PN's Voice 09

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 09, 12-08-2014

PN's Voice
Small steps, Road to peace

US Think-Tank Report Suggests Activity at Yongbyon Nuclear Plant

American think-tank The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) has released a report that presents evidence that supposedly shows recent activity at North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear plant.

Amidst North Korean pledges towards denuclearization Yongbyon’s cooling tower was destroyed in 2008, and the plant’s resurrection of production was thought to have ended in 2012 when uranium production was said to have been shutdown. However satellite imagery, dated June 30th 2014, used in ISIS’s report seems to suggest otherwise. The satellite images indicate that “North Korea’s 5 megawatt-electric (MWe) reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear site continues to be active while construction and the possible installation of equipment at the experimental light water reactor (LWR) continues.” Additionally, certain material appears to have been moved, a new section of roofing has been built, and “several other renovations” have been noticed at the site’s fuel fabrication and uranium centrifuge complex. The imagery also suggests increased water levels and a modified river bank structure near the nuclear complex are evidence of water being discharged near the 5 MWe reactor. Discharging of water implies the reactor is operational.

The report continued by emphasizing that latest satellite imagery indicates the North Korean priorities at Yongbyong are the “5 MWe reactor (plus likely associated plutonium separation plant) and the gas centrifuge plant. “ ISIS also alleged that North Korea decided to renovate the aged 5 MWe reactor to make enough plutonium for nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future, as well as expanding the centrifuge plant. The start-up date of the reactor remains unclear and North Korea has not given an updates about this reactor during the last few years.

Source : email=paul-schneiss@t-online.de&;OZTRACKING=304fe26819d2e71dae7675104690ba3d&url=http://isis-online.org/isis-reports/detail/activities-detected-at-north-koreas-yongbyon-nuclear-site/">ISIS


Conflicting Messages over Approaches to North Korea’s Nuclear Program

Allies the USA and South Korea have come out with conflicting messages over the last week, on how to approach the North Korean nuclear issue. Speaking at last Sunday’s ASEAN Regional Forum, South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se called on the international community to send “more clear and stern messages to North Korea” in order to convince the North to end its nuclear weapons and missile programs. Yun went on to say: “North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile developments pose threats to world peace and security and serve as a pointed challenge to the global non-proliferation regime."

Yun’s call for tougher action against North Korea comes as North Korea has increasingly provoked the South Korean-US allies with a series of missile and rocket launches in recent weeks. Provocation continued as last week the North threatened to conduct a fourth nuclear test.

Reports suggest that the majority of the participants at the ASEAN Regional Forum, shared Yun’s view that a tougher approach was needed to deal with regional security issues stemming from North Korea. Meanwhile, the North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong countered these claims by insisting that the North's nuclear weapons program was necessary as a "deterrence" against what it calls U.S. hostility.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun’s recent announcement for a harsher stance on North Korea over its nuclear weapons is a far cry from the approach cited this week by a former top American nuclear negotiator with Pyongyang. Robert Gallucci, was part of the negotiations that defused the first North Korean nuclear crisis in 1994 through establishing the Agreed Framework. Gallucci called for the US to start an open dialogue with North Korea as the current policy of ignoring the North and its demands will only exacerbate an already unstable situation. Gallucci warned against ignoring the North Korean nuclear problem as being the opposite of a fine wine; “The North Korean issue, shorthanded, doesn't get better like fine wine, (with) the passage of time…it gets worse. With each passing year the North accumulated more highly enriched uranium, we presume, more plutonium, develops more sophisticated delivery vehicles, probably more sophisticated nuclear weapons."

The aforementioned Agreed Framework of 1994 that Gallucci helped to establish through negotiations provided nearly a decade of peace and the normalization of US-North Korean relations. This example should not be tainted by the fact the agreement eventually collapsed, but instead should be held up to show the potential gains that can be achieved through negotiations. Critics of this approach argue that the North has no intention of giving up its nuclear program and holding dialogue with the regime would amount to rewarding the North's bad behavior. Gallucci though warned of the risks of ignoring the North and refusing to engage in dialogue with them: "The North Koreans…do not want to be ignored and when they think they're ignored, they will do something to get your attention in the South or our attention. We shouldn't try to deal with the North Korean case by ignoring it.”

Source : email=paul-schneiss@t-online.de&;OZTRACKING=cc5bf98d286a847527b8c554ac0ca378&url=http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/08/10/64/0301000000AEN20140810002851315F.htm">Yonhap News, email=paul-schneiss@t-online.de&;OZTRACKING=234289e359dd52227df82ee4bac457de&url=http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/08/485_162674.html">Korean Times, email=paul-schneiss@t-online.de&;OZTRACKING=99b1e7ec338a8d1d2f00b567cc672d60&url=http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/08/485_162673.html">Korean Times


North Korea Launches Charm Offensive Towards South-East Asian Nations

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong will visit a total of five South-East Asian nations in a charm offensive in an attempt to expand its diplomatic ties. Foreign Minister Ri took part in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Myanmar over the weekend and will also visit Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore.

Ri’s trip highlights the importance of ties with some South-East nations for North Korea; trade with South-East Asia accounted for 12%of North Korea’s trade from 2000-2006. However, trade with these nations has declined since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006 and Ri’s trip is being interpreted as an attempt by Pyongyang to establish stronger economic ties.

The five countries Ri will visit are ASEAN countries with the closest links to North Korea. North Korea is known to have longstanding ties to the Myanmar Junta, and although Myanmar’s leaders claim they have significantly reduced their ties with North Korea as part of their more general reform and opening up, there are signs that suggest that ties remain strong. North Korea also enjoys a fairly good relationship with Indonesia, who campaigned strongly for the North’s inclusion in the ASEAN Regional Forum. Whilst Singapore is one of the North’s largest trading partners and the two nations have held diplomatic ties since 1975. Both Indonesia and Singapore no doubt hope to benefit from some of the Kim Jong-Un era reforms such as the special economic zones. Whilst ideological comrades Vietnam and Laos have both hold a long history of relations with the North.

Ri’s visit to these countries can be seen as increasingly necessary for North Korea as relations with its traditional ally China fade.

Source : email=paul-schneiss@t-online.de&;OZTRACKING=751cb720c860cb7fabb8f3f819e90642&url=http://thediplomat.com/2014/08/why-north-korea-is-courting-asean/">The Diplomat


Statement on South Korean Military Aid to Israel

Lastly this week I'd like to encourage readers of our newsletter to click the link below to read our NGO's statement calling to an end to South Korean military aid to Israel.

Source : email=paul-schneiss@t-online.de&;OZTRACKING=0861a9cf6b464204b4da37e63df56dde&url=http://peacekorea.org/zbxe/1794689#0">Peace Network Statement







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