U.S. Buyout of North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Effort: A Blueprint or a Mistake?   [open pdf - 833KB]

"North Korea Pact Contains U.S. Concessions--Agreement Would Allow Presence of Key Plutonium-Making Facilities for Years"--this was the headline on the front page of the Washington Post on October 19, 1994. These headlines and the accompanying article reflected negatively on an agreement concerning North Korea's nuclear program which was subsequently signed in Geneva. The need to limit North Korean nuclear capability is an important issue on many levels. While it appears obvious that denying a nuclear weapons capability to North Korea is in the United States' best interests, it is not obvious that this agreement will accomplish that feat. Over and above North Korea's capabilities, the recent agreement has implications of its own, the most notable, in the author's opinion, being that it may set a precedent for future non-proliferation efforts. In this paper, the author will look at this watershed accord between the U.S. and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK); its history, its substance, and the controversy surrounding its implications. From there the author will step to some thoughts on ramifications for U.S. non-proliferation policy.

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