of all its nuclear assets and where they are.  That would be wonderful if we could get that.  That would mean that North Korea would tell us where to drop the bombs and where to send the Marines before they have any assurance of anything.  

    I mean, an interesting model would be the START process.  The START process did not begin with a massive exchange of data, it ended with a massive exchange of data.  We labored for a long time to agree on what data would be exchanged, that document was over 100 pages long.  

    KIMBALL:  So, Ed, do you want to leave the panelists with a question?  

    QUESTION:  Right.  At the very end of the process, we filled in the blanks.  So, those are just two frustrations I have with the dialogue I hear.  What do you think?  Thank you.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  So, the question is how do we address Ed Ifft's frustrations on the word denuclearization and what it means and the denuclearization ask.  

    So, perhaps either or both of you want to take on those questions.  I mean, I think, Mark, you talked about denuclearization concept and the January 1992 North-South denuclearization agreement as a basis.  

    FITZPATRICK:  Yes.  

    KIMBALL:  It's a starting point.  And I think that–I think that provides a good starting definition to move forward which does allow for nuclear medicine, nuclear power, but not nuclear-weapons-related activities or nuclear weapons.  

    FITZPATRICK:  Yes.  I don’t read too much about somebody thinking that all nuclear medicine has to go-- but I think the problem with it, the denuclearization term, is that it focuses on nuclearization when it has to include chemical weapons and missile delivery systems.  

    So–and because of the way that North Korea only abides by the letter of agreements, it could use that word denuclearization to argue that they don't have to address those other forms of so-called weapons of mass destruction.  

    So, I kind of like your idea, Ed, and I was just jotting it down, a Korean peninsula WMD-free zone, it doesn't have any vowels, so it's kind of hard to make into a snappy acronym.  But let's work on that.  

    DAVENPORT:  Could I just add one point, Daryl, and I think this is somewhat tangentially related to your question, Ed, but in the discussion of denuclearization, we often focus on what–how we define that vis-à-vis sort of the North Korean programs.  But I think it's also critical to remember that when North Korea talks about denuclearization and I'm thinking, I think, specifically of a statement made in, I believe, it was July of 2015 or 2016, they constituted denuclearization as also ensuring that South Korea is free of nuclear weapons.  

    And of course, the United States removed its tactical nuclear weapons from South Korea in the early '90s.  But part of these negotiations, again, sort of far down the road, might be allowing North Korea to have some limited access to these areas so that they are more assured as well that there are no nuclear weapons sort of stationed on the peninsula.  

    So, I think, it does have to go both ways and I also like your idea of conceiving this as a zone issue and not just a denuclearization issue.  

    KIMBALL:  And let me just address your concern and point about the difficulty of persuading North Korea to provide a full and complete declaration of its nuclear missile programs.  

    I mean, I agree that that is a big ask.  Mark mentioned that.  That is a big ask.  

    And I think it's important to note that the September 2005 denuclearization agreement between the United States and North Korea through the Six-Party process foundered in 2006–in 2007 over a number of issues including the failure of the North Koreans to eventually deliver as promised the declaration.  

    So, this is a big ask.  And if this is what Secretary Pompeo has been pushing for in this first round of talks that were conducted in Pyongyang following the Singapore Summit, it's not surprising that the North Koreans may have balked about that.  

    If I were heading up the negotiations, that would not be the first thing I would be asking for.  It would be, I think, as Mark pointed out the pushing the North Koreans to solidify and to expand upon their halt to nuclear testing and ballistic missile testing with a halt on ballistic missile production and fissile material production because that provides the time for the U.S. and North Korea to pursue these negotiations on developing a peace regime and moving towards actual dismantling, verifiable dismantling.  

    So, I would agree that the declaration would come at a mid to a later phase in this process.  So, that's an important question that the U.S. side needs to consider as it develops its strategy on this process.  

    So, I think we had another question upfront.  If you just identify yourself and then we got one more in the back.  Yes, sir?  And here's the microphone.  

    QUESTION:  My name is John Merrill and I'm currently at George Washington University since U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS was closed down by withdrawal of South Korean government funding.  

    My question is directed–first question is directed at Mark.  Mark, you seem to have a problem with missiles, but you don't have any problem with air forces.  So, what are you going to do about asymmetries between the military capabilities of the two sides?  

    South Korea has advanced fighter jets, our latest stuff.  They have TARS ground attack systems from Germany.  So, North Korea should give up its missiles and is someone going to provide them with an Air Force?  Who would you suggest do that?  That’s the first question.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Let's go with the first question, Mark.  

    FITZPATRICK:  Yes.  What I suggest is that the delivery system for nuclear weapons be a part of the list of things that should be eliminated.  So, if there are missiles in North Korea that are not nuclear capable, I think we could put them in one category to not address immediately in this–in this problem set.  

    But almost all of their Scud derived, and certainly, the No-Dong systems are nuclear–for the purpose of delivering nuclear weapons.  So, you get rid of them.  You deal with the other conventional weapons through the peace process that Tony was talking about and there can be reciprocal steps there.  


    FITZPATRICK:  Well, I think–I don’t–I understand your point here about reciprocity and all that, but as a realistic proposition, the United States and South Korea are not going to invade North Korea but the opposite has been the case.  So, I can see from a North Korean perspective, they would say, well, we can't give up all our defenses.  

    But what are those–what are their missiles really for?  They're for nuclear weapons delivery.  So, in a denuclearization or a WMD-free zone, you got to deal with it.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  The second question is a different question?  

    QUESTION:  Yes.  We also had some discussion of chemical and biological weapons.  I wondered if I could maybe ask both of you what do you think of the global funds cutting off–planned cutting off of tuberculosis drugs to North Korea?  Isn't that tantamount to weaponization of medicine or am I missing something?  There’ve been a number of press reports about this in the last month.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Could one or two of you want to just address that or not?  

    FITZPATRICK:  Yes, I mean, I agree with the intent of the question is that there are things that happen because of as a result of sanctions that are deleterious to North Korean health and we ought to think about that.  I mean, that’s–I think I would agree with that spirit of that.  

    But to put that in the same category as the purposeful development of chemical weapons or if North Korea is purposely developing biological weapons, I just–I don't–I wouldn't draw any moral equivalence there and the outbreak of tuberculosis.  There's no intention on the part of U.S. government or South Korean government to promote tuberculosis in North Korea.  

    QUESTION:  Drugs are going to end.

    FITZPATRICK:  Well …  

    KIMBALL:  I don’t think there's any disagreement from this panel about the importance of delivering humanitarian aid to the North, but I think what Mark is saying is that it's a separate question from eliminating–trying to eliminate WMDs from North Korea and South Korea.  

    I would just note on–you want to address this …  

    DAVENPORT:  I just want to add an additional point that I–it made me think of this, this question also of sanctions enforcement.  And I think when we talk about Congress doing a better job, encouraging sanctions and enforcement and implementation, that that isn't just the penalization element of sanctions violation where frequently all of the focus is, but also ensuring that the channels that are set up and maintained for some of the humanitarian aid to also facilitate humanitarian organizations ability to access North Korea, enforcement of those provisions is also very poor.  

    There is a lot of misunderstanding and that’s another area where, I think, that Congress, in particular, could kind of direct more attention and resources to ensure that when we apply pressure, we're not cutting off those types of critical resources.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Question in the back, please?  

    QUESTION:  Thanks.  I'm with National Security Action.  I had a question about the controversial sticking point of the definition of denuclearization.  

    This week, again, in that Pompeo hearing at SFRC, Senator Gardner asked him about the different ways that Pompeo has referred to CVID or denuclearization whether that’s on the peninsula or just in North Korea.  So, I'm curious if you think that the way the U.S. government refers to CVID or some other variation of the term matters.  Does it matter for domestic politics in South Korea or how the negotiations proceed or is there a more productive way for the government to be referring to denuclearization of things like the hearing this past week?  Thanks.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Good question.  

    Mark?  Kelsey?  

    FITZPATRICK:  I don’t–you want to go first this time?  

    DAVENPORT:  Sure.  Sure.  So, I saw the hearing and I appreciated that Senator Gardner's point, trying to kind of nail down what exactly the administration means by denuclearization.  

    Because, as referenced, Secretary of State Pompeo has used a lot of different definitions.  He came under flak for the Singapore declaration not containing the word verifiable when just before the Singapore declaration, he emphasized the importance of verifiable.  

    And in my mind, the exact term that's used is less important than a clear understanding of the definition and a consistent articulation of the term and the definition.  Typically, in the U.S. policy, Complete Verifiable Irreversible Dismantlement, CVID, has been what's been employed.  

    But, I mean, we have to be honest.  I mean, irreversible?  Do we really think we're at the point where we can get an agreement with North Korea that’s irreversible?  I mean, you can’t eliminate the knowledge.  I mean, there are just certain elements that you can't walk back.  You can't put the genie back in the bottle.  

    So, if–and if North Korea sort of objects to that term but is willing to agree to something that’s complete verifiable denuclearization, so whatever the term is, I think, is less important than ensuring consistency in how it's defined and then ensuring kind of that consistent use.  

    But the mixed messaging of the Trump administration on the North Korea negotiations, I think, certainly has been a problem and is an area where kind of more clarity and consistency would be useful.  

    KIMBALL:  And the only thing I would just add on this is I agree with Kelsey but the fact that Secretary Pompeo has–and the administration has used different terms, it's symptomatic of the improvisational approach of the Trump Administration for the past year plus towards North Korea and it would be, I think, reassuring if at the very least, the secretary of state would use the same terminology to address the goal that the United States is pursuing.  

    And as Mark said, ideally, if the two sides could actually write down in simple clear terms what denuclearization covers so there's no misunderstanding down the road.  

    Other questions?  Yes?  Go ahead, please, just identify yourself.  

    Question:  Thank you.  Thank you very much for a great discussion.  My name is Koji Sonoda for The Asahi Shimbun and my question is declaration of end of Korean War.  

    And actually, it seems to me that DPRK is demanding before its denuclearization–demanding the declaration of end of Korean War before its denuclearization.  But actually, I believe if the U.S. accepts the demand, the U.S. will lose important leverage to denuclearization.  So, I was wondering if the U.S. should accept North Korea's demand to some extent or just to focus on the denuclearization?  This is my question.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.  

    I have some thoughts on that, but Kelsey, Mark, you want to …  

    DAVENPORT:  Sure.  So, one thing that I think that the Trump administration has rightly acknowledged is that denuclearization and progress on peace and security on the Korean peninsula need to go hand-in-hand and that there needs to be kind of reciprocity between these steps.  

    So, I think, that figuring out kind of when to declare a declaration on the Korean War and how that fits into that process, what the reciprocal steps on the nuclear side might be is important.  

    But I think, we have kind of declaring an end to the Korean War and then we have this idea of perhaps negotiating a treaty on it.  So, I don’t think that declaring an end gives up all of the leverage that the United States has in that space immediately.  But again, I do think it's important to kind of calibrate it kind of vis-à-vis commitments and steps on the nuclear side.  

    KIMBALL:  Well, I think at the heart of your question is one of the fundamental points that we're trying to make here which is that, as Kelsey said, there needs to be an action-for-action process.  And given that Secretary Pompeo just went to Pyongyang, each side was apparently in those talks, they were emphasizing the immense value of the steps that they’ve already taken and were demanding more from the other side.  And as a result, they went away from those discussions, both of them somewhat disappointed.  

    I think that that underscores the fact that both North Korea and the United States are going to have to take some additional bold steps in the direction that the Singapore communiqué suggests.  

    So, I think President Moon Jae-in's call for work to achieve a declaration, a political declaration regarding the end of the Korean War by the end of 2018 is a good goal.  Similarly, as Tony Namkung underscored and I think we're underscoring here when we're talking about denuclearization steps in North Korea, it needs to take some additional demonstrable concrete steps towards the denuclearization goal.  

    The closure of the Punggye-ri test site tunnels is good but it's not enough.  The halt to ballistic missile testing is good but it's not enough.  

    North Korea, I think, from a nonproliferation standpoint, and this is part of Mark's remarks, needs to take the additional step of halting fissile material production.  They could do that very soon and we could remotely verify a lot of that with national technical means, though there might be some activities and unknown enrichment facilities that we're not absolutely sure of.  That would be an important dramatic step.  That would move along, I think, the peace process.  

    So, I think both sides need to be thinking more creatively.  Both sides need to not be afraid to take additional steps.  Otherwise, this process is going to bog down.  

    Other questions from the audience?  We'll go in the back there and then we'll come up front.  

    QUESTION:  Hi.  I'm Erin Dunne with the Washington Examiner.  And this question is probably for Kelsey.  

    Do you see partisan politics impeding Congress from taking some of the steps that you outlined?  And if so, do you see any possibility of overcoming that partisan divide?  

    DAVENPORT:  It's actually interesting in looking at the North Korea sort of problem set.  And we now see, actually, both Republicans and Democrats supportive of the diplomatic process.  Where I think there are differences is in how critical they are of the steps that Trump has taken to date and what they want to see going forward.  

    And this was, I think, quite evident, this kind of shared frustration and the lack of information at the SFRC hearing this week.  I think both sides were looking for more clarity about what happened at the summit, sort of what constitutes denuclearization.  

    And when it comes to certain elements of foreign policy, particularly in the sanctions space, a lot of moves there, actually, typically have been bipartisan and it's one area again, why I raise this concern about now not being the time to press for new sanctions is because when Congress sort of faces foreign provocations, typically, you get a bipartisan response to push for additional sanctions and this is–this is Iran, this is North Korea, this is Russia, to some extent.  

    So, I think that there is a way to overcome that bipartisanship or, sorry, the partisanship that frequently characterizes politics today just because there is a shared agreement that North Korea constitutes a threat that needs to be addressed, that diplomacy is kind of the best way to do it, and that Congress wants to be more engaged, they want to have a clear picture of what's going on, and they want to ensure that there is a good agreement.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  I think we're going to have time for one more question before we adjourn.  Right here, please.  

    QUESTION:  Hi.  My name is Grace Kong, I'm an international law attorney and former State Department and my question has to do with this concept of halting bad behavior.  I like how Mark Fitzpatrick thinks of it as a ceasefire.  

    But my question has to do with the atrocity crimes that the Kim regime is committing, causing death every day.  And typically, when we think of ceasefires such as in Syria, the international community demands them because people are dying every day.  

    So, I can't help but wonder if we should think of ceasefire with respect to North Korea as demanding that they halt their crimes against humanity, against their own citizens, and actually legally, they are also South Korean citizens.  So, demanding a halt of that would be quite analogous to a ceasefire in other hot military situations.  

    KIMBALL:  OK.  You want to tackle it or I can …  

    FITZPATRICK:  I mean, that goes to the heart of the issue that is always–comes up in any discussion of North Korea's threats.  We mostly worry about the threats to us or to North Korea's neighbors and we tend to put aside for the time being the threats to their own people, hoping that it would somehow be resolved as North Korea undergoes a change.  

    And I, myself, being a nonproliferation specialist, worry more about the ability of North Korea to create mass destruction.  Now, you might say they're creating mass destruction in their own country by their human rights violations.  But first of all, the idea of stopping their inhumane behavior to their own people is probably not of the same order of stopping the production of fissile material because it really involves a wholesale change to their system.  

    And that's the outcome of the human rights part of the discussions.  And the question really is should human rights be part of the–on the agenda of what we are demanding of North Korea.  

    And the… I'm sorry to have to say, but I think the more demands you put on a country, the less likely you are to get a result, a satisfactory result.  It's kind of like, I think, when Secretary Pompeo made 12 demands of Iran, there are no priorities.  He wants a wholesale regime change in Iran.  

    And I would love a wholesale regime change in North Korea.  But I would prefer for the time being to prevent them from being able to annihilate cities elsewhere.  

    KIMBALL:  But I think we have to–we have to keep in mind that–who we're dealing with here and this is an issue that the United States and the world needs to be concerned about.  And I think, as you're saying, Mark, we have to be–we have to figure out how we address the many issues and problems that North Korea creates.  

    And I think the nuclear problem is very complex, we're just in the beginning phase.  It's my personal hope that it may open up the way towards a different relationship with North Korea.  That is part of the Singapore Summit goals and that may, in turn, help us in the community to better deal with the massive human rights problems in North Korea down the road.  

    So, I think all these things are related but I agree with Mark.  We can't deal with them all at once especially when the structure and the process for the denuclearization process is as unclear as it is today.  

    And I think just to conclude, I think some of the things that are coming out of our discussion here are that President Trump and Chairman Kim have, with their summit, established a small beachhead for progress on denuclearization and creating a peace regime.  But this is going to be a years-long process.  It's technically very complex.  

    There are many questions and choices that still have to be made, definitions that have to be written down.  We're a long way from the finish line but both sides are going to need to exert more creativity and energy in order to keep the process moving forward so that this opportunity is not lost.  

    So, I want to thank Mark and Kelsey for their–for their insights.  The Arms Control Association will remain on this case in the coming months and years along with IISS.  

    I also want to thank Tony Namkung for his very important insights on how we can move forward on the peace talks.  So, please, stay in tune with the Arms Control Association on our website, www.armscontrol.org and we will see you next time and we are adjourned.  Thanks.  


The Nuclear Security Summit Process and the State of the Global Nuclear Security Architecture



Tuesday, July 17, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
National Press Club of Washington, D.C.
First Amendment Room
529 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20045

The Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) process significantly strengthened the global nuclear security architecture and brought high-level political attention to the risk posed by nuclear terrorism. The NSS pioneered the use of regular and voluntary nuclear security commitment-making by states and groups of states, leading to the creation of an effective new tool for continuously improving the nuclear security regime.

While the NSS process ended in 2016, the threat posed by nuclear terrorism remains and the nuclear security regime must continue to evolve to address it.

To discuss the contributions of the NSS process and the state of the global nuclear security architecture, the Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG) invites you to a panel discussion and reception. A new report from the Arms Control Association and the FMWG, which offers a comprehensive assessment of the national commitments states undertook as part of the process from 2010–2016, will be released at the event.

Download the full report (pdf).


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