North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Development and Diplomacy [May 4, 2009]   [open pdf - 258KB]

This report discusses the negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons program and the challenges facing the current Obama Administration. "On April 14, 2009, North Korea announced that it was terminating its participation in six party talks and would not be bound by agreements between it and the Bush Administration, ratified by the six parties, which would have disabled the Yongbyon facilities. North Korea also announced that it would reverse the ongoing disablement process under these agreements and restart the Yongbyon nuclear facilities. […]. North Korea's announcement presents the Obama Administration with two apparent challenges. One is how to restore a negotiating track with North Korea. The Administration appears to face a choice between seeking to bring North Korea back into the six party framework or offering North Korea strictly bilateral U.S.-North Korean negotiations. Responding to North Korea's tough negotiating positions would be a second challenge. Would the Administration's goal in the next stage of negotiations be the complete dismantlement of Yongbyon, or would it focus on the elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons and plutonium? North Korea's assertion of diplomatic normalization prior to denuclearization contradicts the longstanding U.S. position that the two would be reciprocal. […]. Finally, any attempt by the Obama Administration to bring North Korea's highly enriched uranium and proliferation activities with Iran and Syria into negotiations would reverse the decision of the Bush Administration that North Korea did not have to admit to these activities in the Bush Administration-North Korean agreements."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33590
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