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"[The Arms Control Association is an] 'exceptional organization that effectively addresses pressing national and international challenges with an impact that is disproportionate to its small size.'" 

– John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
January 19, 2011
Japan

U.S., North Korea Meet on Missiles; Japan, S. Korea Press on Defense

LITTLE PROGRESS was reported in the third round of U.S.-North Korean missile talks, held in New York on October 1. As in the previous talks in April 1996 and June 1997, the Clinton administration tried to persuade North Korea to cease the development and export of ballistic missiles and technologies controlled by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in exchange for a substantial loosening of U.S. economic sanctions.

Pyongyang, which has made clear its willingness to accept financial compensation for lost missile export revenues, has resisted the U.S. proposal, claiming that Washington is already obligated to loosen sanctions as part of the 1994 Agreed Framework. The text of that agreement, which froze Korea's nuclear weapons program, calls for the two sides to "move toward full normalization of political and economic relations." But U.S. officials insist that Pyongyang has to meet U.S. concerns on the missile and other issues before progress can be made on the political and economic fronts.

Additionally, State Department spokesman James P. Rubin warned North Korea following the October 1 talks that any future testing or export of long-range missiles, such as the three-stage Taepo Dong-1, which Pyongyang tested on August 31, would have "very negative consequences."

 

Japanese, South Korean Initiatives

North Korea's August 31 missile test has also bolstered initiatives in Japan and South Korea to augment their security with new weapons that are likely, in turn, to concern Russia and China. On September 20, the United States and Japan announced that the two nations would proceed with joint feasibility studies on theater missile defense. On October 23, Japanese Defense Minister Fukushiro Nukaga announced that the Japanese Defense Agency (JDA) will request roughly $8 million for Japan's 1999 fiscal year to fund joint research with the United States. The JDA reportedly plans to spend about $175 million to $250 million on the joint research program over the next five years. Tokyo has expressed interest in the U.S. Navy's Theater Wide Defense system, which would utilize Japan's fleet of Aegis-radar-equipped destroyers.

Additionally, the Kyodo News Service reported on October 23 that the government will propose development of a "'multipurpose' satellite system with reconnaissance capabilities within three years." Since Japan launched its first commercial satellite in 1970, Tokyo has abided by a Diet resolution mandating the exclusively peaceful use of space.

Jarred by North Korea's Taepo Dong-1 missile launch over Japan, however, some Japanese officials have concluded that a reconnaissance or early warning satellite for "defensive" purposes could be considered a peaceful use of space.

 

South Korea and the MTCR

Although the Taepo Dong-1 is unlikely to be used against South Korea—Pyongyang's 500-kilometer-range Scud C missiles can already hit any target in the South—defense officials in Seoul have used the "new" North Korean threat to justify their own missile and space-launch ambitions. In particular, South Korea has been campaigning to end its 1979 agreement with the United States, which prevents Seoul from acquiring ground-to-ground missiles with a range of more than 180 kilometers. (See ACT, August/September, 1998.)

Following U.S.-South Korean missile talks in August, the State Department is reportedly close to consenting to South Korea joining the MTCR and acquiring missiles capable of delivering a 500-kilogram payload to a range of 300 kilometers—the regime's threshold for control.

According to Seoul's semiofficial Yonhap news agency, South Korea has accepted the MTCR limits for military systems. Seoul, however, is pushing for the right to build commercial space launch systems without any range or payload limits, which the 1979 agreement with the United States does not permit. The Korea Herald reported that Washington is insisting that Seoul accept U.S. monitoring to ensure that commercial space technology is not misused. In an effort to clarify, a State Department official said on October 27 that U.S. policy on MTCR membership does not preclude states wishing to join the regime from keeping their ground-to-ground missile programs as long as the retained systems fall within the regime's threshold for control.

Congress Okays KEDO Funding; Japan Lifts LWR Funding Block

BACKING AWAY from previous threats, Congress agreed in the final rounds of fiscal year (FY) 1999 budget negotiations to provide the full $35 million requested by the Clinton administration to fund U.S. obligations under the 1994 U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework. President Clinton signed the $500 billion omnibus appropriations bill on October 21. The appropriation for the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) will be used to help purchase the 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil for Pyongyang required annually by the denuclearization agreement.

Congress, in addition to requiring the president to appoint a "North Korea Policy Coordinator" and mandating North Korea-related reports to Congress from the secretaries of State and Defense, also inserted several policy conditions aimed at prodding the administration to take a more active approach to North Korean security threats. The legislation, however, provided the president with the authority to waive these conditions on national security grounds.

The waiver provision was the key to the legislative-executive compromise on the issue, as it allowed congressional critics of the administration's North Korea policy to signal their displeasure without effectively canceling KEDO funding. Since KEDO's inception in 1995, the administration has provided funding through the use of the standing national security waiver authority in Section 614 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. (U.S. law forbids the provision of foreign aid to states that are communist, state-sponsors of terrorism or are at war with the United States.)

Most recently, on September 29, President Clinton used the so-called "614 authority" to reprogram $15 million of other foreign assistance for use by KEDO in buying heavy fuel oil. Despite a 1998 U.S. contribution of $26.4 million for oil purchases ($30 million total), provision of $17.6 million from the European Union and donations from a few other states, KEDO has been unable to meet this year's $60 million to $65 million oil-buying budget, in part because of redemption of past debts.

The State Department announced on September 10 that North Korea had tacitly accepted a U.S. pledge to complete the delivery of this year's fuel oil by the end of the calendar year rather than the scheduled date of October 20. (See ACT, August/September, 1998.) As of the end of October, KEDO had delivered 315,000 tons of fuel oil to North Korea. It plans to ship another 50,000 to 55,000 tons in November. However, funding for the remaining 130,000 tons of fuel oil the United States committed itself to providing before January 1, 1999 remains uncertain. The money, approximately $12 million, will most likely come from the FY 1999 appropriation following use of the presidential waiver authority.

 

Light-Water Reactor Project

On October 16, Tokyo announced that it was lifting its suspension of participation in the cost-sharing agreement for construction of the two light-water reactors (LWRs) in North Korea called for in the Agreed Framework. KEDO's Executive Board, which includes the United States, South Korea, Japan and the European Union, had reached a cost-sharing agreement for the LWR project on July 28. Originally the agreement was to have been signed on August 31, but Japan suspended its participation following Pyongyang's launch of a space-launch vehicle that overflew Japan. Despite Tokyo's October 16 announcement, the cost-sharing deal remains unsigned due to what a State Department official called "technical details."

Meanwhile, KEDO is continuing with construction of site infrastructure for the two LWRs. Negotiations between KEDO and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) on the prime contract for the LWR project are continuing as well, though the finalization of a cost-sharing agreement among KEDO members must precede conclusion of the contract.

N. Korea Launches Staged Rocket That Overflies Japanese Territory

ON AUGUST 31, North Korea launched its first multi-stage rocket in an unsuccessful attempt to place a satellite into orbit. Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) claimed on September 4 that the three-stage system lifted off from Musudan-ri and placed into orbit a satellite that was equipped with sounding instruments and was transmitting two nationalist hymns and a Morse code slogan. While U.S. intelligence later determined that the satellite failed to achieve orbit, the launch of the rocket—which passed over Japanese territory—may nevertheless provoke a crisis in the implementation of the 1994 U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework, spur calls in the United States and Japan for the development of missile defenses, and lead to a new round of international missile proliferation.

U.S. officials, describing Pyongyang's launch as a test of its liquid-fueled, 1,500–2,000-kilometer-range Taepo Dong-1 ballistic missile, were initially unaware of the attempted satellite deployment. Speaking to reporters in Moscow on September 1, Gary Samore, senior director for non-proliferation on the National Security Council, said that "this is a serious development but certainly not one that has surprised us." Based on satellite imagery of the rocket's support scaffolding and activity at the site, Washington had reportedly anticipated the North Korean launch by as much as two weeks—enough time to position special ships and aircraft to observe the launch.

After Pyongyang announced the satellite launch, however, U.S. officials began to adjust their statements. By September 14 State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said, "We have concluded that North Korea did attempt to orbit a very small satellite. We also have concluded the satellite failed to achieve orbit."

The North Korean rocket was comprised of a No Dong first stage and a Scud second stage, with a solid rocket motor and a small satellite as the payload. A government official told The New York Times on September 15 that with a successful third stage (and an unspecified payload), the Taepo Dong-1 could travel 3,500 kilometers.

Various theories regarding the timing of the launch have been suggested, such as a ploy to extract concessions during the ongoing talks with Washington regarding the Agreed Framework and other issues, or as a salute by the North Korean military to leader Kim Jong Il, who on September 5 acceded to the highest post of the North Korean government. The launch may also have been staged as a reminder to Washington of North Korea's dissatisfaction with U.S. performance in implementing the 1994 nuclear agreement. (See ACT, June/July 1998.) Additionally, the launch may have been intended to demonstrate a new staging capability that North Korea could market to client-states like Pakistan and Iran, which are known to be interested in longer-range missiles. Staging is one of the key barriers preventing missile programs based on Scud technology from achieving greater ranges. Cited in CIA and Defense Department reports as a key proliferator of missile technology, North Korea has attended two rounds of bilateral missile talks with Washington aimed at ending Pyongyang's missile development and export programs.

Reminding Washington of the stakes involved in the missile issue could also have motivated the launch. On June 16 the KCNA announced Pyongyang's willingness to accept financial compensation for ending its missile exports. Two congressional staffers visiting North Korea at the end of August were reportedly told a figure of $500 million. The State Department announced on September 10 that a new round of bilateral missile talks will be held in New York on October 1.

The consequences for Asian security from the missile launch could be severe. On August 31, Japan announced that it was suspending its signature of the cost-sharing agreement reached July 28 for the light-water reactor project at the heart of the Agreed Framework. (See story.) Japan has committed itself to pay $1 billion of the $4.6 billion project. Under pressure from Washington and Seoul, Tokyo may relent on its suspension of cooperation in time for construction to begin in November, the Kyodo News Service reported on September 10.

South Korea and Japan may also use North Korea's action to justify new defense initiatives. The Mainichi Shimbun reported on September 7 that Japan's Defense Agency has begun looking into the development of information-collecting satellites for both civilian and military purposes. Tokyo has also expressed new interest in collaborating with the United States in studying the feasibility of developing ballistic missile defenses, a move sure to raise concern in China.

Within two weeks of the North Korean launch, on September 10, South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Hong Sun-yong said that he would call for revision of Seoul's 1979 agreement with the United States not to develop or deploy missiles with a range greater than 180 kilometers.

In the past, Seoul has argued that it should be allowed to join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and build missiles capable of delivering a 500-kilogram payload to a range of 300 kilometers, the regime's threshold of control. A State Department official said on September 15 that Washington would like Seoul to join the MTCR but "under the right circumstances"—namely ending its longer-range missile ambitions.

Washington's missile defense debate could also be affected by the North Korean launch. Robert Bell, special assistant to the president for national security affairs, acknowledged to reporters on September 1, "There's no question that the test of the Taepo Dong-1 will factor into the congressional debate on national missile defense." Bell went on to point out that "the degree of technical challenge going from an intermediate-range missile like the Taepo Dong-1 to an intercontinental-range system like the Taepo Dong-2 is really quite profound." Even with the test, Bell said, the administration remains confident there will be "at least three years' warning of an ICBM threat."

Clinton Set to Submit CTBT to Senate; Japan Ratifies

 

Craig Cerniello

ON JULY 8, JAPAN became the first country to formally ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty among the 44 states whose ratification is necessary before it can enter into force. Two days later, Britain became the first of the five declared nuclear-weapon states—all of which signed the treaty when it opened for signature on September 24, 1996—to begin the ratification process. The Clinton administration has not yet submitted the treaty to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification.

Japan deposited its instrument of ratification with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the depositary of the treaty. As of mid-July, 144 states had signed the treaty and three others had ratified (Fiji, Qatar and Uzbekistan). The CTB Treaty cannot enter into force until it has been signed and ratified by the five declared nuclear-weapon states, the three "threshold" states (India, Israel and Pakistan) and 36 other states that are participating members of the UN Conference on Disarmament and recognized by the International Atomic Energy Agency as possessing nuclear power and/or research reactors. All 44 key states have signed the treaty with the exception of India, North Korea and Pakistan. India has repeatedly said it will not sign the treaty in its present form; Pakistan maintains that it will not sign unless India does.

In an effort to break this logjam, Japanese Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda, during his July 21-23 visit to Islamabad, urged Pakistan to unilaterally sign the CTB Treaty. Not surprisingly, Pakistani President Farooq Leghari told Ikeda that "it is not possible for Pakistan to make unilateral commitments without simultaneous pledges by India to respect regional and international obligations." The Japanese foreign minister also was unable to convince India to sign the treaty during his July 23-25 visit to New Delhi.

On July 10, the British government introduced legislation for CTB ratification in the House of Lords, which may consider any amendments or conditions to the legislation and then decide whether to approve it by a simple majority vote. If approved by the House of Lords, the House of Commons must also approve the treaty before legislation is submitted to the queen for final approval. Some observers expect Britain to complete the ratification process by the end of 1997.

Action by the United States may not be far behind. Senior Clinton administration officials have indicated that the treaty will be submitted to the Senate for its advice and consent in the near future, probably in early September when Congress returns from its August recess. Although achieving Senate approval of the CTB is likely to be difficult, the prospects for ratification improved on July 15 when Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM)—a key Republican voice in the nuclear test ban debate—said that he is "leaning strongly" in support of the treaty.

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