News


Tracking Number:  222083

Title:  "North Korea Seen as Balking at Nuclear Inspections." North and South Korea have yet to reach agreement to codify an inspection regime under their six-piont "Joint Declaration on Denuclearization of the Korean Penninsula." (920402)

Author:  MORSE, JANE A (USIA STAFF WRITER)
Date:  19920402

Text:
*EPF404

04/02/92 *

NORTH KOREA SEEN AS BALKING AT NUCLEAR INSPECTIONS (Article on House Armed Services panel hearing) (450) By Jane A. Morse USIA Staff Writer Washington -- North and South Korea have yet to come to an agreement to codify an inspection regime under their six-point "Joint Declaration on Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," according to General Robert W. Riscassi, commander in chief of the Combined Forces Command in the Republic of Korea (ROK).

Although a second round of talks was concluded April 1 by the two Koreas, not much progress has been made on an inspection procedure that would do much to raise the confidence level on the peninsula, Riscassi told the House Armed Services Committee's Defense Policy Panel.

Under the denuclearization agreement signed December 31, 1991 a bilateral inspection regime is to be constructed between the two Koreas, including the right to perform challenge inspections of suspect nuclear facilities and military bases. "The denuclearization pact is now in effect, but there still is no firm agreement on the structure or timing of the accompanying inspection program," Riscassi said in prepared testimony. Foot-dragging on the part of the North causes the ROK and the United States to question the sincerity of North Korean intentions, he said.

Inspections under the bilateral pact are important, he said. Even if North Korea finally allows inspections of its suspected nuclear facility sites to be conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Riscassi said that these inspections would not be considered as "intrusive enough" to generate sufficient confidence that North Korea has truly abandoned ambitions for developing nuclear weapons.

Although North Korea signed the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1985, it refused to sign the contingent IAEA accord until January 30, 1992. Even if the North Korean parliament ratifies the accord as expected this month, IAEA inspections would not take place until September at the earliest, Riscassi said.

"Continued stalling heightens the suspicion that the North is attempting to reprocess and stockpile enough plutonium to create a weapon before inspections are permitted," the general said in his prepared testimony. "Alternately, there is concern it may be in the process of moving critical equipment and material to a more clandestine location or locations."

Despite all this, there is reason for optimism, Riscassi said. The "winds of change" that have blown across Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have also touched North Korea, he said.

Riscassi spoke only briefly in public before House Armed Services Committee Chairman Les Aspin (Democrat of Wisconsin) closed the hearing for an executive session. The hearing is the second of three the panel has planned to examine U.S. security requirements in the Pacific region, particularly the Korean Peninsula.

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File Identification:  04/02/92, EP-404
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Keywords:  KOREA (NORTH)-KOREA (SOUTH) RELATIONS; KOREA (SOUTH)/Politics & Government; KOREA (NORTH)/Defense & Military; NUCLEAR WEAPONS; ARMS CONTROL; INSPECTIONS; ARMS CONTROL VERIFICATION; INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY; NON-PROLI
Thematic Codes:  1EA; 2FP; 1AC
Target Areas:  EA
PDQ Text Link:  222083
USIA Notes:  *92040204.EPF