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Throw Another North Korea Nuclear Promise on the Pile

February 29, 2012

The Obama Administration continues to believe it can talk the North Korean Kim regime out of its nuclear weapons program. The State Department today issued a statement on the outcome of the most recent talks held in China. North Korea has agreed “to implement a moratorium on long-range missile launches, nuclear tests, and nuclear activities at Yongbyon, including uranium enrichment activities.” It further agreed “to the return of IAEA inspectors to verify and monitor the moratorium of uranium enrichment activities at Yongbyon and confirm the disablement of the 5MW reactor.” In exchange, the United States has agreed “to finalize administrative details necessary to move forward” with providing 240,000 metric tons of food assistance to North Korea.

Here is a catalog of some agreements over the past 20 years where North Korea has committed to halt long-range missile launches, nuclear tests, and nuclear activities at Yongbyon to be monitored by international inspectors, interspersed with the dates on which North Korea conducted long-range missile tests and nuclear tests, continued its nuclear activities at Yongbyon, and refused to permit IAEA inspections:

 January 1992:  North Korea agrees to permit IAEA inspections of North Korean nuclear facilities.
 January 1993:  North Korea refuses IAEA access to suspect nuclear sites.
 October 1994:  The Clinton Administration completes the Agreed Framework with North Korea providing for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and extensive energy assistance from the United States.
 August 1998:   North Korea test fires a missile over Japan.
 September 1999:  North Korea institutes a moratorium on long-range missile tests.
 January 2003:  North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).
 September 2005:  A Joint Statement is issued from the six-party talks, in which North Korea committed “to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs” in exchange for energy and economic cooperation and steps toward normalization.
 September 2005:  North Korea quits the six-party talks a week later.
 July 4, 2006:  North Korea tests seven missiles, including one long-range missile.
 October 2006:  North Korea proclaims it tested a nuclear weapon.
 February 2007:  An Initial Actions Plan is completed in an effort to move forward the September 2005 Joint Statement, in which North Korea agrees to shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facility within 60 days “and invite back IAEA personnel to conduct all necessary monitoring and verifications,” in return for an initial shipment of emergency energy assistance.  North Korea never fulfills this promise.
 September 2007:  Israel destroys a building in Syria the IAEA concludes “was very likely a nuclear reactor” and was “comparable” to the nuclear reactors at Yongbyon in North Korea.
 October 2007:  North Korea agrees “to provide a complete and correct declaration of all its nuclear programs—including clarification regarding the uranium issue—by the end of the year.”  This agreement, too, is never implemented.
 April 2009:  North Korea tests a long-range missile directed at threatening the United States.
 April 2009:   North Korea expels IAEA inspectors from Yongbyon.
 May 2009:  North Korea announces it conducted a nuclear weapon test.
 March 2010:  North Korea sinks the South Korean ship Cheonan, causing the murder of the 46 sailors aboard.